25 Sep

In which I identify a bunch of YA titles about identity…

I spent this past Friday in San Antonio at the regional Library Resource Roundup. Highlights of my day included:

Meeting Adam Gidwitz, the Brooklyn-based author of A Tale Dark & Grimm. Adam not only gave the keynote address — he also gave me a lot to think about (starting with, “How can I make the audience laugh as much as he did?”) as I prepare for my own keynote at a similar event in Waco in November. During an informal Q&A (as opposed, I guess, to the rigidly formal Q&A sessions the librarians have come to expect from children’s authors), Adam discussed the eye-opening usefulness of a certain screenwriting guide. Well, that same guide — Save the Cat! — happens to be the very one I’ve been using to help me out in rewrites of my current manuscript, so I knew he was good people, even if he did set an unwelcomely high bar for keynotes.

Hearing Viki Ash of the San Antonio Public Library — and chair of the 2012 Newbery Award Selection Committee — explain the process for choosing the medal winner. Understanding better how it all works makes me all the more hopeful that I can be in the room in Dallas this coming January when the latest crop of ALA winners is announced.

Debuting my new presentation, “Can You See Their I.D.’s?”

When we’re teenagers, we’re all trying on new identities, we’re all on an adventure, and we’re all at least a little bit off. Author Chris Barton brings those three elements together in his YA nonfiction thriller Can I See Your I.D.? True Stories of False Identities. In this presentation, he’ll discuss how books — from the comic to the tragic — with characters in the throes of identity crises can better equip teen readers to deal with their own.

As part of the presentation, I provided a couple of reading lists. Why, here they are now:

A Pretty Thorough List of Books for Young Readers Written in Second Person
Barton, Chris – Can I See Your I.D.? True Stories of False Identities
Benoit, Charles – You
Jenkins, A. M. – Damage
Lynch, Chris – Freewill
Montgomery, R. A. – Choose Your Own Adventure 1: The Abominable Snowman

A Highly Selective List of Books for Young Readers With Identity As a Major Theme
Barton, Chris – Can I See Your I.D.? True Stories of False Identities
Bjorkman, Laura – My Invented Life
Cannon, A. E. – The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love
Cottrell Boyce, Frank – Cosmic
Fletcher, Ralph – Also Known As Rowan Pohi
Larbalestier, Justine – Liar
Perkins, Mitali – First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover
Sonnenblick, Jordan – Zen and the Art of Faking It
Tashjian, Janet – The Gospel According to Larry
Ziegler, Jennifer – How Not to Be Popular

Which titles would you add to either list?

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