In the past reading materials for young people were often didactic and less enjoyable than the books reflecting the world that currently fill the shelves of libraries and bookstores. In this issue, reviewers consciously looked for pieces of literature containing characters who wrestled with moral and ethical situations in ways that would provoke thought, reflection and perhaps action within readers.
Two of the books in this issue are young adult novels that present current sociocultural events with diverse perspectives, America Street and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, introduce readers to young women working through conflicts brought about by cultural adjustments and family expectations. Others, such as Dear World and A Land of Permanent Goodbyes reflect the Syrian genocide, giving readers the opportunity to not only understand the horrific events occurring in Syria, but ways they might be able to take action to support those who are caught up in that situation. Lost Girl Found and The Diary of Ma Yan: The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl chronicle the decisions two young girls make as they negotiate the world in which they find themselves. Pandas on the Eastside and The Hate U Give address the ethical dilemmas that two teens must address so as to right the wrongs of situations within their communities. There is also The Girl Who Drank the Moon, the Newbery Winner that presents readers with the moral choices one must make when confronted with political and social oppression. Then there is the picturebook Vacío, a book written in Spanish, about emotions. Through this book, young people can come to understand their own emotions and the emotional manifestations of others without judgment.
Books that have us reflect upon our own moral and ethical stances while presenting other ways to think about the world allow us a better understanding of ourselves and the world. We cannot hope for more!
Holly Johnson, Editor
The next issues are:
Fall, 2018: Open theme. Share with us books that have inspired you this year. Deadline: September 15, 2018.
Winter, 2018: Issues Connected to Trauma. The world and those within it, past and present, have created situations or phenomena that result in trauma. What can we learn from reading about such situations? Books addressing trauma—in its broadest terms—have much to teach us. Think about sharing what you have learned from reading about such events. Deadline: November 30, 2018.
Spring, 2019: Open theme. An opportunity to share books that you read over the winter or new books that resonate with you. Deadline: February, 27, 2019.