Book Bans Affect Everybody — Here’s How You Can Help

I have been a librarian for more than a decade, and a school librarian for nearly half of that. I didn’t get into this field to wage a war against a political system that has declared me the enemy. All I wanted to do was to make fun displays, teach teenagers research skills, and provide them a vast array of books to act as what the inimitable Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop called “windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors.” Yet here we are in the middle of a fight that will have devastating long term effects regardless of who comes out on top.

I’m exhausted, afraid, and frustrated. But mostly I’m angry.

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Hugo Spotlight: “Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi


After I finished reading Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone for the first time, I had to stop and release the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding. The first book in the Legacy of Orïsha series is an ambitious, audacious young adult fantasy novel. With it’s intense action sequences, lush descriptions, compelling characters, and creative take on Nigerian culture and Yorùbán beliefs, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. Apparently others feel the same since it’s now nominated for a Lodestar Award…

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Hugo Spotlight: “Dread Nation” by Justina Ireland


2018 was a damn good year for young adult fantasy. Granted, it was also a really bad year for letting Black women authors tell their own stories. Of all the YA fantasy published last year, only four—FOUR!—were by Black women. Lucky for you, three of them, The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and Dread Nation by Justina Ireland, are nominated for the Hugo Award’s Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book. The fourth, A Blade So Black, is frakking great and you should go read it right after you finish reading this. Until then, let me squee at you about how much I loved Dread Nation.

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Hugo Spotlight: “The Belles” by Dhonielle Clayton


I literally cheered out loud when I heard that Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles was nominated for a Lodestar Award. What can I say about it to explain my excitement? I could tell you that it’s masterfully written, that the dialogue is pitch perfect and the descriptions evocative. Or I could hype up the fascinating characters and the subtle ways Clayton uses them to explore and shatter tropes. Maybe I’ll talk about how Clayton breaks down how Western beauty standards can be used as both a tool and a weapon, depending on who is dictating the standards and whether or not another person can meet them. Eh, I’ll keep it simple and just say “it’s absolutely amazing.”…

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