One of my favorite things about this store (and I have a lot favorite things here) is that everyone who works here loves children's literature, granted, but also have many other interests and causes that they champion. For one example - the majority of us are vegetarian/vegan; a fact some shoppers may have noticed from our Thanksgiving posters declaring "Save A Turkey!" I think it's nothing short of amazing that as a team and as resources for customers we all have a variety of passions that we bring to our recommendations.
One thing I know customers frequently ask for, especially in the chapter book room, are books with strong female characters with a variety of interests - sporty girls, class president girls, princess girls who save the prince - or even forgo the prince entirely and become a dragon's princess-librarian (ah, Patricia C. Wrede, you blew my 10-year-old mind with Dealing with Dragons). Here's a sneak peek into our staff training of the chapter book room: we have a "quiz" sheet that includes these "good role model" kinds of questions, because not only do we anticipate them from our customers, but we think that those books are important to know in their own right.
Some may be reluctant to trot out that loaded word, "feminist," but I'd like to see the person who would argue that girlhood these days is an easy, breezy ride. For that matter, neither is boyhood, or any gender variation in adolescence and beyond.
Which brings me to my exciting news: the incredible, sassy, smart (sometimes smart alec) magazine Bitch, which examines pop culture and politics through a feminist lens, is kicking off a new blog. Guess what it will be about? You guessed it - books! The Page Turner says it aims to be a blog/forum about all genres of books, with features like author Q&A and the favorite books of famous artists/activists/scholars/etc, and most relevant to our discussion to here - young adult literature! I'm curious if the first post will address Twilight - although that has been discussed already in Bitch and other blogs like Crossover (covering books that appeal to adult and YA audiences). Or maybe she'll talk about Harlequin's new teen imprint?
Either way, you can help steer the conversation: she's taking suggestions for what readers want to hear about, so head over there and drop in a few thoughts! (Graceling? Dairy Queen? Sarah Dessen novels?).
No matter if or how you attach yourself to that potent F-word, I hope that this new blog becomes all that I dream it can be: a place to discover great books for girls and boys of all ages.