By Angel Stone, Worlds of Words Intern, The University of Arizona
Politicians admit to using their status to take advantage of women. Movie directors and actors use their power to assault young people. Mental health concerns are at an all-time high for children and teens. The novels we look at this month, written by authors attending the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books, address the issues of assault, unfounded judgment and mental illness. These TFOB YA authors provide a way to initiate conversations on difficult topics between young people and those who care about them.
During the second week of November, Angel Stone explores Speak, the novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, which chronicles a year in the life of a young girl who has experienced date rape and suffers select mutism because of it. Then, Grace Fell gives us a glimpse into Veronica Roth’s newest novel, Carve the Mark, which highlights anxiety and its consequences. Samantha Verini finishes the month by guiding us through the Newbery Award-winning The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. This novel shows us the consequences of making baseless assumptions and the pitfalls of wielding power.
These books address issues that young adults face in today’s society. When we are young, the world can seem apathetic in a way that makes us doubt the validity of our feelings. We travel through life believing no one understands the difficulties we face. The courageous people who share their stories of pain and degradation should inspire all of us. Young people are entitled to feeling safe, healthy and respected. However, teens don’t have to learn how to handle adversity solely from the experiences of others. Books like the ones we feature this month share experiences that teach us how to face our challenges. They give readers the confidence to speak out when confronted with problems that they should not face alone.
TFOB YA authors will discuss teens and the experiences that shape their lives in solo and group presentations for the festival scheduled on March 10 and 11, 2018. All the workshops, panels and discussions held by TFOB in the University of Arizona College of Education include free professional development. Look for a table in the lobby. Additionally, contact the TFOB School Outreach Committee by phone at 520.621.0302 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if your school would like to arrange for an author or illustrator to visit. If you would like to know more about all the authors coming to the festival, we encourage you to attend the Prologue. Information is available on the TFOB website.
Worlds of Words hosts the children’s and teens authors and illustrators for the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books. We close that weekend to attend to these responsibilities, but you’ll find us among other exhibitors where we will share our resources for educators, including the Language and Culture Kits, and have a hands-on activity for young people and those who are young at heart.
Journey through Worlds of Words during our open reading hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Check out our two online journals, WOW Review and WOW Stories, and keep up with WOW’s news and events.