YALSA 2009 Teens Top Ten

First and foremost, this post is meant as a celebration in honor of Teen Read Week.

The YALSA Teens Top Ten is out. These books were voted on by teens at libraries nationwide. That’s an exciting thing.

The fact that teens still go to libraries for books and not merely to access the internet is a good thing.

Many of the authors on the list are folks we at The Brown Bookshelf know, personally. Authors who stand with us, in the trenches, to spread the word on good books. So a hearty congratulations to them! Making the list means teens are reading their books.

The List:

1. Paper Towns by John Green (Penguin/Dutton)
2. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
4. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry)
5. Identical by Ellen Hopkins (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry)
6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
7. Wake by Lisa McMann (Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse)
8. Untamed by P.C. and Kristin Cast (St. Martin’s Griffin)
9. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Disney-Hyperion)
10. Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

But (hah, you sort of figured there was a but, didn’t ya’?) I think the list, while a peek into the minds of what readers loved this year, also showcases how important it is that books featuring and/or by people of color are booktalked.

Their absence, to me, simply means they aren’t talked about enough for teens to consider them on a significant level.

Varian and I attended the Kidlit Con this weekend in DC. It was great meeting bloggers who, until Saturday, I only knew through their posts. But I made sure to remind them that part of the solution is ensuring they are reviewing books by/about poc.

So, spread the word about the ’09 Teens Top Ten. Actual readers chose these books which makes this honor that much more special. But do, keep name dropping POC books so that readers know they’re out there.

4 thoughts on “YALSA 2009 Teens Top Ten

  1. It’s unfortunate that the list doesn’t include a little diversity, since POC are certainly creating worthy books. These days, it’s all about word of mouth, and I think there are some important new book bloggers (like The Brown Bookshelf) that are really helping to get the word out. Personally, I never read a lot of “brown” books until I adopted my daughter (who’s bi-racial) – now, I’m wondering why there aren’t more books with brown or bi-racial heroines. As a white woman, I honestly never realized how little “brown” literature is available. However, by seeking books by POC, I’ve discovered some incredible authors/illustrators – Jacqueline Woodson, Linda Beatrice Brown, Kadir Nelson, just to name a few.

    This is getting a bit wordy, but I guess what I’m trying to say is THANK YOU and keep up the good work. You’re bringing literature by POC out of obscurity and that’s a wonderful thing.

  2. It is an honor to read the Brown Bookshelf! For nine years my two colleagues, Dr. Toni Walters, Dr. Jonella Mongo and I, Dr. Vivian Johnson have been writing about African American children’s literature. Our focus is literature written and/or illustrated by African Americans. I discovered this website while once again digging for treasure, that being literature with characters who engaged children of color. We continue to work with educators sharing ways to use AA literature in classroom pedagogy. As a former middle & high school teacher, I have seen the power of young adult literature. Now as an Academic Consultant I am going broke buying books for a group of high school students who are requesting a new book every other week! And yes, they are reading them! We just presented some of their work using AA YA literature as mentor text. It was a start of great things to come, that is if I don’t go broke first! Thanks to this website search, my shopping cart has far exceeded my budget. Do I eat or do these students feast on words that keep them coming back for seconds! Keep preparing wonderful stories smothered with delicious characters and events. Their joy of reading is my just reward.

    Thank you for The Brown Bookshelf.

    Vivian Johnson, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Education
    Coordinator, Graduate Reading & Literacy Program
    Marygrove College
    Detroit, MI 48221

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