Big Blue Marble Bookstore Young Adult Newsletter
September 2, 2016
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Hi! This month I pull together more current events and politics. To begin with, this September -- though former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani may not remember -- is the the fifteenth anniversary of the World Trade Center (and Pennsylvania/Pentagon) attacks of September 11, 2001. This day of terror was followed by a rash of misguided anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, xenophobic sentiment and behavior, which are eerily reminiscent of the sentiments and behaviors that have been on the rise this electoral season, following the build-a-wall, deport-immigrants, register-Muslims rhetoric from the apparently not-so-far right.
So.  Quite a few books to recommend, dealing with all of these issues.
Meanwhile, Banned Books Week begins on September 25, coinciding with our big launch party for The Mighty Odds, a brand new middle grade series from local Popularity Papers author Amy Ignatow!  The Mt. Airy Village Fair returns on September 11 (come to our table!), and there are two more Harry Potter events coming this month, the first one tomorrow night!  See more details below!  

I have now created an archive for these newsletters! As I'm no longer adding to the past-selections list on the book club page of our website, I've listed the most recent newsletters with the new recommendations in a post on our blog! Check it out.

See you soon, 
Books from Years Past...

The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip
Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger
Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan 

13 Little Blue Envelopes
 by Maureen Johnson 
The Knife of Never Letting Go  by Patrick Ness
The Secret Year  by Jennifer Hubbard 
Incarceron  by Catherine Fisher 
The Misfits  by James Howe 
Ash  by Malinda Lo 
Going Bovine  by Libba Bray

Highlighting: The World Trade Center attacks of 2001
Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger and Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Shine, Coconut Moon cover
Shine, Coconut Moon takes place in the immediate aftermath of the nation's reactions to the attacks of September 11, 2001.  It's striking because it combines anti-Muslim rhetoric with backlash against anyone who might be mistaken for Muslim -- the main character is from a Sikh family, not Muslim at all, but that makes no difference in the way she's treated once people associate her with her turbaned uncle.
Towers Falling cover
I am pairing this with a brand new middle grade book that just came out this summer from Jewell Parker Rhodes, about a 10-year-old in a new school in Brooklyn (one that happens to look out on the World Trade Center site across the water), who knows exactly nothing about the attacks that happened 15 years ago. Her family lives in a shelter, her father cannot work and is always angry or withdrawn, and she's mainly responsible for her two younger siblings. And now she has the opportunity to learn about historic events that affected her city and her country...and possibly her own family as well.
Highlighting: Arabic/Muslim kids
Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye and I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Habibi cover
Since the first set of books include anti-Muslim rhetoric but not Muslim or Arabic protagonists, I also offer Habibi, the story of a Palestinian-American teenager whose family abruptly moves to Jerusalem, and I Am Malala (either the general memoir or the version in our young adult section), the story of the young Pakistani teen who survived being shot for persisting in her belief that girls deserved education, even under the rule of the Taliban.
Malala young readers Malala memoir
Highlighting: Immigration
Surviving Santiago  by Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña, Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate, and Outcasts United by Warren St. John

Surviving Santiago cover
And here's a set on immigration. Of the five books collected here (including Habibi, above), three are about kids living in the U.S. who migrate from the U.S. to their families' home countries (two just for the summer). Of course, the experiences of trying to fit in and dealing with culture shock and stereotypes are pretty universal.  
Habibi takes place in Israel/Palestine, Surviving Santiago takes place in Chile, and Mexican Whiteboy takes place in Mexico.  All of these kids feel the pull of both places and struggle to find their own places within them.

Home of the Brave cover The remaining two books are about refugees settling in the United States. Home of the Brave is a verse novel from the point of view of a Sudanese kid fleeing attacks that killed most of his family, trying to put down new roots in this new and snowy country.  Outcasts United, a true story (again with adult and young reader versions), centers on a soccer team formed of refugee kids from all different countries, whose families were settled in one small Southern town, and the difficulties they face in acceptance from each other and from their town.
Outcasts United cover Outcasts United cover  
Don't hang up your Sorting Hat! More Harry Potter events coming!
Saturday, September 3, 7:00pm.
Time to Talk! Discussion of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Did you love it? Hate it? Does it feel like the eighth book to you? What questions did it answer for you? Did you want to change some of it yourself? Come for discussion led by Lorrie Kim, Potter fan extraordinaire and author of  Snape: A Definitive Reading .

Saturday, September 24, 3:00pm.
GEEK OUT! Hamilton Goes to Hogwarts.
What if the historical figures in the Broadway musical  Hamilton: The Revolution were witches and wizards? Where would the Sorting Hat have put them? We know Lin-Manuel Miranda drew some inspirations for his characterizations from the Harry Potter series; let's see how it affects our understanding of these personalities! Washington: Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, or something else? Jefferson's tactical brilliance: Slytherin or Ravenclaw? And what about Alexander Hamilton himself? Come prepared for a lively battle of wits. Extra points if you can argue in rhyme! Discussion led by Lorrie Kim, author of  Snape: A Definitive Reading.

Lorrie Kim lives in Philadelphia, PA with her clever, grumpy, magical spouse and their Harry Potter-reading offspring, one born between Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince and one in gestation during the publication of  Deathly Hallows.
Check out our  interview with Lorrie  on the bookstore blog, and the entirely different interview she had in the Philadelphia Inquirer following her book release!

Finally, come to the store anytime to take photos in our Harry Potter photo booth (aka the front doorway).  Props available during store hours. 
Wiit-Sharpening Potion, by ShockingBlankets
Store News!

1) The Mt. Airy Village Fair is coming up on September 11! We'll have sale books, activities, and octopods (created by Snape author Lorrie Kim, above)!  
Octopods by Lorrie Kim  
2) 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!
3) 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.)
4) While the Walnut Lane Bridge is closed this summer, balance the traffic, the stress, & the mess with our new  Big Blue Marble Happy Hours
- Every Monday and Tuesday from 4:30 on: Cookies and Milk Happy Hours, featuring Sheila's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Every Thursday from 4:30 on: Thirsty Thursdays - Join us, and all of Mt. Airy Village, for free San Pelligrino sodas and soft pretzels in front of the store while the food trucks are on the block and the neighborhood is a-hopping!
5) If you live in zip codes 19127 or 19128 (that is, Across the Bridge), we are offering free home delivery!
Order by phone (215.844.1870) or by email (, tell us you're in the Free Delivery Zone, give your address, and poof your books will arrive.  (small print - we'll do one delivery run a week, on Thursday or Friday) 
6) We will be offering signed copies of this year's fabulous Kids' Literary Festival poster for sale! For details, email  
More Books Coming Out This Fall!
Here are two lists of "most anticipated" YA books coming soon:

From Publishers Weekly: The Most Anticipated Children's and YA Books of Fall 2016.
Please take note of Laurie Halse Anderson's new middle grade book, Ashes, third in the Chains series and definitely much anticipated! I'm also excited about The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (author of Everything, Everything), which focuses on star-crossed romance and also the threat of deportation.
From Epic Reads: The 20 Most Anticipated YA Books to Read in September
Note: check out the books at the end of the list as well, particularly Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard, a fascinating take on gender identity and gender stereotypes, and what happens when you stop meeting people's expectations.

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!


Please join us on the fourth Thursday of the month (with some exceptions) for 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.