Monthly Archives: June 2018

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Feminist Fiction

I have to tell you about Angie Thomas and THUG and the Black Girls Book Club, but also about Feminist Book Fortnight which begins TODAY! I considered spamming you all with multiple blog posts on my first day on the job, then thought about it and realised that they’re so perfectly linked that I should just combine them.

On Thursday night, Matt and I went along to SAMA Bankside in Blackfriars for a small party celebrating Angie Thomas’s ‘The Hate you Give’ which, I’m sure you already know, is a powerful story of a young black woman in America dealing with the aftermath of witnessing a police shooting (of her best friend) alongside reconciling her school life with her home life. It is shortlisted for Carnegie and won the 2018 Waterstones children’s book prize. She gave us a bit of information about her next book, On the Come Up, that sounds to be about another strong female and her efforts to break into the patriarchal rap industry while dealing with her mum losing her job. It was wonderful to meet Angie, and chat to librarian colleagues and familiar faces from Walker, but I was also really pleased to meet some members of the Black Girls Book Club. They had collaborated with Walker to host Angie Thomas at an event and spread the word about her outstanding novel, but they don’t focus solely on newly published work. I was blown away by in their passion regarding the back catalogue of fiction written by black women over the years, and am going to be getting touch with them about having some of them as guest speakers at a CILIP YLG London event about what we should definitely have in our libraries. This segues nicely into my interest in Feminist Book Fortnight, which is an inaugural but hopefully annual event organised by independent bookshops to highlight feminist works by women writers. I intend to only read relevant books from my TBR pile, starting with Yaba Badoe’s ‘A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars’. What will you read?

#TeenLibrarian Monthly June 2018

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Teen Librarian goes International!

You may have heard that Matt is leaving our shores for sunnier climes, heading to the Sunflower State of North America (Kansas to me and you). With this in mind, he’s asked me to come on board and help keep the UK perspective of Teen Librarian while he dives into US priorities. He’s still very much at the helm but I’m looking forward to doing my bit.

So, a brief introduction: some of you may know me as CazApr1 on twitter, where I’ve been blathering about books and libraries since 2009. I have worked in libraries since 2004, finished my MA in librarianship in 2007, moved from public libraries to a school library in 2009, and Chartered in 2014. I have been on the CILIP YLG London committee since 2010, am currently Chair and have just finished my tenure as CKG judge. My 3 year old arrived as I started pre-reading for CKG (she wasn’t 3 at the time…), and I currently work in a special school library only one day a week. I enjoy rescuing and rejuvenating libraries that have been unloved for years, and supporting colleagues with ideas for engaging students of all ages and abilities, as well as reading lots and lots of kids books.  Now that the enforced CKG secrecy over what I’m reading has ended, I hope to contribute book reviews and book-lists to this site, as well as articles about Important Things.

LGBTQ+ Books: a List

A selection of picture books, fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels featuring LGBTQ+ characters in either main or supporting roles.

Usual caveats apply: there are many more titles available, but these are books that I have in my library collection and I do recommend them. If anyone would like to recommend additional titles, then please leave a comment below.

Picture Books

  • Pride the story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders & Steven Salerno
  • A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill twiss & E.G. Keller
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell & Henry Cole
  • The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
  • Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton and Dougal MacPherson
  •  
    Fiction

  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
  • The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Kaleidoscope Song by Fox Benwell
  • Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman
  • The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Undone by Cat Clarke
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post Emily M. Danforth
  • Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
  • If You Could be Mine by Sara Farizan
  • Tessa Masterton Will Go to Prom by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
  • Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green
  • Skylarks by Karen Gregory
  • Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler
  • Pantomime by Laura Lam
  • Boy Meets Boy
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

  • A Line in the Dark
  • Ash
  • Huntress by Malinda Lo
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Lee Mackenzie
  • The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here
  • Release by Patrick Ness
  • Things a Bright Girl can Do by Sally Nicholls
  • Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
  • Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
  • Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
  • Playing the Oart by Daria Wilke translated by Marian Schwarz
     
    Graphic Novels
     

  • Giant Days by John Allison
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • The Authority by Warren Ellis & Bryan Hitch
  • Death: The High Cost of Living
  • Death: The Time of Your Life by Neil Gaiman & Chris Bachalo
  • The Wicked + The Divine
  • Young Avengers by Kieran Gillen & Jamie McKelvie
  • Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  • The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Purvis
  • Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka & J.H. Williams III
  • Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn Allen & Shannon Watters
  • Skim by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki
  • Supergirl: Being Super by Mariko Tamaki & Joëlle Jones
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  • Pedro and Me by Judd Winick
  •  
    Non-Fiction

  • Issues: Sexuality and Gender edited by Cara Acred
  • How to Transform your School into an LGBTQ+ Friendly Place: a Practical Guide for Nursery, Primary and Secondary Teachers by Dr Elly Barnes MBE and Dr Anna Carlile
  • Queer : the ultimate LGBT guide for teens by Kathy Belge
  • This Book is Gay
  • The Gender Games by Juno Dawson
  • From Ace to Ze: The Little Book of LGBT Terms by Harriet Dyer
  • LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That are Actually Funny by Alisha Gaddis
  • Understanding Sexuality: what it means to be Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual
  • Understanding Transgender by Honor Head
  • GLBTQ: the Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Teens by Kenny Huegel
  • From Prejudice to Pride: a History of the LGBTQ+ Movement by Amy Lamé
  • Identity and Gender by Charlie Ogden
  • Straight talk About… Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity by Rachel Stuckey
  • Home Boys ~ Alex Wheatle

    home boys.jpgFour friends decide to run away from the horror of their everyday lives in a children’s home in the English countryside. They head for the woods, their sense of freedom surprises them, and for the first time they feel the exhilaration of adolescence. Yet the forest slowly asserts its own power and what happens there will affect the four boys’ lives forever.

    My initial reaction when picking up Home Boys was the thought that this was going to be an upsetting read with no joy or redemption contained within the pages. I was wrong! Home Boys is bleak and hard to read, but it is also a beautifully written, opening with grief and loss in the mid 1980’s as we are introduced the major players of this drama it then dives further back the 1970’s where the boys’ story begins. As hard and uncompromising as it was, Home Boys ends on a note of hope that I did not see coming, friendships and love built over years endure beyond what many people expect and continues past the story ending.

    Alex Wheatle, always a gripping writer has given us an important work about life as a kid in care in the 1970’s and how brutality and abuse within the system can continue to distort and destroy lives down the years. Where Home Boys shines are in the interactions between the friends, capturing the love, anger, growing tensions and everything else that bubbles up within adolescent peer groups.

    Wheatle weaves in the overt racism of the 1970’s and does not shy away from the language and brutality that still lingers just beneath the surface of society to this day. Home Boys is an important read – to help us face the cruelty and mistreatment that was prevalent in many care homes of the recent past, as well as the abuses people of colour still face to this day.

    Home Boys by Alex Wheatle is published by Arcadia books and is available now

    Judge Read: The Shadowing

    I have been working on a Judge Dredd/CKG parody mash-up for the past few years. Today I am proud to unveil the first, and probably only Judge Read adventure:

    Disclaimer: Judge Dredd is published weekly in the 2000AD Comic and is © Rebellion.
    Judge Dredd was created by John Wagner (writer) Carlos Ezquerra (artist) & Pat Mills (editor)

    Engaging Students using Technology in the Library with Lucas Maxwell

    The Third Degree with Catherine Johnson

    Hi Catherine, welcome to TeenLibrarian and thank you for giving up your time to undergo the third degree…

    You have a new book coming out soon – Freedom, based in England at the time of the Zong trial. Can you tell me more about the book?

    It’s one of a series published by Scholastic that looks at major turning points in history. I was asked to do abolition (of slavery) but I argued that since that took at least fifty years – the mind of the british public was very slow to change – I would do one of the things that kicked off that change. And I was aware loads of people had heard of Wilberforce but maybe that fewer people had heard of the Sons of Africa, a group of campaigning Black Britons, freed slaves, American veterans of the War of Independence, and others who worked to end the inhumanity of slavery.

    The blurb taught me something new – much like Nathaniel I was always under the impression that once a slave set foot on English soil he was free, but after the blurb I looked it up and according to English common law while technically no longer a slave they were still bound to their masters until the abolition of the slave trade. Why do you think that a majority of people in the UK are ignorant of whole swathes of UK history except on a superficial level?

    Er- Brexit is a prime example of this. We forget the ends of our own noses! I think every nation likes to tell its own story, and as a woman who grew up with 3 TV channels and endless WW2 films the story of Britains’ exceptionalism is the one we English like best. We say ‘Britain stood alone’, but conveniently forget we had the manpower and resources of India and Pakistain, many African countries, Canada, Australia and the Caribbean to call on. We often forget this too.

    Once they have read Freedom can you recommend other sources for people to find out more information about the Zong massacre and the trial that followed? I first heard about it during the film Belle – a fictionalised account of the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle the niece of Lord Mansfield who ruled on the case.

    Yes! It’s in Belle isn’t it! For anyone wanting to read more I’d recommend David Olusoga’s Black and British which is very accessible and also very interesting. Also Peter Fryer’s Staying Power.

    I have been a fan of your books for years (since Nest of Vipers when you visited one of my reading groups in Edmonton Green), The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo and Sawbones are two of my favourites – it is so refreshing to read historical fiction that has not been white-washed. How much research do you do before you start writing?

    I have read and written so much about the 18th century now (and a TV series which got optioned but never made set in 1790s and also a BBC2 docu/drama with Simon Schama called Rough Crossings that was on telly almost 10 years ago, that it’s a question of pulling out all the books. I love London maps of the time too. I like to see where my characters go. I lived very near where Loddiges’ Nursery used to be in East London.

    The #OwnVoices movement in the UK is becoming bigger than ever before – are there any books by BAME authors that you can recommend?

    Loads! For picture books I’d recommend Ken Wilson Max and Yasmin Shireen, of and I loved John Agard’s Come All You Little Persons illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle, and Chitra Soundar’s work too. for first readers I love Atinuke’s Number One Car Spotter series. Other authors include the wonderful Patrice Lawrence, Bali Rai, Irfan Master, Muhammad Khan, Sarwat Chadda, Alex Wheatle and Sita Bramachari. Oh and Savita Kalhan and of course the perenially wonderful Malorie Blackman. And look out for a new UKYA by Danielle Jawando and Aisha Busby, two fresh new voices coming next year.

    Do you still visit libraries or schools? If you do what is the best way to get hold of you to organise a visit?

    Yes! I am all over the place very often! Contact me via my agent, Stephanie Thwaite at Curtis Brown, or via my Twitter account @catwrote

    Lovely to chat Matt!

    To find out more about Catherine Johnson and her books, visit her website: http://catherinejohnson.co.uk

    Learn more about the Zong Massacre and the subsequent trial here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zong_massacre

    Freedom is published by Scholastic and will be out in August