After a physically and intellectually and emotionally exhausting Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta—and a horrorshow day of travel on Tuesday—I am back home in Maine. Congratulations to all of the Youth Media Award winners and honorees, and a very special personal congratulations to the authors and books on the 2017 Amelia Bloomer list.
Due to being in Bloomer deliberations for one million hours during the conference, I was hardly on the exhibit floor at all… but I made the most of the short time I had! Here are a few of the most exciting books I picked up while I was there:
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance, by Nikki Grimes
Using the Golden Shovel technique—taking a line from an existing poem and writing a new poem in which each new line ends with a word from the original line—Grimes both lifts up and engages in conversation with the work of various poets from the Harlem Renaissance. I was so excited about this one that I read it on the way home! I loved it. It’s beautiful, and even just a shallow reading of it resulted in so many discoveries, both in terms of recurring imagery and themes. I’m very much looking forward to re-reading it more slowly AND diving into some of the larger bodies of work of the authors and artists that Grimes chose to highlight here. Starred review from Kirkus.
The Gauntlet, by Karuna Riazi
The publisher description calls this “steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair,” and I AM HERE FOR IT. It’s one of the first books from new imprint Salaam Reads, and a debut novel that I’ve been looking forward to for ages.
Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, by Damian Duffy and John Jennings
Do I even need to explain myself here? It’s Octavia Butler, it’s Kindred, in comic format. What is not to want?
Thick as Thieves, by Megan Whalen Turner
Another book that needs no explanation. IT’S THE NEW QUEEN’S THIEF BOOK! *runs around in circles, flailing* All I need to do is decide if I should read it right away, or wait until I’ve re-read the rest of the series.
Night Witches, by Kathryn Lasky
The Night Witches, if you are unlucky enough to be unfamiliar with them, were an all-female regiment of Russian aviatrixes who bombed the crap out of the Nazis during WWII. They flew biplanes, and were known for cutting their engines before they struck, allowing them to glide in on their targets in silence. (Woof. I thought I was done with the Midwinter Crying, but talking about them always makes me all weepy. *sniffle*)
Amina’s Voice, by Hena Khan
Another book from Salaam Reads! This one is about Amina, a Pakistani-American girl who is just starting middle school. Everything I’ve read about it suggests that it is just as warm and lovely as the cover art. Starred review from Kirkus, though I’d like to note that the line about “transcending” race, culture, and religion gave me grouch-face.
American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, by Lisa Wade
Adult nonfiction title about… well, the subtitle kind of says it all.
Three that I wanted, but missed:
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women, by Kate Moore
The Radium Girls are right up there with the Night Witches for me. They always make me cry, but for entirely different reasons.
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
Miles Morales! Jason Reynolds! Whyyyyyyyyy is this book not in my handssssssssssss???
And you? If you were there—or if you weren’t, but followed the shenanigans from afar—which titles are you most excited about?
In addition to running a library in rural Maine, Leila Roy blogs at Bookshelves of Doom and The Backlist, is currently serving on the Amelia Bloomer Project committee, is a contributor at Book Riot, hangs out on Twitter a lot—possibly too much—and watches a shocking amount of television. Her cat is a murderer.