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.

Female Fantasy Phenoms – #YearofYA January ’18

Female Fantasy Phenom.png

(isn’t this infographic put together by Tavia BAD-ASS?!)

Let’s kick off 2018 with some imagination, firsts and females! The YA fantasy game has grown tremendously over the last decade, with more female writers and heroines coming on the market… it’s almost hard to keep up with the impressive variety that’s out there.

Some of you (BJ) may have some experience beyond the bestsellers, but we hope you’ll use January 2018 to try out the first in a Fantasy series that features a female phemon!

There are widely-read series you don’t want to miss like The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Legend by Marie Lu, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas, and… can I keep going? But maybe you’ll find something on the brink of breaking out, or finally carve time to read what you’ve missed.

As always with #YearofYA, we pick a theme and you pick your reads! We’ll chat January 30 at 8pm EST. 

If you need help finding your books, check out these lists:

Great YA Fantasy Good Reads List – you’ll have to dig for the female authors but comprehensive list

27 Female Authors of Sci Fi/ Fantasy

Fantasy Female Authors Electrifying the Genre by BookTrib

100 Must Read Fantasy/Sci Fi by Female Authors – like the goodreads list, its comprehensive for you’ll have to seek YA/series

#YearofYA 12/17 – Reading in ’17 ‘Sleighed’


#YearofYA December '17 - Slow Chat.jpg

Yaaaaaaas, it sure did! To celebrate during this hectic month, #YearofYA is putting on a slow chat w/ Qs that fit our normal game: a thematic question that will have you thinking back on memorable books from the past year. On each date listed, we will post the question and you can answer with any books you read in 2017 (not just those published in the last year) at a time that works for you! Be sure to check #YearofYA intermittently to connect with other YA readers since Q&As will appear throughout the month.

If you post a year-in-review anywhere – a blog, vlog, goodreads list, etc – please share with us and we will share it out to other #YearofYA readers!

By the end of December, we’ll roll out the theme to kick of 2018!

Daylight Savings Lit – Nov. ’17 #YearofYA

*Reading. It’s supposed to say READING! (this is what happens when you put Mollee in charge of the jokes…)

We really are gaining an extra hour this month as we end Daylight Savings Time so let’s celebrate by falling a few years back… in YA time, at least. New authors, titles, and series flood the market each year and the 2010’s have been amazing for YA. But the mid-2000’s marked a huge turning point for publishing for teens (thanks Harry Potter!). Maybe you missed a title that is still relevant now. Or early work by one of today’s favorites. Check out some of the YALSA best books or the Printz winner/honors from those years. Go back a handful of years… or to whatever period you feel you missed a great YA read & indulge yourself!

Come chat with us on 11/28 at 8PM EST

Nov 2017.png

Need some ideas?

Best Books of 2007 Goodreads List

YALSA Best Books of ‘07

Best Books of 2006 Goodreads List

YALSA Best Books of ‘06

Best Books of 2005 Goodreads List

YALSA Best Books of ‘05

Best Books of 2004 Goodreads List

YALSA Best Books of ‘04

Best Books of 2003 Goodreads List

YALSA Best Books of ‘03

Best Books of 2002 Goodreads List

YALSA Best Books of ‘02

Printz Winners 2017 – 2000

Pumpkin Spice LIT – October ’17 PSL & #YearofYA

October 2017 - Pumpkin Spice Lit- What's the Fall Craze in YA Lit.png

We’re redefining the PSL. And no, you don’t need to hit up your local coffee shop for this tasty treat! #YearofYA is all about some Pumpkin Spice LIT in October. You might be asking… “What’s that?” Well, get on fleek and go beyond so basic.

(Speaking of which… Mila is my new favorite thing about the internet. Enjoy: Mila’s over Fantasy Football)

Cozy up with a pumpkin-y treat, a beverage, and feel free to ignore Fantasy Football (or whatever those Felicia’s are watching these days). It’s time to get PUMPKIN SPICE LIT!

So how do you get a handle on trendy YA? Thankfully Tavia has found us loads of resources:

18 YA Novels Coming in September 2017 To Add some Magic to Your Fall Reading

10 MInd-Blowing YA Books You Need to Read This Fall

Defying Definitions: Top Graphic Novels for Fall

21 Big Books of Fall

September 2017 Debut YA Novels

*Podcasts for Lovers of YA Lit – this is a wild card for fun, maybe

New Releases this week…

40 YA Paperback Books for Fall 2017