Big Blue Marble Bookstore Young Adult Newsletter
December 4, 2016
   December front window

So. We have entered a new political landscape. 

Along with the transition appointments and policy promises, bullying is on the rise. Hate crimes are on the rise. And there's something disturbing about the change from existing acts of bullying to the same acts of bullying by kids (and adults) who say, "I'm allowed to do this now, because my candidate won the election."

Our job is to fight back. Tell the truth, describe our differences, make coalitions, challenge the attacks. And do it without name-calling. Because name-calling gets in the way of seeing people as people, and that is something from the Trump campaign that we don't want to emulate.

Now, actual naming is important. Right-wing conservatives have been very effective over time at framing topics so that people react to the names more than the issues.  For example, there were people who were fine with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act but derided it when it was called "Obamacare". We need to recognize that shift and refuse to take on their reframing, even when it's easier.

So we can name ourselves, we can name the cruel (or positive) actions of others. But we don't call people names that have no purpose other than to diminish them.

One of the books I'm recommending below is The Misfits, which spawned the annual No Name-Calling Week, with events in schools across the country. Ironically, the next NNCW takes place January 16-20, the week leading up to inauguration. If you're a student, or a teacher, or in any way affiliated with a school, please consider encouraging your school to take part! No Name Calling Week "Bullies can make life miserable. And I'm not just talking about kids, because bullies don't stop being bullies once they've grown up, they just get more sophisticated. The very act of reading this book is brave and transgressive in part because most systems we've developed as a culture to classify ourselves--systems like sex, gender, race, class, and age--are not typically questioned all that much. Those in political power these days actively discourage questions that challenge their bully culture. But they don't hesitate to ask some pretty scary questions of their own about who we are as citizens of the world at the start of the twenty-first century." -Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, published in 2006 (see below).

See below
for an author event today, plus a Harry Potter/Hunger Games event next week, and for info about our weekly political resistance gatherings, On Fridays, We Fight Back!
Remember, you don't have to be voting age to come make calls or write to your government officials! See also fiction and nonfiction about standing up for what's right, plus a giveaway.

As I'm no longer adding to the past-selections list on the book club page of our website, I'm keeping links to the most recent newsletters on the blog!

New on the blog:

Identity-based book recommendations on our  blog, updated frequently: 

Take care, and keep reading! 
Books from Years Past...

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

The Wild Girls by Pat Murphy
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld
Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock 

Highlighting: New! Two vastly different memoirs of social change.

Girl Code cover Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser (coming in March)
This is a great intro to the world of coding, with the separate and overlapping stories of two girls who learn to code in an environment designed to encourage a better gender balance in the tech world, and who work together to build video games that raise awareness of women's body taboos and sexual harassment. 
Interview with author Andrea Gonzales. (Oddly, the interview disappeared within the past week or two, and so this link is the web-cached version. I don't know how long it will work; FYI.) 

March all three covers
March by John LewisAndrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
The third book in U.S. Representative John Lewis' graphic memoir March has just won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. This trilogy uses the power of graphics to capture a difficult era, and a remarkable life, and to create a road map for direct action against racism that is, so frighteningly, urgent to us today.

You'll find all three books in our African American section on the first floor. Email us to order a copy. (Please specify which volume[s].)
Store News!

1) This Sunday, December 4, 2:00pm.
Mary Ann Domanska, author of middle grade novel Emic Rizzle, Tinkerer.

In Mary Anne Domanska's debut adventure for middle-grade readers, a gadget-loving girl discovers that her grandfather was a spy in World War II-and that he knew about a secret invention. See our Events Page for more details.

2) Saturday, December 10, 6:00pm. The Hunger Games Screening & Fan Activism Discussion.
Join SPEW (Society for Philadelphians Encouraging Wizardry) for a screening of The Hunger Games, followed by a discussion about engaging youth in social justice causes, and how themes of economic inequality in The Hunger Games are relevant to our country today. See our Events Page for more details.

3) Playing Pokémon GO? Come battle for control of the Big Blue Marble Gym! Stop in on weekdays, tell us you're playing, and pick up a free soda!

4) Do you play D&D? On Thursdays at 5, we're hosting a weekly Dungeons & Dragons group meeting at the store, for kids ages 9-16. Come check it out!  (Dice and books available.)
Post-Election Resources!

If you're looking to respond to the post-election changes and you want to do it in company, come join us on Friday afternoons for On Fridays, We Fight Back!  Every Friday from 2-6pm, we're gathering to make phone calls, write letters, or take other actions of resistance.  We'll have scripts, phone numbers, a plan, and a comfortable space to gather!

If your group wants a space to meet and plan, or wants to provide training, organizing, or skill-sharing, please contact us! We have the third floor community room, which is open all day, and the performance space on the second floor available after hours.

Check out the Hunger Games Screening & Fan Activism Discussion, 12/10 (above)!

Here's a blog post of practical resources we've compiled, with events (such as our Friday gatherings), issues (such as White House transition appointments and how to help the water protectors at Standing Rock), phone numbers (plus guidance for calling if phone calls are not comfortable for you), and links to more information.
Win an ARC!

Dear Reader
by Mary O'Connell
Coming in May, 2017!

Dear Reader ARC
For seventeen-year-old Flannery Fields, the only respite from the plaid-skirted mean girls at Sacred Heart High School at is her beloved teacher Miss Sweeney's AP English class. But when Miss Sweeney doesn't show up to teach Wuthering Heights, leaving behind her purse, Flannery knows something is wrong. The police are called, and Flannery gives them everything except Miss Sweeney's copy of  Wuthering Heights . This she holds onto. And when she opens it, it has somehow transformed into Miss Sweeney's real-time diary. It seems Miss Sweeney is in New York City...and she's in trouble.  
Can Flannery find her teacher? Can a British kid named Heath, on a gap year in NY help her on her quest?
Highlighting: Nonfiction on standing up to bullying, surviving, and working for better lives. 

Bullied Kids cover Bullied Kids Speak Out: We Survived -- How You Can Too, by Jodee Blanco. With essays by lots of kids and teens who've lived through bullying in school (or, in the case of one Muslim girl, from her entire town) and the ways they've managed themselves and/or the situations.

It Gets Better cover It Gets Bette r: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, edited by Dan Sav age and Terry Miller
"The book includes essays and new material from more than 100 contributors including celebrities, religious leaders, politicians, parents, educators, youth just out of high school, and many more." -from the It Gets Better online video project.
Hello, Cruel World cover Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws
by Kate Bornstein 
"This is not a book of reasons not to kill yourself. No matter how many I could come up with, you'll come up with more reasons to go through with it. This is a book about things to do instead."
Highlighting: Fiction about standing up to name-calling and to other acts of bullying.

The Misfits cover
The Misfits by James Howe 
How many names have you been called? How about your friends? What would happen if you wrote them all down? Here's the book that spawned No Name-Calling Week. Also includes school elections, party systems, and refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. 

I Shall Wear Midnight cover with hare I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (book 4 in the Tiffany Aching series) 
It starts with whispers.
Then someone picks up a stone.
Finally, the fires begin.
When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . . .
Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren't sparkly, aren't fun, don't involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy.
But someone-or something-is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root-before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her. -HarperCollins

Green Glass Sea cover The Green Glass Sea
by Ellen Klages 
Is it worse to be the kid everyone makes fun of to her face, or to be the kid one rung higher, who is desperate not to be associated with her? What if the two of you suddenly have to live together? What if you're supposed to get along because your parents are all working on a secret "gadget" that will help your country win the war? Set in the strange little enclave of Los Alamos, amid the mountains of New Mexico, in the middle of the Second World War, The Green Glass Sea gives a kids'-eye-view of the Manhattan Project, including cameos of several famous scientists. Klages presents a well-researched and authentically voiced story that is at once heartwarming and chilling. 
Symptoms of Being Human cover Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
Supposing you were the child of a noted politician, starting a new school, suffering from anxiety attacks ... and genderfluid. Especially when you're not out, and you need to avoid gender dysphoria differently on different days, and the kids at the new, promising school are not new and accepting but (mostly) new and awful. Riley has been advised to start an anonymous blog to help process all this ... but then the blog goes viral, and it starts to become clear that someone at school, not one of the nice ones, may have found out who the author is.

Big Blue Young Adult Book Discussion

For adults who read YA and teens who like to talk about books  


We had our final meeting on May 19. Newsletters will continue, with recommendations and reviews, and relevant events.  Feel free to send a review or comment!


This is the continuing newsletter of the Big Blue Young Adult Book Discussion, led by Jen Sheffield.  The young adult genre refers to the books under discussion; readers of all ages are welcome.  The books do not have to be big or blue, though that's always nice.


For a list of past selections, check out the Book Clubs page on the Big Blue Marble website. For links to the continuing newsletters and these new recommendations, see the bookstore blog.