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Real Talk About Librarians, Book Banning, and YA

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Welcome to the Dear Book Nerd podcast, a bi-weekly show that answers YOUR questions about life, love, and literature! My special guest co-host this week is the delightful and talented Matt de la Pena. In this episode, Matt and I answer three listener-submitted questions and discuss topics such as: whether or not you have to be monogamous with your librarian, how it feels to have your own book challenged by a school board, why YA literature is so important in the lives of teens, great resources for finding great YA books, and much, much more. Don’t miss it!

Matt is the author of some amazing YA books himself, such as The Living, Mexican WhiteBoy, and We Were Here. Be sure to check those out, and you can find him on Twitter here: @mattdelapena. Thanks, Matt!

This episode was sponsored by Random House Audiobooks.

Questions Discussed:

Dear Book Nerd,

I live in a town with a goodly handful of local library branches and what must be upwards of 50 talented librarians (just a guess on my part — the number, not the talent!) I’ve heard you talk a few times about how it can be helpful to find a librarian who can help bring books to your attention that you might not otherwise come across. I am introverted by nature and am not sure how to find which librarian might be the one who would have recommendations that would fit my interests. Any ideas?? Thanks!


Reader, Listener of LitFic and SpecFic

Dear Book Nerd:

I am enjoying the podcasts. Here is my situation. I am a librarian for a public school district (however, I am not a librarian by degree). I have been taking care of our elementary and middle school libraries for a couple of years. Next year, I will also begin to take care of our high school library.

I do not want the high school library to be the same as the middle school with only the same YA books, but the high school library is VERY unused and I would like to make it more exciting. My dilemma is how to add adult authors that will excite the kids without stepping over any boundaries for inappropriate books for this age group in a public school setting (I can’t read everything). Our school administration are not readers so really have no input. Thoughts?

Library Lady

Dear Book Nerd,

First let me start by saying I love your podcast. I too am a book nerd and love any opportunity to talk about books or listen to people talk about books. My question is this; I am a teacher assistant in middle school. I often read a lot of YA and love the genre very much, however, I’m not always current on what is out. I get most of my YA recommendations from friends or from browsing the bookstore, are there any websites where I can stay current on what is being published in YA. I would love to talk to my students about new books coming out and give them recommendations.

Thank You,



Links Discussed:

Racial Lens Used to Cull Curriculum in Arizona” (New York Times)

Adult Books 4 Teens” (School Library Journal)

Adult Books For Teens” (GoodReads)

28 Must-Follow Tumblrs For Fans of YA” (Book Riot)


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