With all the conversations going on right now about the importance of diversity, take this as your reminder to add some diversity in ALL of your displays. Add TYRELL by Coe Booth to your John Green display. Put Cindy Pon’s SILVER PHOENIX and Nnedi Okorafor’s AKATA WITCH on your fantasy display. BOY MEETS BOY by David Levithan ought to be on your romance display. Antony John’s brilliant FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB should be on your realistic fiction display.

Take a step back & make sure you have faces of all kinds throughout your teen space, no matter the population you serve.

Because it’s important.


Update 08.2015: So here’s a display I put together to celebrate the Paper Towns movie. When I put this together, I challenged myself to find as many diverse books as possible that I would, in fact, recommend to someone who has read Paper Towns or other John Green books – books with themes about imagining others complexly and getting to know both yourself and those around you.

Here’s what’s on display: GLBT, African-American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian-American*, size acceptance, economic disparity, mixed race, disability (deafness & blindness), along with plenty of books about white kids.There are all GREAT books that ALL teens should have access to.

*I would have loved to put ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ on this display, but it’s ALWAYS out (yay!). But why is there so little realistic fiction that show an Asian on the cover? It’s sad and frustrating.

Creating a great, diverse display shouldn’t be hard. And it isn’t. Very few of the books on the wall here are books I wouldn’t consider a part of a core teen fiction collection. What would YOU have added?

Anatomy of a Teen Event Flyer

anatomy of an event flyer

Hello fellow librarians of Ohio, & all who are looking for information on creating graphics to reach the teen audience: Anatomy of a Teen Event Flyer was a poster presentation at the 2013 Ohio Library Council Convention & Expo. Please feel free to print off any & all of the information below!

PS: If you save the images, it’ll save the hi-res version, so you’ll be able to read it better! Yay!


anatomy diagram
Click for larger image!



anatomy resource bookmark

As always, if you have any questions, be sure to let me know!

Update 01.12.16: Go here for samples of what I’ve created over the years.

Here’s what I’ve been doing lately…


I don’t know about you, but I have been just SWAMPED lately with just everything! I can’t believe we’re almost completely through April – summer reading is right around the corner, but I am nowhere NEAR ready! Our Hunger Games program went very, very well, & we had a reasonable number of teens attend. I created the program with the intention that it’d take about an hour for them to get through all the challenges, but they went all hardcore on it & the first team was done in eighteen minutes. EIGHTEEN. Every team was done in half an hour, so I’ve promised that the Catching Fire event will be much more intense & difficult. & they cheered!

The photograph up top is from our local newspaper – the bows went over very well, & made for very photogenic teens!

This past Saturday we held our very first Otaku Mini-Anime Convention. Although it was a blast, someone remind me to never again plan a six-hour teen event? Four hours is about the limit of my attention span, apparently. To be fair, most of them didn’t show up until the afternoon, so I think a noon to four time will be perfect.

They had a blast making sushi, as you can see below…


It was actually quite easy – I picked up sushi rice, nori, krab, cucumber, shredded carrot, cream cheese, & a few condiments. They used wax paper to roll up their creations, & it worked really well! So should you decide to do this, there’s no need to fork over the money for mats. You can easily do this for about $20-25 dollars, & I guarantee they’ll have fun.


Cover Reboot Win

Awhile ago now, I wrote about Cover Reboot Fail, & lamented those that, upon their paperback release, were treated rather badly. I’m happy to report, though, that this isn’t always the case! Sometimes they take advantage & really nail it the second time.

Do you know, I hadn’t even realized this was a modern story until I saw the new cover on an ad somewhere – oops? I like the original art, but something about it screams 1940s & definitely that it belongs in the children’s section. But this new edition is simply stunning. I think plenty of teens will grab this off the shelf now!

How clever to put the title on the butt-cheek pocket! LOVE IT. I like the original cover too, but the paperback definitely catches your eye.

I can’t decide which edition I like better, but I think they’re both pretty great.

To be perfectly honest, I really like the original cover. But something about the paperback is really engaging, & I think it does a better job of capturing the essence of the story.

This is exactly what this series needed for those Hunger Games fans to pick it up. The original definitely screams mid-00s, but the new one definitely catches your eye.

You can see all my favorite book covers in the Well-Designed Books Make Better Lovers (& find more readers) set on Flicker!

Books with Beat!

What are you up to this year? I, for one, made my own graphics (the logo I created is above). Lately, I’ve been quite unhappy with the focus of YALSA graphics, so I whipped up some of my own. Around here, Guitar Hero & Rock Band are just not as popular as they once were – sure, the teens still play it, but it’s no longer a novelty. The two competing music video game companies really saturated the market, & the teens have moved on.

I don’t know about you, but I love a good book list. Because I like to feature the cover art, & didn’t order bookmarks from ALA, I made a bookmark/book list that served as both. Click for the original image!

Please, feel free to use these as you’d like! I printed the bookmarks on white cardstock, & the colors from the books look great with the black & white logos. Music fiction has all the best covers, if I do say so myself.

As for programming, I’m running a month-long giveaway disguised as a survey of their music tastes. Music is probably the most challenging to figure out; you can’t just judge what’s on the radio any more. A good part of my “usual” teens just keep bouncing from Japanese star to Korean teeny-bopper week to week, & we can’t get a lot of that music in our library. In return for filling out a three question survey (favorite musician, favorite book, favorite part of the library), I’ve giving away a prize pack of books & other various stuff I’ve always got lying around.

As part of our usual “Teens on Tuesday” programming, I’m doing our own version of Silent Library.

Here are my notes on what I’m planning to do:

Silent Library

I’ll hand out cards; whoever gets the skull & crossbones must complete the challenge! You can only win a prize when you complete the challenge without laughing. NO ONE is allowed to make a lot of noise (silent laughter!), if you laugh too loud, you’ll forfeit your chance to win!

Round 1: Eat an oreo without your hands
Round 2: Wrap someone in toilet paper, using the whole roll, in two minutes
Round 3: Write your full name with your feet as legibly as possible within 90 seconds
Round 4: 3 pieces of bubble gum; blow five bubbles within 60 seconds
Round 5: Rattle Race: attach a shaker to your knee; make it to the finish line without making a noise. If noise is made, start again. Everyone who finishes within 2 minutes wins!
Round 6: Eat 5 brussels sprouts, one at a time, within 2 minutes

Final Round: Lifesaver Relay!
Includes everyone, divided into two teams
Everyone sit in a row at the table, with teams on either side. Put a toothpick in between your teeth. The first person, without using their hands, picks up a lifesaver with the toothpick. Once they get it, the next person does the same thing. First team to finish wins the prize!

For every challenge they complete, they’ll win a small prize (pencil, candy, etc). Nothing too bizarre, gross, or painful, but it ought to be fun!

What about you? How are you celebrating Teen Read Week 2010?

The importance of book design…

This week’s Newsweek arrived in my mailbox yesterday (& I LOVE the new design & layout to pieces!), & in addition to coverage of the death of Michael Jackson, this edition is all about BOOKS. One feature talks about book covers & Chip Kidd’s (an editor at Alfred Knopp) favorites through the years. Although he nailed some of the best designs of the times (books such as Everything is Illuminated, Twilight, & A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), I also felt like a lot of his choices were, well, really obvious! Dig deeper to find some chestnuts, like Sima’s Undergarments for Women!

One of the nice things about teen lit is that selling the book relies on the story & design alone – unless it’s a name like Stephenie Meyer or JK Rowling, teens usually don’t know & frankly don’t care. Some will recognize a name like Meg Cabot or Darren Shan, simply because their books take up so much of the shelf, but teens in general are rather more interested in whether the story is interesting than which best-selling author’s name is plastered across the cover.

Here’s a sampling of some of my favorites…