Pokémon Day 2021

Did you know every February 27 is Pokémon Day? I didn’t until my library started celebrating it last year. Our Pokémon Day celebration was our last big children’s event before the pandemic sent us all home and pivoting to virtual programs. This year, Pokémon turns 25. I don’t know about your communities, but in mine the Pokémon love is still strong. (I’m also personally and eagerly awaiting the new Switch game in 2022.)

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2020 LGBTQIA+ Starred Review Roundup

It’s time for the 3rd annual roundup of star-studded LGBTQIA+ titles for kids and teens. While stars aren’t everything (especially not to youth), I think it’s interesting to see the types of books that receive praise. Once I have five years of information, I may even write something a bit more in depth. Until then, here is a list!

(Previous lists: 2018, 2019)

A quick comparison from last year’s list shows a decrease in the number of starred reviews: 105 titles received at least 1 star (89 in 2018, 152 in 2019) and 16 titles received 3+ stars (26 in 2018, 38 in 2019). Due to the pandemic, it could be that fewer titles were reviewed or that publication dates were pushed back. Or it could be that, after the boom of LGBTQIA+ publishing in recent years, journals are more reluctant to give stars. For more statistics fun beyond stars and LGBTQIA+ identities, check out the CCBC findings.

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Debrief: ALA Midwinter Virtual 2021

Since the ALA Youth Media Award announcement on Monday, January 25, I’ve seen Michaela Goade’s name and her beautiful, defiant cover art for We Are Water Protectors (written by Carole Lindstrom) everywhere. Each time, it fills me with joy. Goade—the first Indigenous (Tlingit) woman and BIPOC woman to win—deserves every bit of this moment. I’m proud to have been part of the 2021 Caldecott committee that chose her book. I also acknowledge there’s still work to be done, since it took a committee 84 years to award a BIPOC woman its highest honor.

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2019 LBGTQIA+ Starred Review Roundup

I stepped away from Medal on My Mind last year and am continuing to do so again this year. But I had a draft of this list and wanted to get it out there, even though it’s old news. A quick comparison from last year’s list shows nearly double the number of starred reviews: 152 titles received at least 1 star (89 in 2018) and 38 titles received 3+ stars (26 in 2018). Also worth noting, one starred, #ownvoices book by an LGBTQIA+ author was withdrawn from publicationnot for its LGBTQIA+ content, but for “problematic representation of the Kosovo War, genocide, and Muslim characters.”

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2019 Tween Book Group Activities

I’ve been leading Tween Book Group for over two years now and it remains my favorite program of all time. Why? Because there’s nothing more fun than helping kids build relationships with literature—and, of course, each other.

Our hour-long Tween Book Group is structured with about half the time devoted to discussion and half the time devoted to an extension activity. I really try to make it feel like a club, so I’ll often make and give away custom swag (typically buttons). But my signature move is drawing a whiteboard schedule based on the book. And one of my tweens’ signature moves is erasing bits of my whiteboard masterpiece at the end of the program.

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