YALSA’s 2015 Hub Reading Challenge Begins!

It’s February 11th. Do you know what that means? We are officially two days into YALSA’s 2015 Hub Reading Challenge! What is that you ask?

The HUB hopes to challenge you to read/listen to a list of selected, AWESOME books than you maybe you’ve never heard of or might  not have tried have otherwise. Discover something new!

Challenge objective Read/listen to 25 of the titles on our list of eligible titles [pdf] to finish the challenge. The list includes YA novels, audiobooks, graphic novels, and books for adults, so there’s plenty to choose from. Bonus objective: read/listen to all eligible titles to conquer the challenge! [Please note: at the time of this writing, we are still awaiting the 2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens top ten list to round out the list of Hub Challenge eligible titles. The list will be updated with that info as soon as it’s available!] 

Challenge rewards Beyond experiencing the best of the best that YA lit has to offer, everyone who finishes the challenge will be invited to submit a response to a book they read for the challenge. The response can be text, graphics, audio, video and will be published on The Hub. Furthermore, everyone who finishes the challenge will be entered into a random drawing for our grand prize: a YALSA tote bag full of 2014 and 2015 YA lit! (If the winner is a teacher or librarian or something similar, we’ll also include a few professional development titles.)

Challenge conquerors will receive an elite digital badge to show off how well-read they are. (And don’t forget major bragging rights and the undying awe and respect of everyone, everywhere.)

Challenge guidelines

  • The challenge begins at 12:01AM EST on February 9 and ends at 11:59PM EST on June 21.
  • Eligible books are the YA titles that were named winners or honor titles for the Schneider Family Book Award and the Stonewall Book Award and those on YALSA’s 2015 Best of the Best list (2015 winners and honor books for the Alex Award, Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, Margaret A. Edwards Award, Michael L. Printz Award, Odyssey Award, and William C. Morris Award, as well as the 2015 Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks, Best Fiction, Great Graphic Novels, Popular Paperbacks, and Quick Picks.) Middle grade titles recognized by these lists and awards are not included in the list of eligible titles for this challenge.
  • Format matters: a title that has been recognized for both the print version and the audiobook version can be both read and listened to and count as two books, but a book that has won multiple awards or appears on multiple lists in the same format only counts as one title. If a book was recognized as a print version, listening to the audiobook does not count.
  • Books must be read/listened to (both begun and finished) within the challenge time period. If you’ve already read/listened to a title, you must re-read/listen to it for it to count. The only exception is for titles you read for the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge; whether or not you finished that challenge, you may count that reading toward your 25 titles.
  • Just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to participate. Non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible. Non-US residents/citizens are eligible. (More eligibility questions? Leave a comment or email us.)
  • Once you finish the challenge, we’ll contact you with details about creating and publishing your response.
  • The grand prize winner will be selected by 11:59pm EST on June 23. The winner will be notified via email.

How to participate

  • Comment here announcing your intention to participate. If you’re going to be tracking what you read/listen to on your blog or on Goodreads, LibraryThing, YouTube or some other site, include a link to your blog/shelf/channel/profile in your comment. If you’re not tracking your reading online, keep a list some other way.
  • You may register for the challenge by leaving a comment here and starting your reading any time during the challenge period.
  • Make it a social experience! Share your challenge progress and get to know other participants by using the hashtag #hubchallenge on Twitter.
  • Every Sunday, we’ll publish a check-in post. Leave a comment to talk about what you’re reading for the challenge. If you’ve reviewed those titles somewhere online, include links to those reviews! Otherwise, let us know what you thought of the books in the comments.
  • There will be an finisher form embedded in each check-in post, so once you’re done with the challenge, fill out the form with your name and contact information. This is how you’ll receive your Finisher’s Badge, how you’ll be contacted about your reader’s response, and how you’ll be entered into the drawing for our grand prize. Please fill out the form only once.
  • If you’ve conquered the challenge, let us know in the comments and we’ll send you your Conqueror’s Badge.

Sound good? If you have any questions or problems, let us know in the comments or via email. Otherwise, grab this Participant’s Badge, put it on your blog or in your email signature, and start reading!

2015 reading challenge logo - participant

2015 Summer Reading

How is your 2015 Summer Reading coming along? Need a list of resources to help you find the right book for the right tween?

Take a look then at these web resources:

  1. American Library Association Resources
  2. Collaborative Summer Reading Program
  3. Encouraging Summer Reading
  4. Engaging in Summer Reading
  5. Raise a Reader
  6. Reading Is Fundamental
  7. Scholastic
  8. Summer Reading Tips for Teens- US News

Summer Reading Book Lists:

  1. Family Circle
  2. Goodreads
  3. GreatSchools.org
  4. Horn Book
  5. Huffington Post
  6. Junior Library Guild
  7. Kirkus
  8. Pragmatic Moms
  9. We Are Teachers
  10. YALSA’s Summer Reading Picks
Have a summer reading resource to share? Comment below!

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

dramaDrama by Raina Telgemeier

Paperback, 233 pages
Published September 2012 by GRAPHIX
ISBN13: 9780545326995

Recommended for Ages 10 – 14

From the author of Smile, Telgemeier does it again, bringing to life a likable and relatable female tween protagonist. Callie is part of the school’s drama club, working behind the scenes on set design and prop. Callie is also majorly crushing on a boy named Greg, a boy who kissed her but then ignored her. Adding to the romantic drama is Jesse, twin of Justin, who seemingly likes Callie, but never admits it.

Telgemeier does a wonderful job capturing middle grade and early high school romance and the complex relationships that stem from them.  Theater stage production, prop design and acting play a big role in developing the characters, scenes and making this world feel realistic.

Additional Reviews and Opinions:

  1. GoRaina!
  2. New York Times Review
  3. Goodreads
  4. Book Smuggler Review


Review: Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert


Hub Challenge: Graphic Novels Review

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert

Ages 10+

How do you show a reader the world through Helen Keller’s eyes? Lambert does just that, exploring the amazing relationship between Helen and her mentor, teacher & advocate Annie Sullivan.  Suitable for readers ages ten and up, this graphic novel will appeal to a wide range of readers, and the unique format of this Helen Keller biography will draw in readers who may not normally have read a more traditional biography about this important figure.

For a more in depth view of the graphic novel’s images, and other reviews, please visit any of the following sites:

Kirkus Reviews: www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/joseph-lambert/annie-sullivan-and-trials-helen-keller  


School Library Journal: http://blogs.slj.com/goodcomicsforkids/2012/04/18/review-annie-sullivan-and-the-trials-of-helen-keller/

KidsReads: http://www.kidsreads.com/reviews/annie-sullivan-and-the-trials-of-helen-keller

Cybils: http://www.cybils.com/2013/01/review-annie-sullivan.html

Provo Library: http://pclkidsbooks.blogspot.com/2013/03/annie-sullivan-and-trials-of-helen.html

Schulz Library Blog:  www.cartoonstudies.org/schulz/blog/annie-sullivan-and-the-trials-of-helen–keller-is-out/

Hub Challenge

YALSA HUB Challenge

YALSA HUB Challenge

YALSA’s 2013 Hub Reading Challenge has begun! Need inspiration to read something new, highly reviewed or talked about?  Discover something different and challenge yourself to read or listen to 25 of the 83 titles by June 22 using YALSA’s  2013 Hub list, our list of eligible titles [pdf].

While their list includes books for adults and older teens, I’ve created a list with ‘tween’ appeal on the HUB tab of the blog (and listed below). As I read and review these books, I will more accurately indicate the age appeal and reading interests of the books. For right now, I have based this slimmed down list off of School Library Journal and Booklist age recommendations, which I don’t always 100% agree with in terms of age appeal, but are usually pretty close.

If you succeed in your challenge, you are eligible to submit a response to a book to be possibly published on The Hub.  You’ll also be entered into a random drawing for anawesome grand prize: a YALSA tote bag full of 2012 and 2013 YA lit!

Rules are listed on the hub page, but a quick note, format DOES matter. So if a print book is recognized, then listening to the audiobook does not count as part of this challenge.

I invite you to join me in reading/listening to 25 eligible titles by June 22! Let the reading and/or listening begin.

Graphic Novels

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Daredevil by Mark Waid

Ultimate comics Spider-Man [Vol. 1]  by Brian Michael Bendis

Stargazing dog by Takashi  Murakami, Takashi

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert

Audio Books

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney

Wonder by R.J. Palacio



Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants by Donald R. Gallo

I Pledge Allegiance (Book One Vietnam Series) by Chris Lynch

Alanna Series, The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Alanna Series, In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce

Alanna Series, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce

Alanna Series, Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

Protector of the Small Series, First Test, by Tamora Pierce

Protector of the Small Series, Page, by Tamora Pierce

Protector of the Small Series, Squire, by Tamora Pierce

Protector of the Small Series, Lady Knight, by Tamora Pierce

The Running Dream by  Wendelin Van Draanen

Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright



Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson

Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys, cats and puppies prepared a 2012 annual report for GoodTweenReads. Some neat stats below! The last few months, my to read pile outgrew my nightstand and scattered across my bedroom floor. I have been busy writing mostly, with two unpublished novels now under my tight belt. As the year comes to a close, I hope to revamp this blog, working on getting tweens and twen librarians to help read, review and converse about tween book trends. Goodbye 2012! Hello 2013.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Author Spotlight: Cornelia Funke for Tweens

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August Author Spotlight: Cornelia Funke

Each month, Good Tween Reads highlights an author who’s contributions for tween literature should not be missed. This month, Cornelia Funke deserves a round of applause! Please Click HERE for a full list of her published works

1.    Ghost Knight

  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Pages: 352
  • Age range: 8 – 12 Years
  • Read an Excerpt
  • Educator’s Guide provided by Hachette Book Group

“Funke follows her foray into YA (Reckless) with a simultaneously creepy and romantic middle-grade ghost story that will please her legions of younger fans.”- Publishers Weekly

DoubleDay Book Club Description: “Eleven-year-old John Whitcroft never expected to enjoy boarding school. He never expected to be confronted by a pack of vengeful ghosts, either. And then he meets Ella, a quirky new friend with a taste for adventure.…
Together, John and Ella must work to uncover the secrets of a centuries-old murder while being haunted by terrifying spirits with bloodless faces set on revenge. So, when John summons the ghost of the late knight Longspee for his protection, there’s just one question: Can Longspee truly be trusted?”

2.    The Thief Lord

  • Publisher: The Chicken House
  • Publication date: 5/1/2010
  • Pages: 376 pages
  • Age range: 9 – 12 Years
  • Read an Excerpt

“Wacky characters bring energy to this translation of an entertaining German novel about thieving children, a disguise-obsessed detective and a magical merry-go-round.” – Publishers Weekly

KidsReads Description,written by Carlie Kraft: “…Mysteries and plot twists hide around every corner. The language is rich and the reader always gets a strong sense of setting without being beaten over the head with metaphors. Fans of Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl will love this fast-paced look into a beautiful, mysterious world.”

3.    Igraine the Brave

  • Publisher: The Chicken House
  • Publication date: 9/24/2007
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Age range: 9 – 12 Years
  • Read an Excerpt

KidsReads Description, written by Norah Piehl, “…Igraine herself is a familiar character — the young girl who must find her own path when she feels out of place in the world she is born into — but she is portrayed with compassion and sensitivity. Heavily illustrated with Funke’s own whimsical, cartoon-like drawings, IGRAINE THE BRAVE would make an excellent read-aloud book for younger readers as well as an ideal adventure story for newly-minted fantasy fans.”

Transitioning into Tween:

4.    Dragon Rider

KidsReads Description, written by Norah Piehl, “a straightforward quest story… nevertheless an entertaining… DRAGON RIDER is also a long book, but its short chapters and witty dialogue (especially from the brownie Sorrel) will help keep young readers motivated.”

 5.    Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost

  • Publisher: The Chicken House
  • Publication date: 8/1/2006
  • Pages: 114 pages
  • Age range: 7 – 10 Years
  • Read an Excerpt!

My Quick Review: Tom is your average kid with your not so average ghost problem. When a spooky fiend starts haunting clumsy Tom, he must find a way to help rid himself of his ghostly problem, while also trying to convince his older sister Lola that he not crazy. Spooky and humorous in tone, this is a fun read for boys and girls interested in paranormal fiction and adventure.