Girl, You Got a Ghost Podcast

Will you be able to scare the librarians?

Episode 4: A Halloween Dance Girl You Got a Ghost

We're bringing the ghost stories out of the library and into the podcast world! And offering you a challenge, can you share a story that is more frightening than our own? Real or made up stories are welcome. Will you be able to scare the librarian? Will you be able to tell if the stories are real? Will you say, "Girl, you got a ghost!"?  Today's story is Rachel's and it's about a creepy Halloween evening.  Send your scary stories to girlyougotaghost@gmail.com
  1. Episode 4: A Halloween Dance
  2. Episode 3: Tracy and the Estate Sale
  3. Episode 1: Walking in the Tumblewoods
  4. Episode 2: The First Ghost I Ever Saw

I love ghost stories, and one of my favorite things to do is ask people if they have any to share. Pre-Covid, at my library, (Frankfort Community Public Library) we hosted an, ongoing, spur-of-the-moment storytelling contest. The competition worked like this: Visitors told me their stories and tried to scare me. Then, I told my own creepy tale. The scariest story wins, and then we all get candy.

Whenever the haunting tales started spinning, our Department had a nice “around the campfire”, conversational feel. People using computers to play RoBlox or those playing Fortnite would stop to listen. A lot of the storytellers spent a good deal of time making up a super creepy story, just to scare me. It has been awhile since our last contest and I miss them. Now, we are bringing the stories out of the library and into the podcast world.

Introducing the, “Girl, you got a ghost” podcast

The theme of our podcast is scary stories. We are inviting you to share about the ghost in your house, the howling dog that might just have been a werewolf, the phone call coming from inside the house, or the vampire that lives on your street. The podcast is produced by the Frankfort Community Public Library Teen Department, with the help of my friend (and co-worker), Sydney. Our audience and co-creators are you! We are challenging you to a storytelling telling contest, so send your creepy stories to girlyougotaghost@gmail.com.

Audiobooks

Introduction

Prior to the prolificacy of the printed word, information was shared via storytelling. Talented orators enchanted audiences telling their tales. In fact, many of the literary greats were inspired by the sound of stories. Mark Twain, for instance, fashioned Jim of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn after a elderly man enslaved by Twain’s uncle who shared stories each evening to all the children (Powers). Black and white.

Today, the art of storytelling is making a comeback in the form of audiobooks. Lamb (2021) notes that according to the. “2018 StatShort Annual Report, ..audiobooks are the ‘fastest growing book format’ (p. 2.18). Audiobooks, especially e-Audio which can be downloaded to mobile devices for listening to anywhere, are revolutionizing the world of reading. Audiobooks are quickly becoming one of the most sought after formats with digital downloads holding a huge importance. Maloney notes, “Revenue from dowloaded audiobooks in the U.S. grew 38% last year from 2014…Meanwhile, revenue from hardcovers and paperbacks grew by 8% and 3%, respectively, and e-books declined 11%” (2016). Further, the relative ease in creating a digital audiobook as opposed to a physical audiobook is encouraging publishers to contract the format for new and older titles. (Maughn)

Moreover, audiobook consumption offers many of the important benefits of traditional reading. Janson (2019) notes, “most of the literacy skills and strategies that are utilized by the audiobook readers are exactly the same comprehension skills and strategies that we teach our students” (p. 358). Audiobooks are an ideal option for a myriad of personalities from reluctant readers, language learners, and harried commuters.

Focus Item

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo is an excellent example of a high-quality audiobook experience. The book’s best feature is that it is narrated by the author, a talented spoken word poet. The title won the 2020 Audie Award for best Narration by the Author and was a finalist in the 2020 Best Young Adult Audiobook category. Notably, Acevedo is the 2019 Printz Award winner with her inverse novel, The Poet X.

Listening to With the Fire on High allows the reader to hear the nuances, stresses, and breaks that the author intended. Additionally, the main protagonist comes alive as the story is told in first-person and the listener is allowed to witness her passions, frustrations, and disappointments by the the varying tones in which the story is told.

Synopsis

This novel tells the story of Emoni, a 17 year old mom. Emoni works hard to take care of her child and complete high school. Meanwhile, the only place she can truly be herself is in the kitchen creating different dishes with flavors representing her heritage. When Emoni finds out that her alternative high school is offering a culinary course it seems like an opportunity that she cannot pass up. But, the class culminates in a trip to Spain. How can she, a single mom living with her grandmother, afford such an extravagance? And even if she can find a way to pay for the trip, can she in good conscience leave her daughter to travel the world?

With the Fire on High is available for download on Overdrive for free with your library card from FCPL.

Comparison

An American Marriage was an Oprah’s Book Club selection. Librarians may expect any book that Oprah chooses to be in huge demand. They are typically bestsellers and readers will be excited to get their hands on the title. Childress (2010) notes Wyatt in stating, “a book’s selection for Oprah’s Book Club typically resulted in sales of more than a million copies, a boon to authors and publishers where selling 20,000 copies of a literary novel is considered a success” (p. 17). Further, even a well-established author like Toni Morrison benefited as an Oprah Book Club selection. Childress notes that, “The number of mentions of Toni Morrison in U.S. newspapers more than doubled in the year following the selection of Song of Solomon as an Oprah Book Club novel” (p. 34). Certainly, libraries will want to ensure physical and e-copies of the book and audiobooks are available for checkout.

Marriage is the story of Celestial and Roy, newlyweds who are torn apart by the flawed American justice system. Roy is accused of rape, convicted, and sent to prison regardless of the fact that he was innocent and that Celestial was with him at the time of the crime. The novel follows Roy’s five years in prison, the time before the conviction is overturned, and Celestial making a life separate from him during that time. This audiobook features two actors as Celestial and Roy, juxtaposed throughout.

As with the audiobook for With the Fire on High, listeners are drawn into the story as the text is told with extrodinary expression. However, rather than the author, this story is told by two actors Sean Crisden and Elsa Davis. Sean Crisden is the narrator of more than 400 audiobooks. He has also performed for video games, animation, commercials, television, and theatre. Crisden is the winner of several awards including the 2019 Audiofile Earphones Award for “American Fairytale” and “American Dreamer”. (Crisden) Meanwhile, Davis is an exceptional writer in her own right, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play “Bulrusher”. She has a lengthy filmography listed on imdb and is an awarded stage actress. (Davis) These two talented individuals tug at the emotional strings of listeners/readers telling the story beautifully.

It interesting to consider the “filters” listener/readers experience when consuming these two audiobooks. Since With the Fire on High is told by the author, it can be assumed that the reader first hears the story via the author’s interpretation, with her tones and nuances expressing different ideas. Still, upon listening the reader will add their own background to create a whole new interpretation. With An American Marriage the listener first receives an interpretation from the actors.

Five Favorites

  • Underprivileged Overachiever : A Crenshaw Story
  • By Y.A. Salimu
  • Narrated by Y.A. Salimu
  • Published: August 31, 2020
  • This audiobook is narrated by the author and reads like spoken word poetry. Listeners are treated to authentic emotions of a young man growing up homeless, raised by a mother with untreated mental health issues, and succeeds under seemingly unsurmountable odds.

Sample

Click here for sample.

  • Echo
  • By Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Narrated by David de Vries, MacLeod Andrews, Rebecca Soler, & Corky Siegel
  • Published April 28, 2015
  • Winner of the 2016 Audie Award for Middle Grade, this novel features several narrators and transitions with the music of a magic harmonica that travels through history changing lives.

Sample

Sample begins at 1:20

  • You Should See Me in a Crown
  • By Leah Johnson
  • Narrated by Alaska Jackson
  • Published by June 2, 2020
  • This novel is told by a matter-of-fact sounding narrator that perfectly articulates Liz Lightly’s happiness, worries, sadness, and fears as she attempts to win Prom Queen which features a huge scholarship.

Sample

  • Truly Devious
  • By Maureen Johnson
  • Narrated by Kate Rudd
  • Published Jan. 16, 2018
  • This intriguing mystery comes to life narrated by Rudd. She eloquently shares the historic mystery of Albert Ellingham, while also sounding believable as Stevie Bell, a teenager detective.

Sample

  • Monday’s Not Coming
  • By Tiffany D. Jackson
  • Narrated by Imani Parks
  • Published May 22, 2018
  • This is a book best listened to. Parks perfectly builds drama and gathers the clues for listeners. Claudia returns home ready to start the new school year only to find her best friend Monday not there. When Monday continues to not appear Claudia searches, questioning why no one else seems concerned by Monday’s disappearance.

Sample

References

Acevedo, E. (2019). With the fire on high. Philadelphia, PA: Quill Tree Books.

Childress, M.J. (2010). The ‘Oprah effect’: A content analysis of media coverage of Toni Morrison and how the coverage changed post-Oprah. East Tennessee University. Electronic theses and dissertations. paper 1696. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/1696

Crisden, S. The voice of Reason. http://www.seancrisden.com.

Davis, E. About. https://www.eisadavis.com/about/

Jackson, T.D. (2018). Monday’s not coming. Katherine Tegen Books.

Janson, A. (2019). Increasing leisure reading among university students using e-readers with audio. College and research libraries

Johnson, M. (2018). Truly Devious. Harper Collins.

Johnson, L. (2020). You should see me in a crown. Scholastic Press.

Jones, T. ( 2018). An American marriage. Aqonquin books.

Lamb, A. (2021). “Lesson 2: Resources Type: Audio”.

Maloney, J. (2016). “The stars align for audiobooks”. Dow Jones and Company.

Maughn, S. (2016). “Publishers move to cash in on digital audiobook book”. Publishers weekly.

Powers, R. (2006). Mark Twain. Free Press.

Ryan, P.M. (2015). Echo. Scholastic Press.

Salimu, Y.A. (2020). Underprivileged Overachiever. Telemachus Press.

The Obsession

  • by Jesse Q Sutanto
  • Publisher: Sourcefire
  • Publication Date: February 2, 2021
  • Reading Age: 14- up
  • Grade Level: 8 – up
  • Genre: Mystery, YA Fiction, Suspense

Learn about Coercive Control

My Thoughts

Be prepared for confusion. 

If you are going into this read for scares and stalking, you may be disappointed. If you are going into expecting a really ironic take on the overused trope of the obsessed lover, you are going to really appreciate this book.

There are way too many books that glamorize the  completely infatuated guy who is just absolutely possessed with some girl. Women read these titles thinking it would be a dream relationship. It would be impossible to count  the books where some girl is forced to date or marry some guy against her will. But he's good and kind and will "wait" until she is ready.

He loves her. He must protect. No one can love her like he can. He needs her. She needs him. And people read these books like that is romance. Like that is healthy. It is not. The actual term for this type of relationship is "coercive control". It is a insidious form of abuse. 

This book turns the idea of the abused, vulnerable girl on its head. Definitely worth a read. 

This is something I really like about Sourcefire Books. They keep putting out works that will leave you thinking and often a bit shocked. Keep it coming. 

I was given an early release copy of this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

More Resources

Recommended Reads

Click for links to Goodreads Book Pages

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

  • by Malinda Lo
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House
  • Publication Date: January 19, 2021
  • Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Romance/Coming-of-Age
  • Reading age: 14- up
  • Grade level: 9- up

Listen to a Sample

My Thoughts

This is a really well-researched novel from a rare POV, first generation Chinese American and immigrant families living in Chinatown during the ’50’s.  The narration does an amazing job of illustrating the male gaze, and especially how it effects Asians without being preachy at all. The novel shares two different timelines with different coming-of-age experiences that really play well off each other. 

Again, very well-researched. I think this book could withstand several readings to glean more.

I was given an early release copy of this book from the publisher on #Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  This book has an estimated publication date of Jan. 19, 2021. 

From the Author

More Resources

Books in the Chat

Coming to my library, and you, in 2021!

  • All American Boys
  • by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
  • Published by Simon and Shuster
  • Published August 29, 2017
  • Ages 12 & up
  • Lexile Level 770L
  • Awards: CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children’s Book Council), Lincoln Award: Illinois Teen Readers’ Choice Master List, South Carolina Picture Book Award Nominee, Keystone to Reading Book Award Reading List (PA), CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book, ALA Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee, Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Master List, ALA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, Nutmeg Book Award Finalist, Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award Nominee, among many more.

With the New Year upon us the Teen Department staff is working on creating new and innovative programming and  services for all of our county students. Youth in Clinton County may look forward to a brand new program designed to accommodate their busy schedule. Books in the Chat will be hosted on Discord, and members are encouraged to live chat as they read. Books in the Chat is also available on several other social media sites including: Facebook (FCPL Teens), Instagram (@myfcpl or @theYALibrarian), Twitter (@projectlitFCPL), and TikTok (@FCPLTeens). Additionally, a live chat about the book will be held on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 6:30 p.m. on Instagram (@theYALibrarian)

Our first Books in the Chat event will be hosted for the Michigan Road Library, but readers everywhere are invited to participate and all interaction will take place virtually, online. The program features award-winning and New York Times bestseller, All American Boysby Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. All American Boys is the story of Rashad and Quinn, the only two witnesses of a violent act that will change lives forever. The narrative transfers from one boy’s voice to the other. The book is a quick read, recommended for grades 7 and up, and ages 12 and up. It is a Lexile level of 770. The books may be picked up at the Michigan Road Public Library. Alternatively, the novel is available for download as an e-book or e-audiobook from FCPL.  This program is made possible through a grant from the Indiana Humanities with funds from the Lily Endowment, Inc. 

Jason Reynolds is one of the top authors in young adult writing. According to his website, Reynolds’s goal is to “Not write boring books”. Currently Jason Reynolds is serving as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. This representative is chosen by the Library of Congress, Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader. Reynolds began as a reluctant reader who grew up to become an award-winning author. Readers appreciate that he is able to capture the voice and issues faced by today’s youth so naturally. We are excited to feature a Reynolds’s title for our first Books in the Chat. To join Books in the Chat on Discord message Rachel at rmilburn@myfcpl.org for an invite or find us on Discord. 

MORE ON JASON REYNOLDS

WRITE. RIGHT. RITE. 

Good Girl, Bad Blood

By Holly Jackson

A sequel to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

  • Good Girl, Bad Blood
  • Author: Holly Jackson
  • Publisher: Random House Children’s
  • Date: March 2, 2021

The new generation’s Nancy Drew. And this girl’s got teeth!

This sequel to a Good Girl’s Guide to Murder will leave readers anxiously waiting for Part Three. Keep them coming as far as I am concerned. Jackson develops a gripping mystery, with true character development. There are moments in this one that force readers to think about justice, the justice system, and the patriarchal culture we have all been trapped within. Just for a little added measure Jackson adds some ethical questions to ponder.

Readers will love all the True Crime world references that peppers these books perfectly. Anyone who has podcasts waiting to stream needs to read this book. Five stars all the way.

I was given an early release copy of this title on NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Read-alikes

So how cool is Holly Jackson? Really cool.

(Release date in the States is March 2, 2021). Check out the

Curious about the town Pip is from?

Gardening is Awesome

Note: I was given an early release copy of this book on NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Any images or quotes are from an unedited copy.

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to gardening. Included are important aspects that will help children trying to garden for the first time, or parents trying to work with young children to teach them about gardens. In addition, educational charts, definitions, and information about things from companion gardening to soil types are included. This is a full-fledged gardening how-to. Students can learn about growing food (vegetables and fruit) or flowers. Every page is filled with attractive, full-color images that only increase interest in the reading.

I would recommend this to book to families or librarians. Surely the pandemic inspired many to garden, I know did for our family. This book will help families grow fresh healthy foods well. Further, if a librarian is looking to start a gardening programs this would be a perfect book to combine with your program. We started a garden this year and did companion gardening. I wish we had this book for advice at the time.

The author of Gardening is Awesome is an actual farmer. According to the website, she owns and operates a dairy farm with her family in Wisconsin. She is the recipient of several awards from National Dairy Farmer of the Year to Wisconsin Library Association Outstanding Children’s Book 1996. She is the author of many books regarding farming and growing things.

One of my favorite memories is planting flowers or plants with my children. This book is a memory maker, highly recommend.

When we tried gardening

Read-a-likes

Hack Your Kitchen

Note: I was given an early release copy of this book on NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Any images or quotes are from an unedited copy.

Description: (from the publisher): ‘Young scientists will learn all about many different scientific principles and properties using everyday tools and ingredients from their own kitchens! Make a lemon volcano, flour craters, edible paper, and more with these hands-on science projects”.

This “cookbook” is filled with vibrant, colorful photographs and really cool looking recipes. The publisher notes the interest level as being grades 2-5, but I really think older students would enjoy these projects as well. It would be a perfect addition to a family library and should provide many fun and educational family days. It also works for libraries and definitely for library programers. The book states, “Scientists can work from home” (p. 4) and I love that this encourages children to try science and view themselves as capable. Everything you need to prepare is included, as the book explains, what you need to become a kitchen scientist. Some of my favorite “recipes” include: Lemon Volcano, Make a Slushy, and Rock Candy. These are just such interesting ideas to try at home, but also perfect for library programming. Check out the images from the book below.

According to her website, Niki Ahrens has worked in public education and holds a Masters of Education degree in Policy and Leadership Studies from the University of Washington. As well as, a Bachelor of Science in Teaching degree. She now is a certified Naturalist and author. Check out her engaging website for more information.

Features

Glossary, activities, further reading, index, Page Plus, recipes, step-by-step instructions, and table of contents.

More ideas from Science Buddies

Read-a-likes

The History of YA Literature (Part Four)

Young Adult Readers of Today

Tracing the history of young adult literature is not a simple task. Throughout centuries, the roles of youth have changed drastically. Young adult fiction today is written, mainly, for teenagers who are dealing with current adolescent issues. An article from Pew Research shows that depression and anxiety tops the list of concerns for teens. In fact the article reports, “70% of teens saying that (anxiety and depression) is a major problem among the people their age in the community where they live” (Horowitz and Graff, 2019). Young adults today deal with the stress of constant social media, pressures of academic achievement, along with the development of their own identities. Not too mention, these students spend their elementary and high school careers practicing, not only disaster drills, but also lockdowns in preparation of a school shooter. This is a reality they live with every day, a fear they must face each time they enter the classroom. Young people are concerned with the state of our country, the inequalities that still exist, and are interested in improving the world. Here is a little bit more about what is going on with teenagers today.

Teens Dealing with Anxiety/Depression

Teens Organize Peaceful BLM Protest

Teens and March for Our Lives

YA Literature Now and The Future

Book publishers and authors hoping to respond to current young adult culture should look to publish diverse books that feature characters which identify with a variety of communities. Like much literature, historically, representation in YA literature has mostly been white and homogeneous. However, book creators are taking notice and the publishing statistics of 2020 will likely provide interesting numbers, especially after the recent Black Lives Matter protests, and the #metoo and LGBTQ+ advocacy movements. While providing young adult e-books is important, access e-audio is especially important. According to Pew Research, “There has been an uptick in the share of Americans who report listening to audiobooks, from 14% to 20%” (Perrin, 2019). Audiobooks are a great alternative for reluctant and struggling readers. Further, it often allows the opportunity to experience a story from the character’s unique “voice”.

YA Reading Recommendations

References

Biedenharn, I. (2017). S.E. Hinton on The Outsiders’ success: ‘It gave me writer’s block for four years’. Entertainment Weekly. https://ew.com/books/2017/04/24/the-outsiders-anniversary-s-e-hinton/

Biography. http://www.sehinton.com/bio.html.

Bunyan, J. (1817). The pilgrims progress from this world to that which is to come: Delivered under the similitude of a dream. Philadelphia, PA: Jonathon Pounder. https://archive.org/details/pilgrimsprogress00inbuny.

Cart, M. (2009). Naming names. Booklist. https://web-b-ebscohost-com.proxy.ulib.uits.iu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=15958628-bf2d-42e3-9b1a-42cd9a2941a0%40pdc-v-sessmgr06.

Coudert, A. (2005). Educating Girls in early modern Europe and America. De Grutyer. https://www.degruyter.com/view/book/9783110895445/10.1515/9783110895445.389.xml

Hazlitt, W.C. (ed.). (1899). Tales and legends of national origin or widely current from early times. London: Swan Sonnenschien. https://archive.org/details/talesandlegends00hazlgoog/page/n3/mode/2up.

Heilbrunn, J. (2018). How to replace anxiety with purpose. TEDxEncinitas. YouTube.

Horowitz, J.M. & Graff, N. (2019). Most U.S. teens anxiety and depression as a major problem among their peers: For boys and girls day-to-day experiences and future aspirations vary in key ways. Pew Research. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2019/02/20/most-u-s-teens-see-anxiety-and-depression-as-a-major-problem-among-their-peers/.

Jewitt, L. (ed.). (1896). The ballads & songs of Derbyshire. London: Bemrose and Sons. https://archive.org/details/balladssongsder00coungoog/page/n8/mode/2up

Krischer, H. (2017). Why ‘The Outsiders’ lives on: A teenage novel turns 50. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/12/books/the-outsiders-s-e-hinton-book.html

Lang, J. (1905). Robinson, W.B. (illus.). Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe as told to the children. New York, NY: E.P. Dutton & Co. archive.org.

Leen, N. (1944). Teenage girls: They live in a wonderful world of their own. Life Magazine (17)24, (p. 91-99). https://books.google.com/books?id=10EEAAAAMBAJ&source=gbs_all_issues_r&cad=1

Leen, N. (1945). Teenage boys: Faced with war they are just the same as they’ve always been. Life Magazine (18)24, (Cover), (p.91-96). https://books.google.com/books?id=_EkEAAAAMBAJ&source=gbs_all_issues_r&cad=1

Loveday, V. (2005). History Reference Center. http://web.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.ulib.uits.iu.edu/hrc/detail/detail?vid=9&sid=178729ec-3a46-46d0-89dc-f9789b0d2794%40sdc-v-sessmgr02&bdata=JnNpdGU9aHJjLWxpdmU%3d#AN=17908187&db=khh

Orme, N. (2005). Historical essays: Childhood in Medieval England. Representing Childhood. University of Pittsburgh. https://www.representingchildhood.pitt.edu/medieval_child.htm.

Perrin, A. One in five Americans now listen to audiobooks. Pew Research. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/09/25/one-in-five-americans-now-listen-to-audiobooks/

The Outsiders. Books. http://www.sehinton.com/books/.

The Outsiders: Movie: 1983. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086066/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

The Outsiders: T.V. series: 1990″ . https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096673/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2.

Stephenson, D. (2011). History of children’s and young adult literature. Wolf, S., Coats, K., Enciso, P., Jenkins, C. (eds.) Handbook Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature. New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.

Swift, J. (1726). Travels into several remote nations of the world. In four parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, first surgeon, and then a captain of several ships. London. British LIbrary. https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/first-edition-of-gullivers-travels-1726

The History of YA Literature (Part Three)

Modern YA Literature

Up until now, in tracing YA genre history, books read by youth represented either what adults thought young people needed to read (Pilgrims Progress) or what they chose to read (Gulliver’s Travels). At this time, publishers acquired titles that would be marketed to parents of youth. After all, parents or schools were typically the ones with means to purchase. Therefore, books for youth were often either didactic or an entertaining book written to adult audiences that young people got ahold of. However, with a sudden culture shift, publishing houses gained a new market. Michael Cart (2009) explains that “the shrinking job market of The Great Depression sent droves young people out of the job market and into high school” and finally, “it was there that a youth culture began to form visibly enough to attract the attention of marketers, who began labeling its denizens “teens,” “teensters,” and finally, in 1941, “teenagers.”… And so, by the end of the 1940s, a whole new group of consumers who wanted—indeed, needed—to read about themselves had come into being”. Therefore, while books had been written for or read by “teens” before, now publishers were specifically looking for books that teens wanted.

The “Brand-New” Teen

Below find an article from the December 11, 1944 of Life from photographer, Nina Leen. The article shares images documenting the average teen’s lives. Next, is Leen’s June 11, 1945 article in Life featuring Teenage boys. What do you think of the pictures and descriptions, as compared to today’s teens?

The Voice of Teens in YA

Several titles are argued as representing the the beginning of the modern YA literature. But one novel stands out as pivotal. In 1969, The Outsiders, written by S.E. Hinton caught the attention of a literary agent and Viking Publishing. Hinton, was actually Susan Eloise Hinton and she began writing the novel at the age of fifteen. The book was groundbreaking. Telling a story from the teenage point of view, about what is was actually like to be a teenager. Publishers suggested using the name S.E., to throw readers off that the male protagonist voice was written by young girl. Certainly this is an example of how the publishing industry was driven by the culture of the time, when gender roles held still held expectations. (Loveday, V., 2009)

The Outsiders, is the story of Ponyboy Curtis and his neighborhood Greaser gang of close friends. Ponyboy and his friends live in constant tension with the Socs, the more wealthy teens in town. An unexpected violent event causes Pony and his best friend, Johnny to go on the run. Pony’s is a timeless coming-of-age story that addresses socio-economic issues, friendship, morality, mortality, and identity. In an interview with EW ,Hinton explained that the idea for The Outsiders came to her because she was “mad about the social situation at my high school, which was basically the Socs versus the Greasers like it is in the book…Then when a friend of mine got beaten up on his way home from school… I got mad and began a short story..” (Biedenharn, 2017). Here was a a book to which teens could relate!

Warning: This video contains spoilers

References

Please see part four in this series, “The History of YA Literature (Part Four)”.