The 2014 Inky’s and YASLA Teens’ Top Ten

This week we had the announcement of some YA literature awards. First I was pleased to see the announcement of the winners of the Gold  and Silver Inky Awards. The Inkys are awards for teenage (or YA) novels and are co-ordinated by the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria via insideadog. This year we was the 8th year of the Awards that are voted for online by the readers (who are under 20) of who can be from anywhere in the world. You can look at the titles on this year’s long and short lists and also go back to previous years lists and there are links to previous lists from here.  There have been many wonderful titles that have made these lists so all are worth a look even if they are not the eventual winners. The 2014 winners: The First Third by Will Kostakis and   All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry

  • Gold Inky Award (Australian book): The First Third by Will Kostakis The second novel from the author and it is this is both a funny and sad book about families and adolescence. The main character, part of a Greek-Australian family, is 17 year old  BillyTsiolkas.
    • Publisher’s website with teaching notes here.
    • Melina Marchetta interviews Will Kostakis here.
  • Will Kostakis tells us about his book ‘The First Third’ in the video below

  • Silver Inky Award (International book): All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry  Abducted 4 years previously, Judith is back but  has been mutilated by her abductor, who also murdered her friend. Shunned by the people around her she has to decide if she can regain her voice even if it changes everything around her. A very powerful story.  In the video below, author Julie Berry introduces the novel, “All the Truth That’s In Me.”

We have both these books in our library. They have been read students at our school over the last few months and they would agree that they are great stories.

A few days ago the YALSA’s 2014 Teens’ Top Ten titles were also announced. This Teen Choice list engaged Teens’ Top Ten book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country in reading and voting. The selected titles will also be included on the  Teen Book Finder App. It is now available for Android as well as iOS devices and anything that helps encourages my students to read is something I encourage. This app also offers a way to broaden the reading lists of my students in Australia by publicizing and promoting a broader range of book titles than they might otherwise see in the local library.


The Inky Awards – 2011 long list

It is not long before the CBCA winners are announced and so it is also the time for this year’s Inky’s  awards to be considered. Friday saw the announcement of the long lists. The Inkys are international awards for teenage (or YA) novels and are co-ordinated by the Centre for Youth Literature via insideadog.

This year we will be celebrating the fifth year of the Awards that are voted for online by the readers (who are under 20) of from anywhere in the world. You can read about the history of the Inkys (the winners and the books that have made the long and short lists) here. There have been many wonderful titles that have made these lists so all are worth a look even if they are not the eventual winners.

If you have not read some of these books you can go to this part of the site to find out more about each of them. We will know which titles have made the final cut on September 1 with the online voting open until October 18.

The winners will be announced at the Inkyfest on October 25.

You can read about the 2011 judges with interviews and links on the insideadog site. Lucy Christopher is on the blog already and the other judges will be interviewed each day this week.

Gold Inky 2011 long list:

  • Pig Boy by  JC Burke. The “Tom Brennan” book was such a great story and a well read book in the library. It was also one of the books our VCAL boys had to read. They are boys who, on the whole, do not  usually like reading but it was one they could relate to.  This story is again one that has very strong Australian characters and it is a very honest story about boys, bullying and violence.
  • Good Oil by Laura Buzo. 
  • Just a Girl by Jane Caro.
  • The FitzOsbournes in Exile by Michelle Cooper.
  • Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. A book whose characters were very recognisable to many of our students.
  • This is Shyness by Leanne Hall.
  • Black Painted Fingernails by Steven Herrick.
  • Silvermay by James Moloney. This one is new to us. We have all of James Moloney’s books for secondary school students. The fantasy ones have been very popular and this looks to be no exception.
  • The Comet Box by Adrian Stirling. Adrian Stirling’s first book Broken Glass was a very a contemporary story about rural Australian life. The Comet Box  is another look at Australian life. It is a suburban mystery that examines life in 1986  Geelong. Told through the stories of a number of different characters as they are touched by one family’s traumatic event but experienced by many within the community.
  • All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield. We only bought this book last week and another member of our staff has it for the holidays. It another first novel and what an achievement to make it to the Inky long list

Silver Inky 2011 long list:

We have some of these books, some we have not seen and some we have looked at but decided not to buy. As a school for teenage boys, we have to work out what to spend our money on to get the “best value” for our money. Books may be very well written and interesting but literature that looks to “girlie” on the cover will not get read. The boys all have to bring wider reading books to all English classes and the covers matter. Science fiction and fantasy can get away with certain symbols on the cover but in general the boys are very sensitive to how the book looks to the others.

This is the great thing about having books in e-book format. The boys who are interested in reading beyond the traditional “boys” literature, who are willing to give different stories a go, don’t have to worry about message the covers will give to their school mates.

There are others here that, after reading the on-line comments, I must get my hands on and read. I will also be encouraging our boys to vote for their favourites.

Useful sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Author interviews and farewell Fiction Focus

It has been a short week for those of us in Melbourne schools with a public holiday to celebrate the running of the Melbourne Cup. The work days this week have been: 1. spent deciding on how best to utilise the Kindles we have bought for the library and 2. looking at authors and writing for some of our literary students. 

I am sorry to say that one of my mainstays when it comes to keeping up with YA literature, the Fiction Focus blog, has written its last post. This was a terrific site and so useful to all who work in the YA or children’s literature area. Funding cuts seem to be so random and ill-advised at times but if you feel like you would like to register your disappointment please visit the blog to leave a comment.

It was from a post on the Fiction Focus blog that I found out about the newspaper in the US , the Albany Examiner, that has been publishing a series of profiles on contemporary YA authors. The latest is an article about Australian author Melina Marchetta. In the US Finnikin of the Rock is the most recent release. There have been  five previous writers in this ongoing series. They are: Andrew AuseonAlly Carter, Kristen Cashore, E. Lockhart and M.T. Anderson.

I, along with two students at my school, was fortunate to be able to met author Michael Grant last night. He came along to speak to students from some of the nearby schools. He is a very dynamic character and seemed totally at ease talking to the students present.  A good post can be found on the Booktopia blog (Michael Grant, Author of GONE, HUNGER and LIES, answere ten terrifying questions) He was funny, articulate and offered some interesting ideas about writing to those present.

I have also been reading some fascinating author interviews that range from the 50’s until today. These were done for the Paris Review.

The Review focused on original creative work and innovatively, at the time of its founding, letting the authors talk about their work themselves. The Review’s Writers at Work interview series offered authors a rare opportunity to discuss their life and art at length; they have responded with some of the most revealing self-portraits in literature. Among the interviewees are P.D. James, Elie Wiesel, Margaret Drabble, V. S. Naipaul, P.L.Travers,Seamus Heaney, Ian McEwan, Ray Bradbury, Les Murray  and Peter Carey.

Aside from “hearing” how the author liked to write and about the impetus for their works, I also became fascinated with the little examples of manuscript pages that you could view for each of them.

YA literature – Printz award winners and a podcast

Thanks to a post on the Fiction Focus (CMIS) site, I found out about  a collection of book trailers. These have been created for many of the Printz Award winners and Honor Books and go back as far as 2000. They were created by students at the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Women’s University.

The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. It is named for a Topeka, Kansas school librarian who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association. The award is sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association.

There are some Australian books also on the list of trailers. Melina Marchetta’s On the Jellico Road, Printz winner in 2009, has been included as has Sonya Hartnett’s Surrender, a Printz Honor Book in 2007 and Margo Lanagan’s Black Juice, a 2006 Honor Book.

Speaking of using the film media to promote books – here is another interesting item.

Since the movie came out we have had a great rush on John Marsden’s books. There has always been a steady readership but, invariably, after a movie adaptation there is a rush back to the book. We are fortunate that we have mini class sets of the Tomorrow series books and we have been able to accommodate all those who have come to the library keen to read the books

There was a great interview from the RN Book Show has John Marsden discussing the film adaptation of his very popular Tomorrow when the war began book.  and some of the compromises he has had to accept.

The first book in the Tomorrow series was published in 1993 but there is a renewed surge of interest in the novel because it is now ‘a major motion picture’. The film version of Tomorrow When the War Began was released in cinemas during the September school holidays in Australia, and as a tie-in Pan MacMillan have re-published the novel, and its numerous sequels, with new cover designs made up of stills from the film.

Any author would be happy to have their novel back at the front of the book store but the translation from page to screen inevitably involves compromise and that can sometimes be less comfortable.

John Marsden was as articulate as ever and he gave thoughtful answers. He discusses the changes/differences between his story (the characterisations, the portrayal of violence, the way the enemies are less faceless to name three) and the new medium of film. The podcast is 17 minutes long but very easy to listen to and many of our boys would have opinions on the issues discussed.