Chicago Reads: Upcoming YA Book Events (Sept/Oct 2017)

Chicago is lucky to be home to many independent bookstores, which host authors for a wide variety of readings, signings, and panels. Check out these upcoming Chicago-area YA events, and let us know about any author events we missed in the comments!

TheDateToSave
THE DATE TO SAVE

Stephanie Kate Strohm (in conversation with ChiYA’s own Gloria Chao!)
Friday, September 15 at 7:3o PM
The Book Cellar (Lincoln Square)

Release
RELEASE
Patrick Ness
Friday, September 22 at 7:00 PM
Center Stage Theater (Naperville)

SCBWIpanel
SCBWI Presents: How Children’s Books Will Save Us
James Klise
Patricia Hruby Powell
Michelle Falkoff
Natasha Tarpley
Suzanne Slade
Thursday, September 28 at 6:30 PM
57th Street Books (Hyde Park)

OliverSilvera
RINGER and THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END
Lauren Oliver
Adam Silvera
Thursday, October 5 at 7:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

Fierce Reads Panel Authors and Books
Fierce Reads Tour
Caleb Roehrig
Jennifer Mathieu
Mitali Perkins
Anna-Marie McLemore
Sunday, October 8 at 2:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

Turtles
TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN
John Green
Saturday, October 21 at 7:00 PM
Community Christian Church (Naperville)
Note: As of September 12, this event was sold out.

Anderson’s Bookshop in Downers Grove hosts a monthly GenYA Book Group, which will be discussing John Corey Whaley’s HIGHLY ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOR in September and Erin Jade Lange’s REBEL, BULLY, GEEK, PARIAH in October.

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This post is brought to you by Lizzie Cooke at ChiYAwriters.com.

Finding the Write Place: Kitchen Sink

Finding the Write Place is an occasional series on ChiYAwriters.com that highlights some of our favorite places to write here in the Windy City.

KITCHEN SINK

1107 W. Berwyn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
Monday-Friday: 6:30am – 5pm
Weekends: 7:30am – 5pm

(Hours subject to change. Please check the Kitchen Sink website for up-to-date hours.)

Noise level: quiet (most people working/studying alone or with one other person)

Availability of space: moderately crowded (it’s a small space, but I’ve always found a seat)

Bathrooms: yes

Food: yes (breakfast and lunch menus with vegetarian options, plus pastries)

Wifi: free with password

Outlets: some (along the walls)

Kitchen Sink is a cozy neighborhood cafe in Edgewater, just steps from the Berwyn Red Line stop. It’s a great place to grab coffee or a light, healthy lunch and get some work done. They also serve breakfast and pastries all day. The food is fresh and creative, with plenty of options for everyone. In summer, you can soak up the sunshine at outdoor tables, and in winter, a skylight keeps the back of the shop nice and bright. The music, which tends toward acoustic folk, is set low enough that it’s not intrusive.

Kitchen Sink has a fairly small seating area and most people seem to go there to work, so I wouldn’t recommend it for large groups. However, with its quiet, cozy atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to sit and write for a few hours alone or with a friend.

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This post is brought to you by Lizzie Cooke at ChiYAwriters.com.

Chicago Reads: Upcoming YA Book Events (May/June 2017)

Chicago is lucky to be home to many independent bookstores that host authors for a wide variety of readings, signings, and other events. Check out these upcoming Chicago-area events with YA authors, and if you notice any are missing, add them in the comments!

THE PEARL THIEF
Elizabeth Wein
Thursday, May 4 at 7:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

 


ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN
and WINDFALL
Jenny Han
Jennifer E. Smith
Monday, May 8 at 7:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (La Grange)


ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN
and WINDFALL
Jenny Han
Jennifer E. Smith
Tuesday, May 9 at 6:30 PM
The Book Stall (Winnetka)


THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC
Crystal Cestari
Friday, May 19 at 7:00 PM
The Book Cellar (Lincoln Square)

 


AND WE’RE O
FF
Dana Schwartz
Tuesday, May 23 at 6:30 PM
The Book Stall (Winnetka)

 


EPIC READS MEET-UP TOUR
Joelle Charbonneau
Kimberly McCreight
Julie Murphy
Evelyn Skye
Thursday, June 8 at 7:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

 

Anderson’s Bookshop in Downers Grove also hosts a monthly GenYA Book Group, which will be discussing Adam Silvera’s MORE HAPPY THAN NOT in May. And don’t forget about the many conferences happening this summer, including ALA Annual right here in Chicago!

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From A to Z: Imagination as Empathy

From A to Z is an occasional series on ChiYAwriters.com that examines the nuts and bolts of the writing (and publishing) process.

Mohsin Hamid empathy quoteSometime in the early 2010s, I heard an interview with a woman who was homeless. She lived in a car with her children, and she said the worst part was at night when she would try not to wake up the children with her crying.

This story stayed with me and eventually became the very real inspiration for a fictional story. Instead of writing the mother’s perspective, I imagined the experience of one of her children. In my mind, this teenage child was not sleeping but rather pretending to sleep while listening to his mother’s tears.

Writing is an intimate exercise in empathy. I would never claim to know the exact dimensions of another person’s experiences, but through writing, I can take what I know of life and use it to imagine others’ lives. For example, I have not been homeless, but I have slept in a car. I know the stiffness that comes from spending the night at crooked angles. And I have not faced food insecurity, but I have skipped meals. I know the dull ache and distracted attention that come with hunger. The specificity of the details is what creates the illusion of reality, so I start with my own experiences and extrapolate from there to create the landscape of my characters’ lives, inside and out.

And when it comes to the important things, to fear and jealousy and love and longing, I don’t have to stretch too far. I have felt all of these emotions myself, and although the reasons might differ, the result is the same. Much as an actor draws on her own personal history—her own moments of shame and pride, of joy and sorrow, of anger and calm—I unearth my own deep wells of emotion to reveal these feelings in my characters.

So when my main character, Ben, hears his mother crying in the car at night, I can feel not only the pain of being crammed sideways in the passenger seat of a car but also the pain of witnessing another person’s grief and being unable to do anything about it.

And if I have done my job properly, my readers will feel the same.

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This post is brought to you by Lizzie Cooke at ChiYAwriters.com.

Chicago Reads: Upcoming YA Book Events (February/March 2017)

yabookeventsfebruary

Chicago is lucky to be home to many independent bookstores that host authors for a wide variety of readings, signings, and other events. Check out these upcoming Chicago-area events with YA authors, and if you notice any are missing, add them in the comments!

CARAVAL
Stephanie Garber
Saturday, February 11 at 2:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

THE LAST OF AUGUST
Brittany Cavallaro
Wednesday, February 22 at 7:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

#FAMOUS
Jilly Gagnon
Friday, February 24, 2017 at 7:00 PM
The Book Cellar (Lincoln Square)
*wear your favorite formalwear to this prom-themed book launch!

SPLINTER
Sasha Dawn
Saturday, March 4th at 2:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

FUTURE THREAT
Elizabeth Briggs
Sunday, March 5 at 3:00 PM
The Book Stall (Winnetka)

HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD
Kelly Jensen
Thursday, March 9 at 1:00 PM
The Book Stall (Winnetka)

HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD
Kelly Jensen and Mikki Kendal
Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Women & Children First (Andersonville)

THE INEXPLICABLE LOGIC OF MY LIFE
Benjamin Alire Saenz
Thursday, March 9 at 4:00 PM
The Book Cellar (Lincoln Square)

THE INEXPLICABLE LOGIC OF MY LIFE
Benjamin Alire Saenz
Friday, March 10th at 7:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

NATIONAL YOUTH POET LAUREATE CONVOCATION
Jacqueline Woodson
Saturday, March 11 at 6:00 PM
The Poetry Foundation (River North)

SEVEN DAYS OF YOU
Cecilia Vinesse
Thursday, March 30th at 7:00 PM
Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville)

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This post is brought to you by Lizzie Cooke at ChiYAwriters.com.

Finding the Write Place: Sip & Savor in Hyde Park

Finding the Write Place is an occasional series on ChiYAwriters.com that highlights some of our favorite places to write here in the Windy City.

SIP & SAVOR

5301 S. Hyde Park
(Del Prado Building)
Chicago, IL 60615
Mon – Fri: 6am – 8pm
Saturday 7am – 8pm
Sunday: 7am – 6pm
Major Holidays 8am-3pm

(Hours subject to change. Please check the Sip & Savor website for up-to-date hours.)

Noise level: moderately quiet (some conversations but also lots of people working/studying)

Availability of space: moderately crowded (a steady stream of customers but I’ve never had trouble finding a seat)

Bathrooms: yes (with key from counter)

Food: yes (menu of light breakfast items, soups, smoothies, and baked goods)

Wifi: free with password

Outlets: some (especially at tables near the walls and at counters along the windows)

Sip & Savor is a neighborhood coffee shop that’s fast becoming an institution in Hyde Park. Adjacent to Harold Washington Park and just blocks from the Lake Michigan shorefront, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the University of Chicago, it’s a great place to grab a coffee and get some work done before exploring the nearby sites. In summer, outside tables allow you to feel like you’re practically in the park, and in winter, large glass windows with counter seats allow you to enjoy the view while staying warm and cozy inside.

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Trez V. Pugh, III (Photo via sipandsavorchicago.com)

According to President and CEO Trez V. Pugh, III, “Our goal at Sip and Savor is to capture the positive energy and excitement of Chicago neighborhoods. In recent years, Hyde Park and Bronzeville has welcomed burgeoning revitalization: restoration of historic buildings along with development of new businesses and an influx of professionals making the community home. I am proud to say that Sip and Savor is a part of this positive movement. We call ourselves ‘Globally Local’ – we offer the finest coffee and teas from around the globe, while complimenting them with pastries from local bakeries. We strive to become your neighborhood coffee shop of choice.”

The website also notes, “All of our coffees are certified fair trade, and in some cases, certified organic and shade grown.  This means that the products you buy maintain biodiversity, provide shelter for migratory birds and help reduce global warming.”

In addition to the Hyde Park location, there is a Sip & Savor at 528 E. 43rd Street in Bronzeville. According to a DNAinfo article from October, Pugh plans to open two additional locations at 2239 S. Michigan Ave and 4600 S. Michigan Ave (Rosenwald Court Apartments), with a possible fifth shop in the works.

Sip & Savor has a rewards program for frequent customers. If you enroll, you will also receive occasional text alerts about special deals. (I receive no more than one or two texts per month.) The Hyde Park location is conveniently located next to a stop for the Number 6 CTA bus, which runs express downtown.

I would recommend Sip & Savor as a place to sit and write for a few hours, grab coffee and chat quietly with a friend, or stop in for a snack on your way to a book reading at the University of Chicago or my favorite neighborhood bookstore, 57th Street Books.

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Examples of Excellence: Amélie Sarn on Love, Hate, & Longing

Examples of Excellence is an occasional series on ChiYAwriters.com that delves into the work of artists who demonstrate excellence in their craft.

bookcover_iloveihateimissmysister

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister
By Amélie Sarn

Sohane loves no one more than her beautiful, carefree younger sister, Djelila. And she hates no one as much. They used to share everything. But now, Djelila is spending more time with her friends, partying, and hanging out with boys, while Sohane is becoming more religious.

When Sohane starts wearing a head scarf, her school threatens to expel her. Meanwhile, Djelila is harassed by neighborhood bullies for not being Muslim enough. Sohane can’t help thinking that Djelila deserves what she gets. But she never could have imagined just how far things would go. . .

I didn’t intend to write about this book. Honestly, I don’t feel qualified to write about this book.

But it won’t let me go.

“These young girls came here expecting hospitality and warmth, and here we are giving them morality lessons. . . I know that each one of us has to find her own path, and that it shouldn’t keep us from laughing, singing, and dancing together.”

– p. 101

At a time when everyone seems to feel that their beliefs—that their very way of life—is under attack, the sisters in this story show that different ways of life can coexist in harmony. Or they can collide in terrible tragedy.

It’s our choice.

Sohane: “You know how I hate seeing girls exposing themselves on billboards and in magazines. I don’t want to be like them. That’s not what it means to be a woman. I need to be respected.”

Djelila: “I want to be respected too . . . Without having to disappear or hide my face.”

– p. 57

Djelila and Sohane are two sisters of Algerian descent growing up in France. They live with their parents in a largely Muslim community, where not everyone agrees what it means to be Muslim or what it means to be French.

Together, Sohane and Djelila beautifully demonstrate the multiplicity of narratives that inform feminism. And their differences highlight the importance of a feminism that does not demand uniformity. A feminism that respects equally the choice to wear a head scarf and to dye your hair. The choice to conceal and to reveal.

Because it’s the choice that matters.

Djelila: “I don’t want to live in fear. I don’t want my choices to be dictated by fear. I don’t want to be what others have decided I should be. I want to be myself.”

– p. 131

Sohane: “I just want to be me. I don’t want to be ashamed of being Muslim and of practicing my religion. I’d like people to accept that. I don’t intend to harm anyone.”

– p. 86

Djelila and Sohane want the same things. They want to live freely and without fear. And without anyone else feeling fearful of them.

But their communities—their Muslim neighborhood, their secular school, their Algerian relatives, their French teachers—force them to choose one side or the other. Force them to fit into narrow boxes. Force them, really, to have no choice at all.

And the results are devastating.

Most journalists talk about what they do not know, about matters they don’t take the trouble to understand. They adopt the clichés that suit them—take one aspect of an issue until it becomes a caricature. . . I can’t say that this isn’t reality. But it’s only one reality among many.

– p. 55

This heartbreaking book shows us why diverse stories matter, in journalism and in fiction. Why we need many narratives. Why we need to weave a tapestry, not consign ourselves to a single thread. A thread that so often trips us up.

Amélie Sarn takes care to avoid stereotypes and clichés in telling this story. Despite the conflicts in Sohane and Djelila’s wider communities, Sarn paints their family’s apartment as a warm sanctuary. She paints their mother and father as supportive, loving parents who fight for the right of one daughter to play basketball and the other to wear a head scarf.

Clearly, this story touched me. I want everyone to read it. Not because I think it’s perfect. But because I want to discuss it. I want to hear what you think of it. Yes, I feel it brings nuance and complexity to an all-too-often simplified subject. And I want that nuance to be shared. But I also want to know what this book misses.

I want to see what other threads we can add to this tapestry.

[W]e dreamt of a life that we would build, a life in which no one would step on our feet, in which we would walk with our heads raised. The world had better watch out!

– p. 62

In a political climate fueled by fear, this book is a reminder that the world is wide enough for all of us. There’s no need to feel that your way of life is in jeopardy just because someone else chooses to live a different life. There’s no need to believe that opening the door to many diverse narratives closes the door on your singular story. There’s no need to fear those who are different from you. Or to make them fear you.

The world was wide enough for Sohane and Djelila.
And, I promise, the world is wide enough for you and me.

Notes:

The author, Amélie Sarn, is French, but as far as I could determine, she is not Muslim or of Algerian descent. She mentions in the acknowledgments that she sought guidance from those in the Muslim community. As someone who is not French, Algerian, or Muslim myself, I cannot fully comment on the accuracy or sensitivity of the representation in this book. It appears well researched, but I welcome and encourage other responses, especially from those who are members of the depicted cultures.

To start the discussion, here are two other perspectives on this book:
Review by Sarah Hannah Gómez
Review by Ruzaika Rifaideen

This book was originally published in French. I read the English translation by Y. Maudet. If you’ve never read French prose before, you might be surprised by how spare it is, but I urge you not to mistake this book’s brevity for a lack of depth. On the contrary, its short passages delve so deeply into the subject matter and its simple descriptions are so raw that reading this book is like trying to hold a burning coal in your bare hands. Yes, it’s that intense and packed with heat.

I use the expression “the world is wide enough” with all due respect and acknowledgement to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrics in the song “The World Was Wide Enough” from the musical Hamilton. Miranda wrote that line based on a quote from Aaron Burr, who in turn lifted the phrasing from Laurence Stern’s novel Tristram Shandy. For more on the history behind this line, see the Genius annotation of Miranda’s song.

Please be advised that this book contains a scene of graphic violence against a young woman.

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