The YA Roundup: Ban All the Books!

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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 news of book bannings and protests because THINK OF THE CHILDREN, high schoolers self-publishing a book of poetry, and the possibility of a Harry Potter stage play?! Oh, happy day!

Tennessee School District Curiously Bans Book

The Curious Incident Mark Haddon

I sometimes wonder what people think the kids are doing these days that a few curse words would be wondrously inappropriate for their innocent little souls. Cheating at hopscotch? Procrastinating on their homework? Forgetting to give their teacher an apple? Those little scamps.

Because of foul language The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon has been banned from the Tennessee school district. Wayne McNeese, one of the board members who voted against the book in a 3-1 decision, had this to say:

“The F-bomb is pretty common in that book, and that’s what I have a problem with. I’m not dumb enough to think students don’t hear that language, but it doesn’t mean we should promote it.”

No, Wayne, you just can’t differentiate between promoting curse words and allowing students to study a text despite the presense of curse words.

The book was required reading for Mt. Juliet High School, Wilson Central High School, and Lebanon High school, however parents and students were allowed to opt out of reading the book and teachers had the ability to choose a replacement text.

 

Parents Protest for More Teen Pregnancy and STDs

It’s Perfectly Normal, the title of a book that apparently flew over the heads of parents this week, is being contested for its placement in Missouri schools.

Thankfully, this time, District officials seem to be reasonable about the complaint, saying:

“It was determined to keep the ebook available as a resource for check-out in the library. If a parent determines that he/she does not want to their child to have access to certain materials, we honor that request.”

The book, by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley, is an educational ebook that depicts people having sex. Something no middle schooler could possibly benefit learning about, I’m sure.

This is far from the first time It’s Perfectly Normal has been challenged in public libraries and for school use. The author, Robie H. Harris gave a Kirkus interview in which he states:

I knew that illustrator Michael Emberley and I had created a book that provided kids and teens with honest and accurate information, which they have a right to and need in order to stay healthy as they enter and go through puberty and adolescence. I also thought that the information in this book might help prevent kids and teens from being infected by an STD or becoming pregnant before they are old enough to take good care of a baby.

 

Daughter Humiliated by Outraged Father

Gilford, New Hampshire resident and over-protective father William Baer was arrested for protesting the inclusion of Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes in his daughter’s high school curriculum.

The novel addresses school shooting and bullying; Baer takes objection to a single-page sex scene. Baer told CBS Boston that the scene “reads like a transcript for a triple X porno movie,” and that parents “had no notice of it whatsoever, no written notice, no verbal, nothing.”

I’m not one to accuse a man of not watching pornography—guilty until proven without internet connection in my books—but clearly this person is not as familiar with triple x pornos as he could be.

Baer told the arresting officer that he wouldn’t leave the premises and would continue attacking the school’s decision. His exact words:

“Arrest me or I’m not going to [leave].”

Please, dear readers, please never say that to a police officer. It doesn’t take much effort to guess what happened next.

Jodi Picoult recalled a 2007 talk with students at the Gilford school:

“That was followed by a wonderful, spirited conversation about how to end bullying in their own school community. […] The works of fiction included in school curricula are meant to encourage and develop critical thinking skills in adolescents. I would encourage any parent to read whatever books are assigned, and to use them as springboards for discussion with their children.”

 

Cuts to LGBTI Books in South Carolina Offensive and Ridiculous

“The Bone-heads in the South Carolina Legislature” should live on in infamy. The term, coined by Pulitzer winners Richard Ford and Junot Díaz is incredibly apt, as the politicians are looking to strip funding from two universities, the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate for using LGBTI books in class.

The College of Charleston taught classes featuring Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, while USC Upstate was using Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio. Both schools are threatened with a combined budget cut of $70,000. There are so many things I could say, but some truly marvellous authors have said it for me:

Gone Baby Gone author Dennis Lehane:

“Only morons and mean children are afraid of free speech and fairness to all.”

Emma Donoghue, author of Room:

“University should blow your mind, or why bother going?”

Junot Díaz:

“My impression of this madness? That this was flat-out hate masquerading as concern for ‘public sensibility’. That our politicians are always looking for excuses to defund our educational systems and this gave them the added opportunity to bash a vulnerable community as well—which for them was sort of a jerkoff’s two-for-one.”

I just love it when authors get pissed off.

The South Carolina Senate will be debating and voting on the budget cuts next week.

 

Awesome High School Awesomely Self-Publishes Poetry Ebook

When English teacher Tonya McQuade discovered self-publishing at her local library, I’m not sure she expected that she would inspire over 120 freshman English students to write, design, format, illustrate, market and publicise their own ebook, Windows to the Teenage Soul.

According to freshman Elan Friedland:

“This project provided many new experiences for me and gave me skills that I can apply later in life.”

I bet it did, Freshman Elan Friedland. I bet it did.

The idea is to use the profit from the project to pay for future school events like their prom. Which basically means this freshman class is already at least 80% cooler than my freshman class ever was.

 

Once Director May do Harry Potter Stage Play

John Tiffany, stage director of Black Watch and Once, is in early negotiations to direct a play focusing on the life of Harry Potter’s parents and his early years as an orphan. Writer Jack Thorne, who previously worked with Tiffany on a stage adaptation of Let the Right One In, is being actively pursued for the project. Let the Right One In has already won the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, so hopes are high for the epic collaboration to help bring the magic to Harry Potter once again.

Our Queen and Goddess JK Rowling will be collaborating with the writer and director, and will co-produce along with Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender as the lead producers.

 

New York Times Best Sellers (May 18, 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. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs
  6. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  7. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
  8. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  9. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  10. The Treatment by Suzanne Young

Children’s Series

  1. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  3. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
  4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  6. Sweet by Wendy Higgins
  7. Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
  8. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  9. Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  10. Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski

 

Book Deals

Uncommon Magic by R.J. Anderson
Publisher: Atheneum (Simon & Schuster)
Publication: Fall 2015
Rights: North American
Agent: Josh Adams (Adams Literary)

A Veronica Mars-type girl joins forces with a mystery-loving street boy to solve a murder in a 1930s-style city driven by spell power.

All We Left Behind by Ingrid Sundberg
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication: Spring 2016
Rights: World English
Agent: Melissa Sarver White (Folio Literary Management)

For teen couple Marion and Kurt, every kiss unravels memories they would both rather forget, and long-buried secrets threaten to tear them apart.

Dragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication: Unknown
Rights: U.S.

The 14 stories originally appeared in Buck’s Free Press, a newspaper in Buckinghamshire, England; Pratchett, before becoming a novelist, was a reporter and contributed a number of stories to the paper’s Children’s Circle section.

Untitled by Kathy MacMillan
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: Winter 2016
Rights: World English
Agent: Steven Malk at Writers House

Described as “a sweeping fantasy in the tradition of Megan Whalen Turner and Diana Wynne Jones.” It follows a girl from the underclass who is chosen to be one of four in the kingdom to learn the language of the gods, and unwittingly uncovers a secret that goes back to ancient times.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication: Winter/Spring 2016
Rights: World English
Agent: Kent D. Wolf (Lippincott Massie McQuilkin)

The first book is a magical, modern-day retelling of the Russian folktale “Vassilisa the Beautiful” that, which according to the publisher, “does for Brooklyn what Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat did for Hollywood.”

The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn
Publisher: Atheneum (Simon & Schuster)
Publication: Fall 2015
Rights: World
Agent: Unagented

In which the youngest of the three Fates tells of the events that lead her and her sisters to leave their isolated island in aid of a mortal girl, only to discover that their quest to save the girl could bring about the end of the world.

Source: Publishers’ Weekly

 

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Cover Reveals

 


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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