Empowering Females #YearofYA August 2018

In all my travel plans, I (Mollee) somehow missed the Spice Girls Bus Tour of London! 2.5 hours of sightseeing while listening to Spice Girls jams?! Surely you can imagine how disappointed I am… despite how you feel about those crazy Brits, they definitely brought “Girl Power!” to the everyday vocabulary of girls of the 90’s.


While we cannot give them all the credit, I do look back and remember my tween-self wondering about gender inequality – I didn’t see it as some big deal. Title IX had been in place for all my school years, so when I wanted to play Little League (not softball!) or ice hockey, no one told me I couldn’t! Characters like Hermione didn’t empower me while I read, but rather, gave me someone to whom I could identify.


Looking back, I realize now how factors in my life influenced my experience as a growing girl: I had two older sisters as role models, my mom was a bad-ass power banker who took on management positions & occasionally headed an all-male staff (oh, and she was a golf course president! How many other females get that gig, do you think?), and my dad knew how to help build the foundation under the females in his world!


I get that’s not the case for many women, women my age, and girls growing in today’s society.


And still…


Perhaps the best line from The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is, “FEMALES ARE STRONG AS HELL!”


Let’s celebrate that by reading YA books this month that feature females in the lead, girls supporting each other (instead of tearing one another down), or overcoming the many challenges young women face!

August 2018 Empowering Females

Below are some suggestions to get you started, but as always with #YearofYA, we pick a theme and YOU pick the books! We can’t wait to chat with you about this important theme, and find more books to put in our female AND MALE readers’ hands.


A Mighty Girl – the best place to find books for ALL ages

15 Empowering YA Novels to Read on International Women’s Day

Physics, Fears, & Female Empowerment | Adult Books 4 Teens

34 YA Books Every Feminist Will Love

11 Good Feminist Books for Young Adults – {I’m definitely reading Mindy McGinnis this month…}

50 Crucial YA Feminists Novels

Empowering Female Characters from YA – can I get an AMEN for GINNY WEASLEY!



#YearofYA Nerding Out July 2018

July 2018 - Nerding Out

Tavia’s List of Nerdy Things:

  • Nerdette Podcast – Inspiration for this month’s theme
    • Nerdette is a safe space for nerding out about all the things you’re watching, reading, listening to and encountering IRL.
    • Power Up is a Nerdette project where fascinating people explain how they set themselves up for success in an exhausting world. Because life can be hectic — even for scientists, poets, astronauts and adventurers.
    • Find Nerdette via RSS | Apple Podcasts | Facebook | Twitter. Sign up for our weekly email newsletter.
  • The Office | Friday Night Lights | 30 Rock | Food & Cooking Shows
  • 80’s Musics & Movies
  • Star Wars (and currently taking a stab at Star Trek [original & New Generation]
  • Dad Jokes and “Punny” Humor


Mollee’s List of Nerdy Things

  • Harry Potter! If you know me, you know this.
  • Jess from New Girl and all her awkward glory is my Spirit Animal
  • Nerdy characters in books like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell make my YA heart happy
  • Big Bang Theory (I’m a total Leonard. My husband is a Penny).
  • Singing along to Disney songs (specifically from the 90’s) and catching every Pixar release
    • Basically any musical I can sing along to… Greatest Showman, Mama Mia, Rent.

So what do YOU nerd out about? Find a book that aligns with your nerdy loves and read away!

If you absolutely need a list… B&N 7 Geeky Love Stories

Adult Crossovers #YearofYA June 2018

Welcome back!

#YearofYA originally started out as #SummerofYA, 3 years ago this month! I told Tavia how I missed being in a book club, especially to talk about books I love to read (young adult). As a librarian, I read widely – many books that will appeal to my elementary readers, middle grade titles so I can steer my growing readers when they leave our school, and even a handful of adult books sprinkled in, for myself (!) & to be able to chat about them with the teachers in my building, my family of readers, and to remind myself that YA is still my favorite!! Tavia and I have never lived close enough that we could have our own book club, so we turned to other ideas… Could it be virtual? Google Hangouts? Vlogs? A blog with a chat… Then she helped me work out how it could be done as a Twitter chat! The very first Twitter chat I participated in was when we launched #SummerofYA! Unbeknownst to us, 2 other friends & YA lovers were launching their own YA Twitter book club the same summer & it’s been so fun and a learning experience to grow #YearofYA alongside #2jennsbookclub!

In these last 3 years, I’ve loved so much about this book club! It’s kept Tavia and I reading what we love, but also pushing us to try new genres, formats, and authors we wouldn’t have, due to the variety of themes we come up with each month. I love coming up with those themes via texts and voxs and tweets with her… Sometimes we feel dry of ideas, other times it’s a gold mine and we need to keep them all in a shared doc! I love our process of Tavia’s creative contribution to developing the slides, my curation of content for the blog post, and coming together to write questions each month. Despite busy schedules, changing jobs, moves & a million other responsibilities, this book club keeps us anchored each month.

More than anything, I love the people we’ve connected with. When I talk about Twitter, I talk about y’all. The friends I’ve made through #YearofYA are doing amazing things for readers across the country, but I’m lucky to chat with you and connect about books and life each month. It’s amazing how relationships grow on Twitter, and I’ve been fortunate to meet several of you in person! Thank you for bringing your thoughts, enthusiasm, and wonderful selves to our book club chat… And becoming great friends to us!

It’s so hard to believe everything that’s come from a crazy idea I sent over Voxer, and how that friend and I could turn it into all this …

Crossovers - June 2018

OK! This month’s theme is one of our favorites from the past: adult crossovers! What books are out there written for adults, that teens can also enjoy & learn from? If you really want to challenge yourself this month, find an author who writes for teens and adults, and read one of each! (Meg Cabot & Neil Gaiman come to mind…) Remember, #YearofYA gives you a theme, you pick the books!


We can’t wait to chat with you on June 28th at 8pm! If you are new to our chat, come prepared to share what you read, grow your TBR list, and answer some questions that will connect what you read with the rest of the group’s reads!

A few lists to get you started:

Oh The Places You’ll Read #YearofYA April 2018

Oh The Places You’ll Read

April 2018 Oh The Places You'll Read (4)

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for vacation! Lucky for me, warm beaches are in my future but so many of our kids (& colleagues!) celebrate Spring Break with a stay-cation. Regardless, let’s set off on some exotic, wanderlust-worthy adventures vicariously through fiction! In April, travel the world through literature that involves travel! Below are some lists that are much easier to tackle than packing lists!

Our April date is TBD – will share on Twitter ASAP!

Book lists for a book adventure:

15 YA Books for Readers with Wanderlust on BookAddicts Guide

YA Books Set Abroad on Goodreads (a bit dated)

10 Thrilling Locations in Children’s’ Books by The Guardian

Around the World in 80 Books on BookRiot – most are adult

Buckle Up! The Best YA Road Trips on Read Brightly

10 Great Fantasy Stories from Around the World on BookRiot

In Foreign Lands: Teen Life Outside the US on NoveList (not really “spring break” but a good list!)

International YA Lit – Books written outside the US on The Hub

Biographies/Memoir List from #YearofYA Feb. ’18

We had a fantastic chat in February and I wanted to capture and share all the titles that were discussed! So here they are, all in one place, along with a list that our ferocious reader, BJ, created for us!

BJ’s List of Amazing Biographies/Memoirs for YA readers:

All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island Liza Jessie Peterson 2017
How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child Sandra Uwiringiyimana, Abigail Pesta 2017
Hole in My Life Jack Gantos 2004
A Long Way Gone Ishmael Beah 2007
El Deafo Cece Bell 2014 (GN)
Stitches David Small 2009 (GN)
Tweak: Growing Up on Amphetamines Nic Sheff 2008
The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates Wes Moore 2010
Bite of the Mango Mariatu Kamara, Susan McClelland 2008
Three Little Words Ashley Rhodes-Courter 2008
Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx Sonia Manzano (Maria-Sesame Street) 2015
Tales of a Makeshift Bride Lucy Knisley 2016 (GN)
Born a Crime Trevor Noah 2016
Being Jazz Jazz Jennings 2016
Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard Liz Murray 2010
The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music Steve López 2008
Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children Faith J.H. McDonnell, Grace Akallo 2007
Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir Janice Erlbaum 2007


Books mentioned during February 2018 #YearofYA chat:

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore 2017

To The Moon by Jeffery Kluger

The Opposite of Loneliness  by Marina Keegan

Kid Authors by by David Stabler and Doogie Horner

You Don’t Have to Say you Love Me by Alexie Sherman

How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana, Abigail Pesta

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Reading with Patrick by Michelle Kuo

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy

Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy.

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Chasing Space Young Reader’s Version by Leland Melvin

Americanized:Rebel Without a Green Card by @saaaranotsarah

Self Inflicted Wounds by @aishatyler

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

Enrique’s Journey Young Reader’s Version by Sonia Nazario

Award Winners ’18 #YearofYA March 2018

This year’s Youth Media Awards at ALA midwinter were stacked with some incredible titles that we hope you’ll read! #YearofYA has a focus typically on YA lit, but we know many of you work with middle school and elementary students, and know that the awards for younger audiences can be enjoyed by teen readers too! Below you will find links to the ALA winners and honorees, as well as other prestigious awards for youth literature such as the CYBILS awards, and let’s not forget the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature winner, Far From the Tree.

March 2018

Our goal with #YearofYA is to encourage YOU to choose books YOU want to read within a theme we select each month. This year is no different. Select the titles you want (winners or honorees), read, and come ready to chat at the end of March.

{Get ready… so many lists!!}

Alex Awards

This award, sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust, honors ten adult books with special appeal to teens. The Alex committee also publishes its official nomination list after the awards announcement.

Edwards Award

The Margaret A. Edwards Award, sponsored by School Library Journal, honors an author and specific works by that author for significant and lasting contribution for writing to teens.

Morris Award

The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, funded by the William C. Morris Endowment, honors the best book by a previously unpublished author writing for teens. A shortlist is announced in December each year.

Nonfiction Award

The YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award honors the best nonfiction written for teens each year. The Nonfiction committee also publishes its official nomination list after the awards announcement.

Odyssey Award

The Odyssey Award honors the producer of the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States. The award is co-administered with the Association for Library Service to Children

Printz Award

The Michael L. Printz Award, sponsored by Booklist, honors the best book written for teens each year.


Stonewall Book Award


Coretta Scott King Awards


Newbery Medal Award


Caldecott Medal Award


Sibert Book Award


Pura Belpre Award


Schneider Family Award

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award


CYBILS awards


National Book Award for Young People’s Literature 2017


Amazon Best of 2017

Amp Them Up: Biographies #YearofYA

Feb 2018 - Amp Them Up.jpg


In my school (Mollee’s), February seems to be a month heavy in biographies. It’s inspiring to read about other people, the odds they’ve overcome and how they’ve put their “dent in the universe” – as Tavia says! Taking that further, let’s read bios, autobiographies & memoirs this month that capture the power of storytelling & self-reflection. Then, in our chat, we will focus on how we can empower students and amplify their own voice.


Too often we say we’ll help them “find” their voice, but that diminished the experiences they’ve had so far in life. Instead, let’s validate our teens and AMP them up!


“It happened to me” – Comprehensive list from Sno-Isle Libraries

Contemporary biographies, autobiographies & memoirs for teens – from Thought Co.

12 Memoirs Every Girl Needs To Read Before She Turns 18” – list with mostly adult memoir/biography that appeals to a YA crowd

Graphic Memoirs from Foreign Places – if you’re looking for unique, you’ll find it here.