The YA Roundup: #WeNeedDiverseBooks, Dammit!


Welcome to the YA Roundup, the best source of movie news, bookish gossip, new releases and cover reveals from the YA genre!

This week covers the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Twitter campaign (spoiler: it’s awesome), Rowling’s sentimental moment for the 16th Anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, the attempted ban of Hop On Pop—apparently, it’s “dangerous”—and Meg Cabot’s return to the Princess Diaries series!

We Need Diverse Books Campaign

The We Need Diverse Books campaign with the twitter hash tag #WeNeedDiverseBooks was a massive success this week. Inspired by the decidedly lacking BookCon line up, the campaign was created to highlight and celebrate the amazing contributions that diversity makes to the Young Adult and Middle Grade genres. The campaign was followed up by a call to buy, read, or review diverse books as well as a shelving campaign, #DiversifyYourShelves. We Need Diverse Books spent days as a trending topic on twitter and was widely adopted by the community.

Largely started by Young Adult authors Ellen Oh, Aisha Saeed, and Chelsea Pitcher, the three day campaign officially kicked off on Thursday, but was trending long before that with enthusiasm leading to people tweeting early.

The authors write:

“While we individually care about diversity, there is still a disconnect. BEA’s Bookcon recently announced an all-white male panel of ‘luminaries of children’s literature’, and when we pointed out the lack of diversity, nothing changed. Now is the time to raise our voices into a roar that can’t be ignored.”

Publisher Lee & Low assisted in the launch of the campaign and had this to say about the subject:

Despite myths to the contrary, there’s a market for [diverse books]. We’ve been selling them for 20 years.


Battle of Hogwarts Will Live On in Our Memories

It was the sixteenth anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts this week and many held a moment of silence for those lost souls, including J.K. Rowling who tweeted:

The battle, which took place in the seventh and final Harry Potter book on 2nd May 1998 (HP timeline), resulted in the death of many fan favourite characters. Those who were lost will forever live on in the hearts of true Potterites the world over.

George R. R. Martin is believed to have said Rowling’s sadness was “cute.”


Strange Person Tries to Ban Totally Innocent Children’s Book

Someone in Toronto had their naughty cap on this week after a ludicrous attempt to ban Dr. Seuss’ Hop On Pop. This story is more shocking because apparently this is not the first time someone has tried to ban a Dr. Seuss book, or even this book.

The claim was filed in an attempt to protect beleaguered paternal figures the world over from experiencing harm at the hands of Dr Seuss’ readership, stating that Hop on Pop “encourages children to use violence against their fathers.”

Further more, the claimant suggested that in addition to removing the book from the library’s shelves, the library should “issue an apology to fathers in the Greater Toronto Area and pay for damages resulting from the book.”

Wait until this person finds out you’re not supposed To Kill a Mockingbird, man. Their mind is going to be blown.

This claim was rightfully rejected, and not just with a “LOLOL Hell no!” as I would have done. Instead, the committee took the time to clarify that not only is the book meant to be humorous, but that it actually tells children not to hop on pop.

This only goes to show what happens when you eat too much Green Eggs and Ham because reading comprehension of children’s books isn’t your thing.


Nicole Blonsky writing Intro to Fat Kids

Nicole Blonsky, lead star of Hair Spray will be writing the into for a nonfiction children’s book titled, Fat Kids. The book is due out this October from Beaufort Books and aims to provide biographical accounts of experiences growing up with weight problems:

Fat Kids is a narrative nonfiction account of people’s life experiences growing up fat and being the parents of fat children, the methods that were used to cause weight loss, and the outcomes of these experiences. Heartfelt and often heartbreaking real-life stores are paired with expert discussion of important issues of the day, such as stigma and bullying, the psychological ramification of being a fat child in our culture, and the medical science behind weight. The book includes honest and forthright portrayals in a memoir-esque storytelling style, used to illustrate the serious information presented by subject matter experts.

The book is written by Rebecca Jan Weinstein, author of Fat Sex, The Naked Truth. Nikki Blonsky has spoken publicly about her weight and the effect it’s had on her as a person and her view of herself:

I’m very aware of my body. I’m very aware of myself. I love my body. I love myself.


Children’s and YA Sales Taking Names, Kicking Butts.

The latest AAP figures are in an they’re looking pretty sweet for the Children’s and Young Adult section of the report. The ebook section of the report in particular saw a 65.1% rise, which is a huge relief after January to June 2013 reported sales of only $83.7 million, a 45.6% decrease from the year before. The figures are a strong and positive to the start to the year. Hardcovers rose by 53.7% this January, again a welcome relief from the 31.5% decline last January-June. Taken together, the children’s and YA market brought in $143.7 million in revenue, a 43.7% improvement on January 2013. By comparison, Adult Fiction and nonfiction markets rose only 2.8% in the same period.

Children’s and YA movie adaptations likely play some part in the rising figures; the recently released Divergent by Veronica Roth dominated Publisher’s Weekly 2013 sales.

See the graph below!


British Humanist Society Donates Handbooks

The British Humanist Society donated copies of The Young Atheist’s Handbook to Government Secondary Schools throughout England and Wales. The donation was made possible by over £11,000 in donations through Justgiving. The book is a memoir examining what it is to be a good person without religion:

Alom Shaha grew up in a strict Bangladeshi Muslim community in South-East London in the 1970s and 80s. He was expected to go to mosque regularly and recite passages in Arabic from the Quran, without being told what they meant. Alom spent his teenage years juggling two utterly different worlds: a chaotic, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic family life on a council estate, and that of a student at a privileged private school set amongst the idyllic green playing fields of Dulwich.

In a charming blend of memoir, philosophy, and science, Alom explores the questions about faith and the afterlife that we all ponder. Through a series of loose ‘lessons’, he tells his own compelling story, drawing on the theories of some of history’s greatest thinkers and interrogating the fallacies that have impeded humanity for centuries. Alom recounts how his education and formative experiences led him to question how to live without being tied to what his parents, priests, or teachers told him to believe, and offers insights so that others may do the same.

The move came as a reaction to Michael Gove donating copies of the King James Bible to schools in England. The move by the BHA was largely positively received, with only a couple of Catholic schools threatening to dispose of the book, despite the BHA only sending the books to state schools. Sara Passmore, the BHA’s head of education said:

“We believe schools should be places where pupils are free to encounter the full range of philosophies and world views available to them in modern Britain.”


New Princess Diaries book on the Horizon

In time for the 15th Anniversary of the first Princess Diaries book its author, Meg Cabot, will be writing a new book for the series. This time, it’s not a Young Adult book, but Adult fiction since Mia Thermopolis is all grown up. The move comes five years after the last instalment in the series, Princess Forever, the 10th book in the series.

On her website, Meg Cabot wrote:

“In Royal Wedding, Princess Diaries XI, Princess Mia’s planned nuptials to longtime love Michael Moscovitz are in jeopardy when the paparazzi uncover a startling secret: Mia has a long lost younger sister. Now a scheming politico is using the royal scandal to force Mia’s father from the throne, leaving Genovia without a monarch . . . unless Mia can prove to everyone—especially herself—that she’s finally fit to rule.”

There is also a spin-off series in the works for Mia’s half-sister, this one aimed at Middle Grade readers. The spin-off and the eleventh installation in the series are both due out in 2015.


New York Times Best Sellers (May 11, 2014)

Young Adult

  1. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
  2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  3. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  4. Paper Towns by John Green
  5. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  6. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs
  7. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  9. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  10. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Children’s Series

  1. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  3. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
  4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  6. Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
  7. Sea Breeze by Abbi Glines
  8. Big Nate by Lincoln Pierce
  9. Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  10. Thoedore Boone by John Grisham


New Releases


New Covers


Kat Kennedy and Stephanie Sinclair are the bloggers behind Cuddlebuggery, the Young Adult book blog dedicated to corrupting the reading community with sinister shenanigans.


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