Youth Book Corner: TeenTober

October is “TeenTober,” a term coined by the American Library Association to denote a month-full of programming and activities targeting teens. To celebrate this, our Outreach Coordinator Leena Desai recommends three books penned by Vancouver Writers Fest authors that teens might enjoy.

Written by A.S. King

The word “dig” in the title of A. S. King’s Michael L. Printz Medal-winning novel stands for many things. It stands for digging potatoes, which is what the grandparents of the novel’s five teenage cousins did before they struck big developing subdivisions. Now, they selfishly hoard their wealth and refuse to share it with either their children or grandchildren. The word “dig” also stands for the attempt of the five cousins—once estranged and victims of their family’s dark past—to dig their way out of a toxic culture of polite white supremacy perpetuated for generations by family members. Thought-provoking and more relevant than ever for the times we live in, Dig is a must-read novel about how it is possible to break the vicious cycle of racism, patriarchy and white privilege. Grades 9-12
Watch A.S. King in the Vancouver Writers Fest event I Didn’t Do What You Told Me.

The Girl Who Was Convinced Beyond All Reason That She Could Fly
Written and illustrated by Sybil Lamb

Sybil Lamb’s book tells the kind of uplifting and tragic story that will at once make you happy and sad. Eggs is a homeless girl who lives on the rooftops of a metropolis full of cheap hotels and cheaper flea markets. But in spite of her lot in life, she is convinced beyond all reason that she can fly. This book is about her friendship with two kind strangers, a hot-dog seller named Grack and a punk rocker named Splendid Wren and also her encounter with the sinister Robin, the local baddie. On the surface level, this is a simple, albeit whimsical and non-linear book, but through Eggs’ journey and the illustrations that accompany the text, Lamb beautifully conveys the complexities of urban life and the pure souls that are often at risk of falling prey to dangerous forces. Grades 9-12
Watch Sybil Lamb in the Vancouver Writers Fest event I Didn’t Do What You Told Me.

Hope Matters: Why Changing the Way We Think Is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis
Written by Elin Kelsey

What better than a book called Hope Matters in a year that has witnessed an unprecedented global crisis? The appeal for the closure of wet markets is linked to the greater issue of environmental crises that has been raging for decades. In Hope Matters, author Elin Kelsey does not delve into the obvious, but rather she wants to move past the doom and gloom messaging about deforestation, climate change and global warming. If last year’s climate strikes were anything to go by, we know that today’s youth want to take action for change at a systemic level. Kelsey wants to urge such youth and concerned citizens to think about positive ways in which we can support ocean conservation, species resilience, and rewilding, and ways in which we can come together for effective personal and political action that will see our hope for a better future become reality one day. Grades 8-12
Watch Elin Kelsey in the Vancouver Writers Fest event Hope Matters: An Afternoon with Elin Kelsey.


Leena Desai