Celebrating Seven Years of TLT: A look back at favorite posts
The older I get, the more I think the passage of time is the fastest, most puzzling thing ever. Where do the days go? Where do the years go? Multiple times a week, my husband will exclaim, “How is it 8:00 already?” and I will almost always follow that up with, “How are we in our FORTIES already?” So when Karen said we were coming up on the 7 year anniversary of Teen Librarian Toolbox, I thought, but didn’t I just write a post for the 6 year anniversary? I did… if you consider one year ago to be “just.” Given that in my brain the 9os were, at most, ten years ago, I may not be the best judge of the passage of time. Last year for this same anniversary post, I reflected a bit on why I love writing for TLT and what it means to me. This year, I’m going to share some of my favorite blog posts that I’ve written. I feel a little weird writing that sentence, but you know what, I am so grateful to have this platform to share books and ideas I’m passionate about. So, here we go!
My first blog post for TLT was in September 2014. It was called “Talking about sexual violence in young adult literature with a teen book club.” I don’t think I need to expand upon that—you get what it’s about. Here’s a snippet from that post:
After the meeting, some of the members chose to send me further thoughts. One member shared with me that this was the first time she discussed sexual violence with a group. “I liked how comfortable I felt discussing what I had read with the group. In other situations, mentioning to someone that I had read a book about sexual violence usually ended with an odd look and an abrupt ending to any discussion I had hoped to spark.” She goes on to say that she valued the open discussion we had. “It’s what I wish I could have with a teacher, a friend, even a sibling without feeling weird for bringing it up.” She says she wishes we had had even more time to discuss our books and this topic because talking “about a topic that society seems to shy away from isn’t an opportunity I get often.”
I have loved working on larger projects we have done like the Mental Health in YA Lit project and the Sexual Violence in YA Lit project. It’s so great to see what comes from people who guest post for us and how we can expand conversations on these important topics. I particularly loved coordinating the posts in the Sexual Violence in LGBTQIA+ Young Adult Literature series. Those explored some ground I don’t think we’ve seen covered a whole lot yet. Those posts ran the first two weeks of August 2015.
The Mental Health in YA Lit project has been especially important to me. I’ve loved seeing so many more books coming out that accurately and compassionately portray mental health. The work on the project and my continued focus on this subject has lead me to presenting on this topic at NerdCon, Teen Lit Con, and for the International Bipolar Foundation. It also lead to many great real-life discussions about books that address mental health, like this one with my former teen book club. Here’s a bit from that post:
I asked if having more fictional characters facing mental health struggles helped actual teens. They all agreed that it normalizes these experiences and gives teens a peek at someone they might be able to relate to. They said that by seeing characters struggle in stories, they can see into other experiences, especially if they themselves don’t have this particular issue. They said that it helps them know how people suffer and it shows how they might be able to help or react. They said they often worry they’ll say the wrong thing to someone who is struggling and like to see examples of how to be supportive. “I like it when books teach me how to treat people,” one girl said. (Have I mentioned I heart my teens?)
I also am grateful to have this platform to share the National School Climate Survey results about LGBTQ students’ experiences in school. The report is long, but I condense much of it to just the highlights to help remind educators what the school climate looks like for so many kids.
One of my main focuses over the years at TLT has been to write about as many LGBTQIA+ YA books as possible to help get these books the exposure they need and to aid in collection development. This tag will take you to those books and posts.
I’ve had a blast writing book reviews, coordinating guest posts, taking part in blog tours, doing cover reveals, hosting giveaways, getting endless book mail, and meeting tons of people through connections with this blog. Here’s to many more years of TLT goodness!
Filed under: Blogiversary
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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