Welcome to October! It’s well and truly autumn now. The air is chilly, the leaves are crisp, and the university students begin to have a haggard look about them as they hurriedly sip their possibly-gourd-themed warm beverages. Some people call this sweater weather. But we like to think of it as reading weather.
So curl up, get cozy, put those absurd fuzzy socks on — and let’s see what’s happening in the YA world this month!
In our October author spotlight, we interview Anita Miettunen. Anita is “a writer and illustrator from Vancouver, BC, who loves exploring the natural world.” Anita discusses the success of her first picture book Big Blue Forever, her experience in UBC’s Master in Arts of Children’s Literature (MACL) program, and the research that goes into writing about a giant blue whale skeleton:
“My research process included many steps. I searched for materials on the internet, scoured newspaper records, and combed through photos in the museum’s archives. I researched what types of whale-themed books were already published. I interviewed some of the scientists, researchers, and a veterinarian, who were part of the whale’s excavation in 2008. The interviews were especially helpful in understanding some of the researchers’ sensory and physical experiences, which I wanted to incorporate into the book.” – 5 Questions for Anita Miettunen
After getting back into gear in September, October has seen YAing continue its run of in-depth reviews of awesome books. Here are some of the novel and picture-book reviews we’ve already featured this month:
- “As resources that explain disabilities to youth are hard to come by, The Disability Experience is a true gem of non-fiction.” Elizabeth Leung reviews The Disability Experience: Working Toward Belonging by Hannalora Leavitt, illustrated by Belle Wuthrich.
- “… [A] refreshing story of acceptance, compassion, and community support.” Jocylene Gregory reviews Mr. Mole Moves In, written and illustrated by Lesley-Anne Green.
And you don’t have to worry about getting left out in the cold as the days get shorter. In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to find reviews of books about comics, politics, spooky ghosts (just in time for Halloween!) and… mice? Yes, mice! You never know what you’ll find gracing these digital pages, so keep checking back every Tuesday and Thursday.
We’re not sure what it’s like where you are, but here in Vancouver, as much as we’ve enjoyed being cozy inside, being outdoors has been an absolute delight. The cool sunshine, the migrating birds overhead, the brilliant sunsets, and the satisfaction of tucking your chilly hands into your pockets: it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy the world outside. And the perfect time to enjoy some books! The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s October reading list includes all kinds of books about getting out and getting moving. Some books we’ll definitely be reading:
- We All Play/KIMÊTAWÂNAW, written and illustrated by Julie Flett: “This wonderful book celebrates diversity and the interconnectedness of nature through an Indigenous perspective, complete with a glossary of Cree words for wild animals at the back of the book, and children repeating a Cree phrase throughout the book.”
- Across the Floor by Natasha Deen: “Luc thought he knew what his passion was: football. He lives it, breathes it. So when his coach orders him to sign up for contemporary-dance classes to improve his game, Luc agrees. He never expected to fall in love with dance. Now Luc faces a tough decision. Is he willing to give up a future in pro football to pursue a new dream?”
- Proud to Play: Canadian LGBTQ+ Athletes Who Made History by Erin Silver: “From swimmer Mark Tewksbury to rhythmic gymnast Rosie Cossar, this book profiles and celebrates gay, queer and trans athletes who have kept their LGBTQ2+ identity a secret in order to find a safe place to play and compete.”
As we mentioned in last month’s newsletter, the Vancouver Writers Festival is fast approaching! Many of its events will be free and digital this year, making these fascinating discussions more accessible than ever. Here are a few more events we’d like to highlight for you:
- Friend of YAing and UBC Creative Writing instructor Tanya Lloyd Kyi will be moderating a discussion on Marvellous Stories for YA between Governor General’s Literary Award-winner Susin Nielsen and recent debut YA novelist Peyton Thomas. The event is on October 21, and will be available for free on YouTube.
- David A. Robertson, whose Misewa Saga of middle-grade novels was recently optioned for TV by ABC, will be discussing his new book for young readers: On the Trapline, illustrated by Julie Flett. This event, which will also be free and on YouTube, is on October 19.
As always, please do send us your news related to children’s and young adult literature at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can feature them in future newsletters. Our newsletter is published on the 2nd Monday each month. And remember to keep up with us on Twitter and Instagram!
Take care, and happy reading,
The Young Adulting Editors