American Born Chinese is 2007 Printz Award winner

The first graphic novel to win the Printz Award is American Born Chinese by Gene Yang. Announced today in Seattle, the 2007 Printz Award winner “focuses on three characters in tales that touch on facets of Chinese American life. Jin is a boy faced with the casual racism of fellow students and the pressure of his crush on a Caucasian girl; the Monkey King, a character from Chinese folklore, has attained great power but feels he is being held back because of what the gods perceive as his lowly status; and Danny, a popular high-school student, suffers through an annual visit from his cousin Chin-Kee, a walking, talking compendium of exaggerated Chinese stereotypes.” (Booklist review)

Printz Honor books are:

Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Taken From Accounts by his Own Hand and Other Sundry Sources by M.T. Anderson
Abundance of Katherines by John Greene
Surrender by Sonya Hartnett
The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak

“I am not so bad a person once you get to know me . . .”

Iggy gets kicked out of high school and there’s no one at home for him to tell. His mother has been gone for days, his father is stoned on the couch and the phone’s been disconnected, so even his social worker can’t get through.

Walking away from his public housing, Iggy sets out to make something of his life. Not an easy task when he has no skills and his only friend is mixed up with the dealer who got his mom hooked.

Iggy’s got problems galore, but Iggy also has the kind of wisdom that lets him see what no one else can. Try Saint Iggy.

Jumping the Scratch

Jamie’s always heard that bad things come in threes. So after his cat, Mister, dies, his father leaves, and his aunt Sapphy has an accident that causes her memory to develop a skip, Jamie hopes his life will go back to being as normal. But unfortunately there’s one more bad thing in store for Jamie-something he’d give anything to forget.

Jamie tries to find the trigger that will help Sapphy’s memory jump the scratch, like the needle on her favorite Sinatra record, but it’s Aunt Sapphy who, along with a curious girl named Audrey, helps Jamie unravel the mysteries of memory and jump the scratch in his own life. [from the bookjacket]

Read Jumping the Scratch or listen to it on CD

A romance in two voices

Calliope is tired of being dragged by her mother cross-country from one Renaissance Faire to another. Eliot longs for the day when his father used to sell swimming pools -- before he "found God," and subsequently founded the fat camp for Christian kids ("What would Jesus eat?"). When Cal and Eliot meet, there's instant chemistry -- literally and figuratively. Do they have a future? Or will Eliot's father and Cal's mother (and her jouster boyfriend) tear them apart? posted by Greg Leitich Smith

Scrambled Eggs at Midnight is a romantic comedy with an almost classic feel. Check out Cynsations to learn how co-authors Barkley and Hepler got together on this book.

What can Damien want?

Written in short lines of free verse, Street Love tells a story of love across social-class lines. Damien who excels at both basketball and academics has been accepted into a top college. In contrast Junice is desperate to protect her little sister after their single-parent mom is sentenced to 25 years for dealing drugs.

From the moment they meet on the bench in the school office, it’s clear they’re drawn to one another. Coming from such different worlds “love” is the only thing Damien and Junice have in common. Is it enough to keep them together?

Ever wondered . . .

how a jet's black box works, how a skin graft is grown, or how a pet translator interprets the mood of your dog or cat? Take a look at Cool Stuff and How it Works. This full color picture book uses advanced imaging technology such as X rays, scanning electron micrographs, and infrared thermograms, along with traditional graphics, to reveal the workings of all this and more. A feast for the eye and brain!

Before J.K. Rowling . . .

Meet Ursula LeGuin, Terry Pratchett, Madleleine L’Engle, Garth Nix, and many other fantasy writers in The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy. Read about their childhoods, who influenced them, how they found their niche in the world of fantasy, and what advise they have for people who want to write.

One interesting aspect of the interviews is to learn the influence of certain life experiences on these people’s writing. When asked if growing up in England during World War II affected her as a writer, Diana Wynne Jones responds: “ . . . the entirety of the world as far as I was concerned was stark-staring crazy in a most menacing way . . . Later, I came to think that if only people then had read a little more fantasy, they would have know Hitler for a dark lord.”

Need something new to read?

I thought I’d read a lot of books until I looked at the Ultimate Teen Reading List. This list comprises over 250 titles (teen and adult) and was compiled by Teenreads.com readers and staffers. See if there isn’t something on the list to perk your interest.

2006 NBA Winner (Young People’s Literature) announced

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson has been announced the 2006 National Book Award winner for Young People’s Literature. Set against the disquiet of Revolutionary Boston, this novel, the first of two parts, re-imagines the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.

This book is not for every teen reader. In fact, some folks aren’t sure just who this book is written for. However, everyone agrees that the writing is brilliant. Try it and see what you think.

Shedding light on Happy Meals

Many of us eat McDonald’s burgers and Chicken McNuggets and yet know very little about what we’re putting in our bodies. Chew on This! Everything You Don’t Want to Know about Fast Food shares what fast food industry officials would rather you not know about what’s in the food, what it does to the body, and about their campaign to lure children into a life long habit of fast food eating.

What if you ate nothing but fast food? Check out film director Morgan Spurlock's 2004 film, Super Size Me and see.

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