Monday, December 26, 2011
Travis is a loner at a new school in a new town. He figures it will be like the old place, except the old place had his dog Rosco and this place doesn't. To his surprise, the new school has a few things the old one didn't have, including a smart, loud-mouthed girl called Velveeta and a reading teacher who is not going to give up on Travis.
Read this book for the wonderful, complex characters and the complex relationships between each of them...and be ready to cheer in triumph at for at least one of them.
As Travis' grandpa would say, "no sex, no drugs. Only rock 'n roll." This book doesn't need any more than that! Highly recommended for grades 6 and up.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Washington State author Guterson 'wins' Bad Sex award
The acclaimed author of Snow Falling on Cedars took the tongue-in-cheek honor in stride: "Oedipus practically invented bad sex, so I'm not in the least bit surprised," Guterson said in a statement released in response to his victory.
Read the rest of the article HERE.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Forensic accountant Celia West is the daughter of superheroes Captain Olympus and Spark, but her only "talent" seems to be a gift for getting kidnapped and held for ransom. When the insane supervillian Simon Sito (aka The Destructor) is captured and prosecuted for tax evasion, Celia finds her chance to help bring evil to justice. However, her investigation uncovers a conspiracy that might be the key to the origin of Commerce City's superheroes...and more.
Fast action, excellent writing, great characters, a unique setting, a little romance, and some tactful off-page sexual situations. This book is written and published for adults, but it will be welcomed by teen readers of superhero fiction.
Highly recommended for ages 14 and up.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Teens who want to know everything about sex: here's your book.
Complete (and I do mean complete) information to answer all the questions you've ever had (and possibly some you never considered). Body image, relationships, masturbation, STDs, pregnancy (and prevention of STDs and pregnancy) as well as the "mechanics" of kissing, mutual masturbation, and various types of intercourse are discussed in frank, readable language.
The author "translates" medical terms into slang terms (and vice versa) to make the information in this book as accessible as possible. She also addresses many topics that traditionally have been skipped over in sex information books: pornography, relationship skills, gender identity issues, and detailed information about the process and the phyical and mental ramifications of abortion.
Obviously, this book could be problematic in many public schools, and probably too much information for middle schools or junior high schools. However, the information is good, current, and needful.
This is a $16.95 investment that libraries should try to make wherever possible. Recommended.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
by Bronwen Pardes
With chapter headings like "The Lowdown on Down Below", "Planning, Not Parenthood", "LGBTQ...Which One R U?" and "Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite", it's easy to tell that this book is a cheery, chirpy, and frank guide to sexual information. The data is up-to-date, with online and toll-free contact information for organizations like Planned Parenthood, as well as for sources of emergency contraception, adoption resources, and STD testing locations.
The writing is naturally friendly without being condescending, the information is complete without being overwhelming, and the narration is uninhibited without being embarrassing. The author's gentle sense of humor pervades the book, but she also offers non-judgemental advice on sexual decision-making that will make sense to teens.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Unshelved comics aren't just for library staff--they will tickle anybody who has ever squinted at a situation and said "Huh?"
Here's my favorite comic, which seems like it was designed especially for Sex in the Library...and the cartoonists have graciously granted us permission to re-print it here:
Click the link in the caption to biggify the picture and view the comic as it originally appeared on the Unshelved website on August 22, 2011.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Yes, we are all tired of novels in poem form. Yes, it is easier to read about abuse if it is in poem form. And yes, you do need to read this one.
Glimpse begins with 12 year old Hope talking her sister out of the gun that she is about to use to kill herself. Liz, who is 14, is taken to a mental hospital. This begins a series of back flashes through Hope's eyes of a severely dysfunctional family where mom has become a prostitute because it pays so much better than working anywhere else; where Hope has all the dreams and simple reality of a 12 year old. And where the sisters are told to take care of each other, even if it means that 14 year old Liz will perform as a prostitute and cry all night but keep that from her sister to protect her, After the psychiatrist and her mother both want the diary Liz kept, Hope finally realizes where it is and reads it, finding out why Liz cried every night, and why she won't talk about what happened to her.
The verse format does not spare the harsh reality from the reader, although the reader will have figured it out long before Hope does. Recommended for 8th grade and up. Sexual parts mentioned; sexual acts alluded to.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Matt, Sean and Coop, best friends since grade school, always set a goal for themselves for the summer. This summer the goal is: to see a real, live girl naked. While they are doing this, Matt also decides that he wants to swim the 100 yd butterfly – a grueling event for any swimmer, and one Matt will need to really practice to even attempt; but he will impress Kelly, a new girl on his swim team- whose boyfriend also swims the 100 yd fly.
This is a laugh-out-loud, read-to-anyone-around book. The extents to which his friends go to help Matt avoid swimming this event are hilarious. The lengths to which Matt will go to keep his friends from actually seeing Kelly naked while not alerting them to the fact that he is doing just that are outstanding. When Matt does fall in love, we all cheer. Vomiting, pooping, possible naked girls- what junior high boy wouldn’t want this book? Ok what adult male wouldn’t want this book? Or is that too redundant? Even the adults in this book are well drawn.
Sexual situations; coarse language; raunchy situations; ages 13 and up.
Sexual and physical abuse; coarse language; ages 14 up
Jeremy, class geek, lusts after girls. But how can a dweeb like him even approach them?
With a new "pill"! The pill is actually a computer device that implants into the brain, telling step-by-step how to score with a girl. At first, the voice in Jeremy's brain is pretty funny--the reader even agrees with him: "First we need to fix your clothes, your body odor, and your work-out regime." It becomes funnier when, as a part of meeting and just being with girls, the voices advises him as he is talking. Jeremy pulls back words, restates things, and seemingly is listening to a voice in his head. How could that be?
It becomes unfunny when we remember, and plot for, the single-purpose conquest. Well,
maybe it's just me being a female and reading this.... Nevertheless, this funny, quirky, great story contains some bad language and some plot twists that could make it problematic for junior high.
Sexual comments, situations; coarse language; ages 14 up
But it's hilarious!
When Devon's mother finds her home from school on the couch, she is delighted: with her job schedule, she doesn't have much time to spend with her daughter. When the police arrive to ask questions about a newborn baby found in the trash nearby, Devon's mom would rather flirt with the officer and ignore his question. When the policeman questions Devon, however, he notices blood on the sofa...and everything falls apart.
Devon has been pregnant, hiding the fact from everyone with bulky clothes and jogging pants. Most of all, she hides it from herself. She is in a complete denial that becomes very believable. Devon is an honor student and a top soccer player. Everyone around her accepts her easy lies. The trial that follows allows Devon to go back in time to the first sexual encounter that led to the pregnancy, and to the horrible re-enactment of the birth. It is this scene that will place the book squarely in the hands of more mature readers.
A complex book, full of suspense, and a realistic plot will keep readers going. Devon't character will pull readers in; certainly the subject matter will foster endless discussions. Not to be missed. Flash-back sex scenes handled well; violent birthing scene; ages 14 up
No kissing skills.
As Parker juggles Tristan, her best friend, girls on the soccer team who hate her, and the coach, she realizes that she is losing control over them all.
Not intense, just plain fun. Will you learn to kiss by reading this? Maybe. Some allusion to sex, ages 12 up
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
by Adam Selzer
14-year-old Leon sarcastically narrates the events that result when he decides to make an avant-garde sex education movie as an assignment for his "gifted and talented" class. Leon's video is weird but comforting, irrational but informative...and very quickly, banned at school.
Leon and his classmates address some common contradictions found in public school where masturbation is often called normal but more often considered vulgar, where nudity may be classical but still censored, and where kids and adults will never see eye-to-eye. Although the story is relatively predictable, the writing is quirky, engaging, and funny.
This fast-paced novel will appeal to middle-readers who wonder what "normal" is and if they will ever be it. No violence, some cuss words, frequent references to nudity, body parts, and all the other things that absolutely fascinate 14-year-old boys. The book has a few on-page kisses, but everyone stays fully clothed, even when the garage blows up. Ages 12 to 16.
Monday, August 1, 2011
|the photographer surprised us|
|Star Trek-esque soft focus|
|Mary Jo laughs at everything, while I am much more serious|
|Coyness = virtue?|
|trading "good parts" in the stories|
|Trading the REALLY good parts of the stories|
|Our wickedness : it shows up on film sometimes|
|The caption overhead sez it all|
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
When Janie was nine years old, she thought that that living on a farm and milking goats every morning was fun and cool and exciting. Now that she's a freshman in high school--in a city, where nobody else milks goats or gathers eggs before getting on the school bus--she thinks that living on a farm is weird.
Janie doesn't want to be weird. She wants to be normal. Then she joins the school Jam Band, meets an elderly man who turned a burned cross into yard art, makes friends with a sweet boy named Monster, and agrees to help her mother host a hootenanny. Before she knows what is happening, Janie has left "normal" ten miles behind her.
No cussing, no on-page violence (the civil rights activists do relate their fears of violence in Missippippi prisons during the 1960's but those events are far removed from the present action), no sex, but there are some very enjoyable romances and one romantic fail.
Recommended for ages 12 to adult.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel
13-year-old Ben Tomlin is accustomed to to parents making important decisions without any regard for his preferences or feelings. They've done it his whole life. But it seems to Ben that he might at least be asked if he wants to move across the country from Toronto, ON to Victoria BC so that his parents can pursue a new research project. Ben isn't very enthusiastic about adding a baby chimpanzee to the family at first. Gradually, however, teaching Zan sign language becomes Ben's project.
And then, the project funding fails.
Thoughtful and sweet, the story explores the boundaries of scientific ethics as well as the relationship between animals and people. The emotional sub-plot of Ben's experiences with his family and his first girlfriend are funny and pertinent as well.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
In clear, non-emotional terms, this text (and others in the Gallup Guide to Modern Gay Lesbian and Transgender Lifestyle series) outlines the issues, facts, and myths about transgendered persons. Information for the book was gathered from the medical community, the transgendered political community, and from individuals who identify themselves on the specturm of transgender, as well as parents, siblings, and spouses of transgendered people.
With vocabulary defined in context and also in adjacent sidebars, "extra info" boxes of related information, and plenty of quotes from people who deal with the confusion of transgender on a daily basis, this book will be useful for questioners of all ages. Each chapter also contains a bibliography of books and internet resources for further inquiry.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Jay ends up in a small barrio town in Southern Arizona which is dominated by bandas (gangs). With his new friend Rosalie, his love-interest Anna, a jackalope/girl called Lupita, and a rock band called "Malo Malo", Jay draws on his immature dragon power to drive violence away from town. However, the bandas are not going to leave without a fight.
Fans of the author will welcome this new tale of contemporary magic; newcomers to the genre may be lost among the confusing powers of the animal clans. For a better introduction to DeLint's wonderful alternate-universe, readers may want to explore the recent short-story compilation The Very Best of Charles DeLint.
Recommended for readers ages 14 to adult.
This is the story of two girls.
16-year-old Eagan, a figure skater bound for the Olympics, is dead after she hits her head on the boards during a competition. In life, she loved to skate, loved her boyfriend, and loved her parents--even though she frequently fought with her mother. Now Eagan experiences a series of flashbacks in a "grey between-place".
Shy 14-year-old Amelia has lived with a failing heart for several years, and knows that in order to receive a heart transplant, somebody else has to die. She wants to be normal, but has been so ill for so long that she doesn't know where to begin. After Eagan's heart is transplanted into Amelia, the girl is able to walk, and even run...and she begins to dream of Eagan's life, to act like Eagan, and even to crave Eagan's favorite purple lollipops.
The concept of "cellular memory" has plenty of anecdotal support, but real research is still pending. Still, the idea is interesting enough to keep readers turning the pages to see the many ways that Eagan is able to assist Amelia from beyond the grave. No sex, drugs, or rock and roll, but there are a few tactful scenes of teen snuggling.
Recommended for middle school and high school readers.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The SITL librarians, ever-poised for action, leaped into February 14th's sugar-laden mushiness.
Armed with two gigantic boxes of teen books, stacks of booklists printed on pink paper, and a big tin of chocolate kisses, we invited 8th graders to listen and talk about the topic that simultaneously fascinates them and scares them spitless:
We talked about books that feature Star Trek Sex (Shiver, by Maggie Steifvater)...and full-frontal on-page nekkidness (Forever, by Judy Blume)...
...and lots of other books from all parts of the subtle-to-nekkid spectrum.
In the talkback portion of the program, kids told us which books they thought were appropriate--and not appropriate--for a school library.
As usual, they surprised us.
In ten years of presenting Sex in the Library booktalks, we've seen student opinions change dramatically.
Students in late June 2000 told us that on-page sex in books was not okay for school library books, but on-page violence was fine.
"We see violence on television news all the time, but nobody ever shows people having sex on the news."
Their perspective changed dramatically in 2001, after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Suddenly, the teen violence in Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden was not as acceptable...because the kids in the book are, essentially, terrorists.
For several years we saw the "T" word being almost more objectionable than the "G" word.
Oh yeah, the "G" word?
Until recently, sexual content between fictional gay characters was very squinchy territory among our middle school audience members.
When Brent Hartinger's book Geography Club was banned at nearby University Place School District in 2005, nobody seriously believed that the challenge was supported by the school superintendent because the protagonist meets up with a stranger that he'd encountered online.
Everybody, including the students, understood that the book was targeted because the main characters are gay teens.
Until recently, many 8th graders told us that banning a book about gay teens from school libraries was, probably, a good idea.
The topic was not appropriate for kids their age, they said.
This year, we noticed that students not only publicly support books about gay teens, they support books about gays AND about lesbians AND transgendered persons, AND they think that these books should be in the school library.The current class of 8th grade students is remarkably different from their peers 10 years ago...and remarkably similar as well. They are fascinated, they are embarrassed, they are intrigued.
They want sex.
Significantly, they want sex in the library
Who can blame them?
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
16-year-old Katla did not want to leave her father and sunny, fashionable California behind when the divorce was finalized, but her mom gave her no choice and off they moved to Norse Falls, Minnesota. There, she becomes an outcast almost immediately because of an impulsive night with another girl's boyfriend...but there is some other reason that the town views Katla with suspicion.
Adding to the mystery is Katla's new and mysterious power: she is a Stork, one of the mysterious band of women who work to unite a "baby-to-be" with the correct "mother-to-be."
The novel combines a quirky, modern protagonist with "norse mythology lite"; the result is not a classic but is fun and fluffy enough to appeal to teens who want a book about unusual relationships with a bit of supernatural romance. No cussing, some kissing and some off-page sexual situations.
Recommended for ages 14 to adult.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Maddy and Rogan come from a line of Shakespearean actors. They are the children of brothers; Maddy's family consists of only daughters and Rogan's family has only sons. Both families live in the family compound, and the houses are close to each other. Much comment is made about the "kissing cousins", and Maddy and Rogan have always been inseperable.
When Rogan finds an intricate toy theatre locked away in a storage room, the room becomes a refuge where he and Maddy can have peace...and eventually, sex. Rogan pulls away from real life as Maddy begins to embrace us.
This is a tragic novel that never pulls the reader into the characters. Although the form will appeal to literature teachers, teens will shrug after completing this (fortunately) short novella.