This week was a big one for those of us interested in recently published young adult literature (especially the feminist and queer kind). Since it's the beginning of yet another year, lots of task forces and round tables have been meeting to decide which of the books published in 2010 deserve to be must-reads. Let's take a look at two of the awards and book lists that we were super excited to see released this week. It's time to start our impossibly long lists of books to read in 2011.
The Amelia Bloomer Project
Members of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association (say that ten times fast) have been getting together once a year since 2002 to create a book list of "the best feminist books for young readers, ages birth through 18." Each year, the book list features feminist books that "show women solving problems, gaining personal power, and empowering others." But the Amelia Bloomer Project (named after the rad 19th-century activist pictured to the right) has laid out very clear guidelines which ask for more than just strong female leads:
With the current trend of using strong female protagonists in fiction, a more specific explanation of feminism may be in order. Feminist books for young readers must move beyond merely "spunky" and "feisty" young women, beyond characters and people who fight to protect themselves without furthering rights for other women. Feminist books show women overcoming the obstacles of intersecting forces of race, gender, and class, actively shaping their destinies. They break bonds forced by society as they defy stereotypical expectations and show resilience in the face of societal strictures.
Interested in finding out which books were picked for 2011? You're in luck, 'cause the recommended titles for this year were released on Tuesday. Make sure to check out the list and let us know what you think of their selections.
The Stonewall Book Award
On Monday Night, the ALA announced the winner of the Stonewall Book Award, an award that is now given annually "to English-language children's and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experience." Almost Perfect, a book by Brian Katcher about a teen boy who falls in love with a trans girl, was the winner this year. "Almost Perfect is exceptional. The writing is sensitive, haunting and revelatory," said Stonewall committe chair Lisa Johnston in a press release on Monday. This book was discussed in the comments on a blog about young adult novels with trans teens we posted last year. It's currently waiting to be picked up from my bedside table, so I'm looking forward to hearing what those of you who have read it have to say.
Four honor books were also selected for the Stonewall Book Award: Will Grayson, Will Grayson written by John Green and David Levithan, Love Drugged by James Klise, Freaks and Revelations by Davida Wills, and The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams. For a complete list of books awarded by the ALA this week ― including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards ― go here.
Here at Bitch, we've been working on our own list of our favorite young adult literature for feminists of all ages. So keep an eye out, cause next week we'll be released a list of 100 young adult books to add to your 2011 reading list.