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Our Freedom to Read Contest Winners

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

book locked upFreedom to Read Week is nearly over, and as a final note, we wanted to share the winning entries in our writing contest. We are always impressed with the creativity and insight shown by the students, and this year, the choice was just as difficult as always. In the end, we chose two essays and a poem that we hope will make you reflect on this freedom that we all too often take for granted. Without further ado, here are the winning entries:

Freedom by Emily G.

Freedom. Seven ordinary letters come together to form an extraordinary word. It is something many of us in North America take for granted, but many people in other countries around the world will go to tremendous lengths to obtain freedom. Take for example the story of 15-year-old, Malala Yousafzai and her struggle for education. Anyone will tell you that the foundation of education is literacy, and literacy comes from reading.

Reading is not limited just to books however. All sorts of media fall under this category. Newspapers in particular have always been a very influential form of expression, especially during the American Revolution. Newspapers offered a platform to share ideas about politics and military strategies, and they were also a way to rebel against the government itself.

During the Second World War, the freedom to read was often challenged. Any book written by a Jew of an enemy of the Nazis was burned publicly, biasedly filtering the content that children learned. In Canada today, we have an enormous number of choices when it comes to what to read: Chaucer, Tolstoy, Lewis, and Rowling to name a few popular authors, and an endless array of different genres as well. If our freedom to choose the books we read was limited, our perception would narrow along with our entire understanding of literature and the world.

Although it may seem unrelated, picture for a moment your plate at the supper table. Roast beef, potatoes with gravy, and a fresh garden salad. Each of these foods and their respective groups are vital to a balanced diet and a healthy body. Take away any of these and you’ll become moody and lethargic. The same is true with literature; take away the variety and you are left with an entire nation ignorant of the broad spectrum of learning and the immense pleasure of reading. Take away our freedom, and you injure our minds.

A New Chapter: A New World by Rachel H.

Every swish of a flipping page welcomes a fresh chapter of your life; a fresh chapter brimming with greater amounts of knowledge and a stronger understanding of the world around you than you had previously thought was obtainable. Literature is the word that plants the seeds of success and opens our eyes to the world, fostering a greater understanding of far away lands and cultures.

As stated in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, “You will never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it.” Literature provides the means to view the world through the eyes of the author and may provide information about other cultures which can build bonds between citizens around the globe. By allowing your mind to indulge in novels such as the Breadwinner Trilogy, you can truly comprehend the hardships endured by the citizens of war-torn countries. Instilling empathy into the citizens of the world by means of literature is the only way to establish peace among all of humanity.

Literature is the key that will open the door to world peace and understanding, yet governments and religious institutions around the globe still believe that it is appropriate to ban novels that are perceived to show political or cultural demerits. You must not hesitate to raise your voice against literacy bans because without the universal freedom to obtain any novel that we desire, how can we expect to truly understand each other and create worldwide harmony which will benefit us all?

Within Books by Jasmine Y.

Forward eleven years,
You might find a graveyard,
Burrowed in our mistakes,
Intense scientific nightmares,
Come adrift near our blackout,
Perhaps destiny has led us so,
But more-so, our questionable choices,
Slammed into a soulless shed.

Like the strong feet of the elephant,
Push into our selves,
Passive but stable,
There, concealed in our hearts,
Brave quotes that give life a boost,
Wise thoughts to shy away from doom.

As an infant,
So much stronger,
So fearless,
We march upon the bridge,
Connected to our inside world,
Only needing protection,
Against the outside world.

Without those creatures,
The parallel worlds of you and I,
The glorifying princes,
That await your arrival,
No doubt,
Would our minds be sucked,
Into an army of ten thousand men.

Can you feel my lungs?
Pounding with the liberation,
The colourful life we could give,
Planning a feast of words to the children,
Giving a stick to the frail,
Creating insight into another's mind,
And sharing our stories,
Woven into a thread of past.

Celebrate Freedom to Read Week with us!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

Three great ways to celebrate Freedom to Read Week:

eleanor & park

1. Read Eleanor & Park (or any other challenged book)

This morning, members of the Calgary Freedom to Read Week Committee presented a copy of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park to City Council as part of the official launch of Freedom to Read Week 2014. Eleanor & Park is a bestselling and award-winning novel about two teenage misfits falling in love in 1980s Omaha, and it was the centre of controversy in Minnesota this past summer when two parents objected to the book's use of language. The author's planned visit to the school was cancelled, and the ultra-conservative Parents Action League got involved, demanding that all copies of the book be removed from both the school and public libraries, and that the librarians who had chosen the book for the summer reading program be disciplined for choosing to offer this "inappropriate and profane" book (their words, not mine!). Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.

2. Join us this Thursday at Owl's Nest Books

Every year, the Calgary Freedom to Read Week Committee recognizes the winners of our teen writing contest, and also presents the Freedom of Expression award to a Calgarian who exemplifies the fight for intellectual freedom. This year, they are presenting the award to local radio personality Dave Rutherford.

The celebration is at Owl's Nest Books (815A 49th Avenue SW, in the Britannia shopping plaza) on Thursday, February 27th, at 7 p.m.

3. Read the winning entries in our Freedom to Read Week writing contest!

The sad truth is, material for kids and teens is the most likely to be challenged, which makes YOU the victim of censorship. Every year CPL hosts a writing contest for local students, and as always, this year's winners impressed us with their responses.

Our 2014 winners are Jasmine Y., Rachel H., and Emily G., and we'll post their entries at the end of the week — so if you want to hear them earlier, you'll have to join us at Owl's Nest.

Freedom to Read Contest

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

freedom to read week

Why is the freedom to read important to you?

Canada celebrates Freedom to Read Week every February, as a way of reminding ourselves to think about intellectual freedom, censorship, and our right to access the information that we choose. We often take it for granted that we can read whatever we like, but the truth is that every year, great books are challenged or banned across the world — and that includes Canada.

This year, Freedom to Read Week is February 23rd to March 1st, and as always, we're running a contest to help celebrate!

Tell us why the freedom to read is important to you using words, pictures or video and you could win a great CPL prize pack and a chance to get published in next year's Freedom to Read Week kit. But hurry — the deadline is February 20th!


You can enter in one of three ways:

  • Make a poster (draw, paint or use photography and other graphic arts, 8½ x 14” or 11 x 17”)
  • Write a poem, short story or essay (max. 300 words)
  • Create a film (3 min. or less)

All content must be your own work, except for short, cited quotations. Contest is open to Calgary students in grades 7 to 12. Please include your name, school, grade and telephone number with your entry.

To enter:
Send your project by e-mail to freedomtoread@calgarypubliclibrary.com OR submit a hardcopy to any Calgary Public Library location.

One entry per person.
Deadline for submissions is Thursday, February 20, 2014.

Freedom to Read Pt 2

by Tomas - 0 Comment(s)

Maintaining freedom of expression requires a constant effort. It’s important to recognize our freedoms, and at the same time to be aware of the challenges they face. Just have a look at the lengthy list of books challenged in Canada for a reminder of just how fragile this freedom is, and the importance of continual vigilance to preserve it.

The Freedom to Read Week contest (deadline for submissions: Thursday, February 20) is a great opportunity to act on this right, and to consider what is at stake.

Not surprisingly, the dangerous friction between freedom and censorship has been explored by many authors. Here is a small selection of quotes that will hopefully inspire you in your own reflections.

Stephen Chbosky When you publish a book, you do so in part to end the silence. All censorship is silence. I would never, as an author, feel right requiring a young person whose family would object to the book to read it. Just as I would never force that person to read it, I would ask those folks to not force others not to read it. To me, that is just good manners.

-Stephen Chbosky
 
Sam Shepard I do not believe in censorship, but I believe we already have censorship in what is called marketing theory, namely the only information we get in mainstream media is for profit.

-Sam Shepard
 
Julian Assange

Stopping leaks is a new form of censorship.

-
Julian Assange

 
Jeff Buckley

I resent the fact that a parental warning sticker has to be included on an album as cover art. To me that's censorship.

-Jeff Buckley

 
Robert Cormier

You seldom get a censorship attempt from a 14-year-old boy. It's the adults who get upset.

-Robert Cormier

 
Lois Lowry The man that I named the Giver passed along to the boy knowledge, history, memories, color, pain, laughter, love, and truth. Every time you place a book in the hands of a child, you do the same thing. It is very risky. But each time a child opens a book, he pushes open the gate that separates him from Elsewhere. It gives him choices. It gives him freedom. Those are magnificent, wonderfully unsafe things.

[from her Newberry Award acceptance speech]

Submitting to censorship is to enter the seductive world of 'The Giver': the world where there are no bad words and no bad deeds. But it is also the world where choice has been taken away and reality distorted. And that is the most dangerous world of all.

-Lois Lowry

 

Neil Gaiman

 

A nice, easy place for freedom of speech to be eroded is comics, because comics are a natural target whenever an election comes up.

-
Neil Gaiman

 

Carl Sagan

 

Frederick Douglas taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.

- Carl Sagan
 

Katherine Paterson

 

Reading can be a road to freedom or a key to a secret garden, which, if tended, will transform all of life.


-
Katherine Paterson

 

 

Ellen Hopkins

 

 

Torch every book.

Burn every page.

Char every word to ash.

Ideas are incombustible.

And therein lies your real fear.

-Ellen Hopkins

 

Lemony Snicket

 

The burning of a book is a sad, sad sight, for even though a book is nothing but ink and paper, it feels as if the ideas contained in the book are disappearing as the pages turn to ashes and the cover and binding--which is the term for the stitching and glue that holds the pages together--blacken and curl as the flames do their wicked work. When someone is burning a book, they are showing utter contempt for all of the thinking that produced its ideas, all of the labor that went into its words and sentences, and all of the trouble that befell the author . . .

-Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril

 

Judy Blume

 

 

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.

-Judy Blume

 

Salman Rushdie

 

 

An attack upon our ability to tell stories is not just censorship - it is a crime against our nature as human beings.

-Salman Rushdie

 

Nelson Mandela


 

A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.

- Nelson Mandela

 

So you have some difficult Questions? Who you gonna call?

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

 

You know those questions you don't want to ask ANYbody? Or you talk about all the time but your friends seem useless at? Yeah those questions... Sometimes it's much easier not to .. or to browse the Internet or..., well we have just added some Teen Health & Wellness Links to our TeenZone page precisely for that reason! Plus we have a great book list. Warning= Scroll down on the page to see them! We also have more - lists on particular subjects such as Death & Disease, My Body, GLBTQ, Disabilities & Disorders under our INTENSE Booklists tab. Last year I wrote a blog called My Life Just Turned Upside Down that has some great book suggestions in it as well! To access the page normally click on our Teens page. There are health & wellness and a jobs & career links tabs which both get you to the same place. Or - you can access them through the Information tab under our Booklists on the top left hand side of the Teens page.

Here is a list of what's on the page and how it might be helpful. I encourage you to check out the pages - lots of them have interactive elements like live chat, places to submit your own art and writing and to take quizzes/ games at. Some feature videos, clubs, and courses you can take as well.

kids help phone logo

Kid’s Help Phone

24 hour Confidential counselling, information and referral for youth up to age 18.

By phone or On-line Chat. Legal Advice.

Website has some great mini pages on Bullying, Dating, Finding a place to live etc.

connecteen logo Connect Teen (Calgary Distress Centre)

24hr Counselling & Emergency Service.

Chat on-line or on the phone.

Connect Teen also offers a Youth Blog.

maple leaf

Just for You

Youth Health Information (Government of Canada):

A comprehensive information source for teen health.

calgary sexual health centre logo

Calgary Sexual Health Centre

Offers teens information about birth control, safe sex, STD’s, relationships and coming out.

calgary outlink logo

Calgary Outlink

The Inside Out Youth Group is a fun, Calgary, casual, peer and social group for GLBTQ youth. The group is a safe and welcoming place for all. Group facilitators are trained volunteer youth peer support and adult support.

mental health logo

Canadian Mental Association - Got a Brain?

Education around mental health and positive ways of managing it. Includes resources about stress, suicide, eating disorders and teen depression.

Submit your story, play on-line games.

between friends logo

The Calgary Between Friends Club

Fun and fellowship for disabled youth!

ldaa

Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta-Calgary Chapter

Support for teenagers with learning disabilities.

Programs, services, on-line library.

Perspectives = On-line magazine.

street survival guide cover

Street Guide for Calgary Youth

Names and addresses of dozens of organizations to help youth living on the streets and with general

 

Looking for a job, house or career advice (yes we are aware that teens need this type of advice on occasion) our Jobs and Careers links can help as well as this great booklist!

WE HOPE THIS HELPS!!

Celebrate Your Freedom with Us!!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Freedom to Read week starts today! Check out the Freedom To Read Website for ideas on how you can revel between February 24th & March 2nd.

Join us this Thursday the 28th at 7pm at Shelf Life Books for our Youth Award Celebration to honour our A World Without Choices contest winners. We received many great submissions in words, images and video that answered the following question: "What would your world look like without the freedom to read?" Check out some of the awesomeness submitted on our TeensCreate page!

AND, drum roll please... the winners are:

Ethan G. for his great essay, "Silenced Voices"

Alexa I. for her wonderful FTR essay, and

the amazing video duo Julia C. & Danika V. - check out their video Here!

In addition, the Freedom to Read Committee has awarded the 2013 Freedom of Expression Award, sponsored by FFWD Weekly, to the Calgary Idle No More Movement. Chantal Chagnon is accepting the award as a representative of the movement. Committee member Darlene Montgomery has provided the following statement to support the Award:

The Freedom of Expression Award is presented annually during Freedom to Read Week. The Award is presented to a person or group in the Calgary area who best demonstrates leadership in promoting freedom of expression, an important cornerstone of democracy. The Award is sponsored by FFWD Weekly. This year the Freedom of Expression Award will be presented to the Calgary Idle No More Movement. The Calgary INM Movement has demonstrated a commitment to freedom of expression by taking a public stand to raise awareness of the rich cultural heritage and history of our First Nations people; the social, educational and economic issues affecting their lives; and the obligation of governments to respect the treaty rights of First Nations people. Chantal Chagnon, a local organizer and spokesperson for the Calgary Idle No More Movement will accept the Award on behalf of the Movement at our annual celebration on February 28.

Chantal, the teen winners, family members and supporters will all be on hand for the annual celebration.

Today (February 25th) the Freedom To Read Committee at CPL made their Book Selection presentation to City Council. This year, the selected book is Shine, by Lauren Myracle. Myracle has been touted as "This Generation's Judy Blume". Betsy Fraser, ardent teen-lit enthusiast and CPL Selector, submitted the following nomination:

My suggestion for this year’s Freedom to Read week book would be Lauren Myracle’s Shine. Lauren has been a fantastic example through the years of an author whose books have been targeted as “unsuitable” for their target audience on the one hand, while being lauded by reviewers and those very teens on the other as speaking to and for them… In the past year, Lauren was catapulted into the media when her book was erroneously mentioned as a short-listed title for the National Book Award. Instead of being bitter, she used the ensuing media storm to garner support and attention for gay rights, ‘shining a light’, if you will, on the downtrodden, bullied and abused. Ms. Myracle is a wonderful speaker, and while a hate crime is a dark subject, I ask the committee to consider Shine as its title for 2013 Freedom of Expression Award.

The author's long history of challenges, coupled with her courage in tackling a very difficult subject, led the committee to choose this moving novel. While it begins with a hate crime, it is ultimately a story about hope, and about letting your inner light shine through when darkness surrounds you.

Join us! Thursday February 28, 2013 7 p.m. at Shelf Life Books, 100, 1302 - 4th Street S.W.

And Read on! ;0)

by Adrienne, with many thanks to Allison Thomson (Chair, Calgary Freedom to Read Week Committee) and Carrie, our awesome Teen Cybrarian.

A World Without Choices

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

freedom to read poster What would your world look like without the freedom to read?

I just read (and loved) Ally Condie's Matched, which could be a post all on its own, but one thing in particular struck me about the story. In Cassia's world, the powers that be decided that their culture was just too cluttered, so they chose 100 of everything and got rid of the rest - can you imagine? 100 poems, 100 books, 100 movies, 100 songs - to last you the rest of your life. Everything else is forbidden.

That's one vision of a world without the freedom of expression - what's yours? Tell us in words, images or video and you could win a great CPL prize pack and get published in next year's Freedom to Read Week kit. But hurry - the deadline is February 15th!

You can enter in one of three ways:

  • Make a poster (draw, paint or use photography and other graphic arts, 8½ x 14” or 11 x 17”)
  • Write a poem, short story or essay (max. 300 words)
  • Create a film (3 min. or less)

All content must be your own work, except for short, cited quotations. Contest is open to Calgary students in grades 7 to 9. Include your name, school, grade and telephone number with your entry.

To enter:
Send your project by e-mail to freedomtoread@calgarypubliclibrary.com OR submit a hardcopy to any Calgary Public Library location.

One entry per person.
Deadline for submissions is Friday, February 15, 2013

2013 Freedom to Read Week Contest!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

 

Did you love The Hunger Games? Are you a fan of Harry Potter? Have you ever read a book by John Green, Neil Gaiman, or Lauren Myracle?

Would it surprise you to know that these books and authors, and many more, have been the targets of challenges meant to stop teens just like you from reading them? In fact, many of the 100 most challenged books of the last decade have been books for kids and teens - you can see the whole list here.

Every February Canadians celebrate Freedom to Read Week as a reminder of one of the fundamental freedoms set forth in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression - which includes reading and writing. We're lucky to live in a society that is mostly free from censorship, but even here in Canada we have to keep our eyes open. There are always people who want to "protect" teens by taking away books that offend them - like the ones I just mentioned:

hunger games coverharry potter coverlooking for alaska titlem is for magic coverttfn cover

But books are important, especially difficult, painful, possibly offensive books. As YA author Cheryl Rainfield says,

"Books saved me - realistic books that helped me know I wasn’t alone and fantasy that helped me escape. Books helped me survive the extreme abuse that was my childhood and teenhood. I know how important it is to know you’re not alone in your pain. That’s part of why I wrote Scars...I know what it’s like to have no one to turn to, nothing to help you hang on, except books. To have a book that might help anoth­er teen be kept from them—it seems wrong to me on a deep level."

It seems wrong to us, too. That's why we hold the Freedom to Read Week Contest every year. This year, the question is, "If you didn't have the freedom to choose what you read, what would that look like?"

You can enter in one of three ways:

  • Make a poster (draw, paint or use photography and other graphic arts, 8½ x 14” or 11 x 17”)
  • Write a poem, short story or essay (max. 300 words)
  • Create a film (3 min. or less)

All content must be your own work, except for short, cited quotations. Contest is open to Calgary students in grades 7 to 9. Include your name, school, grade and telephone number with your entry.

To enter:
Send your project by e-mail to
freedomtoread@calgarypubliclibrary.com
AND upload to Teens Create
(http://www.calgarypubliclibrary.com/teens/teens-create)

OR submit a hardcopy to any Calgary Public Library location.

One entry per person.
Deadline for submissions is Friday, February 15, 2013

Dystopian Popularity Continued...

by Adrienne - 5 Comment(s)

So here we continue our dystopian saga, discussing why these current YA novels are so popular... from a Social Studies perspective. Try this analysis on one of your teachers to see what their reaction is!

Divergent by Veronica Roth, calls this into question; what are the most important human character traits to uphold in order to eradicate evil from human nature? Which would you choose: Intelligence, honesty, selflessness, amiability or bravery? Partially inspired by Roth's study of exposure therapy, Divergent questions the very definition of bravery. How do you define bravery? What do you think it means to be brave? Can one character trait exist in isolation or do they always act in multiple possible combinations? What is your utopia? Can utopia be universal? Or is one's person's heaven always another person's hell? What happens in a utopia when people are non-conforming? At what point/what causes a utopian ideology to become dystopian? Real life examples would be communism under Mao or Democracy under Bush.

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale has left both Matched and Wither trailing in its wake. All three deal with genetics, i.e. matching and slavery. Lack of choice is prevalent. Think Star Trek laced with a hint of The Giver by Lois Lowry. If you add undertones of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, a book which I first read when I was 16, you begin to get the picture.

It's rare that I read a YA novel that I immediately want to re-read just to absorb all the poetry of the prose; it's that beautiful! Plus there is so much symbolism embedded into the book that you can tell Ally Condie used to be a High School English teacher. YA novels are often all about action and suspense. Matched, moving along at an ever quickening clip, certainly leaves you breathlessly wanting more at the end. Poetry is however, central to the book. It highlights the power of art to have political influence and be a strong force to fight against the apathy prevalent in coercive societies. There's a reason books/music/art get burned/banned. Matched underscores the power of choice; why it's important to have and why it might be beneficial not to. Implicit is that choice, held either in our own hands or societies, carries with it the ability to make both mistakes and successes. We can cause ourselves and others, both joy and sorrow along the way. Ultimately Matched takes a stance that human dignity; requires it. Otherwise we can all become so en-thralled...

The Hunger Games deals with many themes including survival, loyalty, slavery, and class privilege. It is this book that originally inspired this blog. Going out to schools in Calgary to do presentations for the library I came across many Junior High Social and Language Arts teachers who were using The Hunger Games for a novel study. It's a great book with so many leads for humanities discussions. In this way it follows The Giver by Lois Lowry, a book which is often used in schools as well.Both of these books have been banned in various places but that just gives credence to the fact that they deal with serious issues!

What struck me most about the Hunger Games is how closely it mimics a reality TV show, such as Survivor. The book thus deftly comments on our cultures obsession with entertainment; our need for vicarious living and ever more potent adrenaline boosters. And I admit I was drawn in, fully entertained, gripped by all the action suspense, romance and yes... suffering. This is in combination with a strong female character we can wholly sympathize with. Vicarious living at its finest! We are supposedly far above the Romans in our taste for civilized entertainment. But are we? Movies are simulated; reality TV shows "volunteered" for, and the news? Reality relayed at 6 'O clock each evening full of... human suffering.

For some interesting thoughts on Dystopian Fiction check out the following INFOGRAPHICS:

The Dystopian Timeline to The Hunger Games

If You Liked “The Hunger Games”…

Here's why one fellow YYC teen thinks dystopian novels are so popular these days. Warning: this may be a downer.

Soooo... anyone up for writing the next UTOPIA? We could certainly use some positive societal visioning. Any budding writers out there? Check out this Cartoon version of Thoreau at Walden. We'd LOVE to hear your voices in TEENSCREATE!

Why are Dystopian Novels so popular? Because they deal with reality...

by Adrienne - 3 Comment(s)

Why are Dystopian Novels so popular? This current trend not just with teens, it is also popular with many adults. These YA novels have even your parents following them! Why? Because they deal with real life issues that we either face in the world every day, or that the WORLD at large deals with every day. The proof is in the pudding eh? So what issues DO the current faves and bests deal with?

Wither The main issue this book deals with is the possible unknown side-effects of genetic engineering and insufficiently tested cures. This applies today to more than just genetics research; we have many diseases with unknown cures and unknown causes... Do we know the full effects of a lifetime of eating Kraft diner, painting our nails with formaldehyde polish, or spraying DDT on our vegetables and consequent genetic defects? No... and on and on and on with 100 million products and experiments we conduct every day. Diseases like ALS are New and just popping up and others like AIDS and many cancers still have no known cures.

Wither also deals with objectifying women and young girls solely for their looks (very western), reproductive capacities (prevalent in various countries today) and reproductive slavery. Slavery is slavery even within the confines of comfy couches and pretty lipsticks... As well as taking a look at what love really Is and Is not.

Birthmarked also takes a hard look at reproductive slavery, as well as being a case study for third world vs. first world paradigms. Set in 2403 in a society where our world and time is labeled "the cool age", it is an imaginative rendering of post apocalyptic survival - global warming style. The book even dares to propose how various current energy solutions such as using geothermic energy could have negative effects on society; or certain members of society, whenever dictatorship reigns. Our current world deals with global warming; 1st world vs. 3rd world; class issues and divisions within society (some more stark and apparent than others and some more covert); alternative energies and dictatorships Every Day. Perhaps the resonance of these books is not in their outlandish imaginings, but rather in their expressions of current realities made more digestible through the form of story. Check out the movie trailer here.

The Graceling series is perhaps one of the most multi-layered dystopian series of the bunch, teetering into the verge of fantasy, but striking home so closely to reality that I often found the books very difficult to read (even though this consequently made them my favourites of the bunch.) Dealing with issues of literacy and class, ability vs. disability, dictatorships, sociopaths, murder, justice, memory and healing, they also insert things such as birth-control and GLBTQ as givens, positive aspects of this much troubled society.

Bitterblue is the story of both a girl and a society recovering from the effects of a regime of terror. How does one uncover truth? How are "war crimes" dealt with fairly when the entire society is both implicitly guilty and traumatized at the same time? Can a thief be loyal, just, trustworthy and lovable? Can one be treasonous, break the law and yet be loyal and just under the law at the same time? How can just 4% of the population (the statistical existence of sociopaths) cause so much damage?


For some interesting thoughts on Dystopian Fiction check out the following INFOGRAPHIC: Is It Dystopia?

Social Studies 101 coming up, in the form of case studies presented in really engaging YA novels!

Stay tuned next Sunday for Part 2 of this blog: Dystopian Popularity Continued...

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