Iron Widow

Outer Banks (TV Show), Screenwriter and Director Jonas Pate

Photo Credit

Bibliographic Information:

TV Series Title: Outer Banks, Episode 1 “Pilot”

Year Released: 2020

Screenwriters: Jonas Pate, Josh Pate, Shannon Burke

Director: Jonas Pate

Producer: Red Canoe Productions, Rock Fish Productions, Netflix

Network Found On: Netflix

Rating: TV-MA

Genre/Format of the Item: TV Show




2020 People’s Choice Award Winner: Best Bingeworthy Show of 2020

2021 MTV Movie and TV Award Winner: Best Kiss

2021 People’s Choice Award Winner: Favorite Drama TV Star: Chase Stokes

Reading Level/Interest Level:


(Netflix, 2020)

Plot Summary: A group of four friends live in the outer banks of North Carolina. The friends hang out mostly in the “Pogue” or poor part of town, while the “Kooks” live in the rich, tourist area. There is an underlying animosity between the two groups which is seen throughout the show. John B is the main character, a teen whose dad has been missing out at sea for the past six months. His next of kin is an uncle that lives far away. John B works and goes to school but lives alone and sometimes makes reckless choices. One day, after a hurricane, the friends find a sunken boat that belongs to a local man who drowned during the storm. The friends explore the boat and realize that it may contain many secrets, including maybe the answers to where John B’s dad is.

Photo Credit TMBD

Director/Screenwriter Background: Jonas Pate was born in North Carolina in a similar type place as the setting in Outer Banks, which gave him the idea for the show (Cash, 2022). Pate and his brother, Josh, had worked together in film prior to this show. They began by making home movies in high school and then teamed up again after college as screenwriters for the film The Grave and The Deceiver. (Cash, 2022). Jonas Pate met his wife in Los Angeles, California. While in LA, Pate directed many shows including NBC shows Deception and Prime Suspect and ABC’s Blood and Oil. Pate moved back to North Carolina with his wife when they had kids (Cash, 2022).

“When I pulled from my own life instead of the movies I’d seen, it all came together,” he says. “You get to the universal by being super specific.”–Jonas Pate

(Cash, 2022, para 12)

Critical Evaluations: The show is very popular with teens. On Common Sense Media, the show receives 4-5 stars from the teen reviewers (Common Sense Media, n.d.). The show is a mix of suspense and drama which can be very appealing to both teens and adults. The teenagers appear to drink alcohol all the time, sometimes first thing in the morning, which seems a little unnecessary, but I think that the producers were trying to convey the lack of parental limitations that these four friends felt. The teens also pretty much do whatever they want with few repercussions. I think that this freedom to do and act in any way can be very fun to watch for teenagers. The scenery is beautiful and the filming is well done and professional. The acting is believable and especially well-like among teens. On Commonsense Media, most of the “kids” reviews mention the drugs/drinking and violence, but they also state that there are positive role models and a really good plot. I think that teenagers will like this show because it is an interesting premise with an appealing cast and beautiful set!

Photo Credit Walter Magazine

Creative Use for a Library Program: This would be a good show to highlight for a mystery/suspense writing workshop. This could last for 4 weeks and include the following: meeting once a week, watching one episode each week and then breaking up into small groups or pairs to develop a mini TV series script. At the end of the four weeks, each group or pair would present an overview of their mini-series, including a rough idea of acting roles, setting, type of filming, and the screenwriting for the first scene of a pilot episode. Each session, a person from the UC Davis Department of Cinema and Digital Media would teach about some aspect of screenwriting in a short presentation.

Speedround/Book Trailer: John B hasn’t given up hope that his dad is still alive. With the support of his friends, he manages to work, go to school (sometimes) and still go about his daily life while living alone. The four friends find a sunken ship one day and John B’s life begins to take on a whole new meaning. Suspense, drama, island living, and mystery will keep you watching the Outer Banks to find out more!

(Wired, 2021)

Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: There are many things in the show Outer Banks that might result in a formal challenge in the library collection. The teenagers engage in drinking and reckless activity, such as evading the law and stealing. I would argue that the behavior is extreme and therefore not entirely believable, even for teens. The premise is exciting and engaging though, and the story does have positive aspects, such as the loyalty the friends show to each other and their neighborhood, the mention of school and pride in their friend doing well in school, and mention of preserving the environment. Teenagers will sometimes engage in drinking and reckless behavior, and the show does show consequences for this reckless behavior. Perhaps if parents watch this show with their teens, it will be a good opportunity to discuss drinking and sex and how these things affect the characters in the show.

Reason for Inclusion: I included this show because it is so popular with teenagers and it is an unusual premise for a TV show. I want this collection to contain entertainment for all teens and I thought that this show was a nice mix of suspense and teen drama. It has a diverse cast and is filmed in a very beautiful place. I think that overall teens will like this show!


Cash, W. (2022, March). One to watch: Outer Banks director Jonas Pate. Walter Magazine.

Common Sense Media (n.d.). Outer Banks.

Netflix. (2020, March 31). Outer Banks trailer [Video]. YouTube.

Wired. (2021, August 13). Outer Banks cast answers webs most asked questions [Video]. YouTube.

4:09 / 15:2


Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

Photo Credit Amazon

Bibliographic Information:

Title: Goddess in the Machine

Author: Lora Beth Johnson

ISBN: 978-1984835949

Publisher: Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC

Publishing Date: 2020

Genre/Format of the Item: Book

Dystopian Fiction

Science Fiction



Reading Level/Interest Level:

Grades 8-12 (NoveList)

Plot Summary: Andromeda (Andra) was never excited about being put in a cryogenic slumber for 100 years, but was willing to go because her parents felt that it was the best thing for their family. Earth was becoming over-crowded and too hot, and a new planet had been found to colonize. Instead of waking up 100 years later, Andra is woken up 1,000 years later. She is all alone and not on the planet of Holymyth. Andra meets Zhane and Lew and they journey through the dangerous desert to find their way to Eerensed. There Zhane faces his half-brother that killed his mom and banished him from the safety of the dome. Andra is revered as the “Third Goddess” but cannot seem to prove herself as a diety, because, well, she isn’t a goddess. The people have put their faith in finding her and hoping that she can be their savior for their crumbling safety zone. Andra and Zhane team up to challenge Merit, the Gov, and his evil mother. Andra learns a lot about herself and her abilities, and faces many challenges along the way. The gripping conclusion will be both startling and exciting!

Photo Credit Lora Beth Johnson

Author Background: Lora Beth Johnson currently lives in Davidson, North Carolina. Johnson is the author of two books, a duology: Goddess in the Machine and its sequel, Devil in the Device. Johnson also teaches college level English (Johnson, n.d.)

Critical Evaluations: I really enjoyed reading this book. Andra is a likable character and it was fun and interesting unraveling her true identity of both herself and Eerensed. The new language spoken by the people of Eerensed is a slangish, shortened version of English and was a little difficult to decipher at first. It became easier to understand over time though, and it added an interesting element to the book. I found the true identity of Andra very surprising in both an exciting and slightly sad way. I think that the characters were developed well and it was easy to become bonded with them quickly in the book. I think that teenagers will enjoy this unique look at technology and the various ways that the future might both interpret and use advanced tech science. The romance between Andra and Zhade was also an added draw that I think will appeal to teens. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and hope to read the sequel to the book soon!

(School Library Journal, 2020)

Creative Use for a Library Program: This book could be used during a teen evening exploring science fiction and AI. The Davis High School Robotics Club could come and give a presentation to interested teens about their program. They could offer a short robotics hands-on learning session and also answer questions about robotics. This book could be highlighted on a table with other science fiction books.

Speedround/Book Trailer: When Andra is woken up from her cryogenic sleeps, she assumes that she will be welcomed by her family on the new planet of Holymout, 100 years in the future. Instead, she finds herself alone and fighting for her life in Eerensed a thousand years after she first went to “sleep”. What went wrong and how can she find her way back to the world that she loves and knows? Find out more in the exciting new novel, Goddess in the Machine, by Lora Beth Johnson!!

(Penguin Teen, 2020)

Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: Possible challenges may include discussions regarding the violence and the presence of AI (artificial intelligence) themes throughout the book. I would argue that science fiction will often include artificial intelligence and that it is a fun topic for teens to read about. The violence is not gruesome but it is present. It is mostly used as a way for the author to highlight the dystopian nature of the colony found at Eerensed. I think that teenagers will enjoy reading about this fierce and fascinating protagonist and her adventures in the year 3102.

Reason for Inclusion: I included this book in my collection because I wanted a dystopian fiction or science fiction book and this novel worked as both! It was an interesting premise that kept my attention the entire book. I think that teens will like Andra and enjoy the twists and turns that Johnson gives her readers!

Read Lora Beth Johnson’s sequel, The Devil in the Device

Photo Credit Lora Beth Johnson


Johnson, L. B. (n.d.). Bio.

Penguin Teen. (2020, June 30). Goddess in the Machine: Official trailer [Video]. YouTube.

School Library Journal (@sljournal). (2020, July 6). “Reminiscent of Moira Young’s “Dustlands” series, this novel by debut author Johnson is a must-purchase for all YA science fiction collections. Highly recommended.” SLJ’s starred review: Goddess in the ­Machine by Lora Beth Johnson [Tweet]. Twitter.

Me (Moth) by Amber McBride

Photo Credit Amazon

Bibliographic Information:

Title: Me (Moth)

Author: Amber McBride

ISBN: 978-1250780362

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publishing Date: 2021

Genre/Format of the Item: Book




Finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

2022 Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent Winner

2022 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist

A School Library Journal Best Book of 2021

Reading Level/Interest Level:

Grades 8-12 (NoveList)

Plot Summary: Moth has lost everything that she loves: her family in a car accident and her grandfather a year prior. She lives with her Aunt Jake who takes little notice of her and eventually leaves her on her own. Her only friend is Sani, a classmate struggling with his own sense of self. Moth and Sani embark on a roadtrip across the United States to return to Sani’s home on the Navajo Reservation. Along the way, Moth and Sani find solace in each other and peace with their identities and lives. They visit important places in their past and share their stories with one another: Moth sharing her grandfather’s Hoodoo tales and Sani sharing his knowledge of Navajo traditional stories and folklore. Once Sani and Moth arrive at the reservation, their connection seems to change. The truth that emerges will change both of their lives.

Photo Credit Amber McBride

Author Background: Amber McBride was born in Germany and traveled around the United States for much of her youth. McBride graduated with a BA in English from James Madison University. McBride then graduated with a Masters in Fine Art in Poetry from Emerson College. She is a professor of English Composition, English Literature, and Introduction to Poetry at various colleges and currently teaches at the University of Virginia. McBride is also a poet and an author of young adult and middle grade books (McBride, n.d.)

(Books are Magic, 2021)

Critical Evaluations: This book left a lasting impression on me. I was completely blind-sided by the ending and went back and reread parts of the book. I haven’t been that surprised by a book in a long time. I thought that it was beautifully written and I think that writing it in poetic form was a perfect format for the story. I think that teenagers will be able to relate to Sani and Moth in many ways. I really like how McBride wove Navajo and Hoodoo culture and folklore into the book. A teen reviewer on Teen Ink stated that, “Overall, I would say that Me (Moth) is a wonderful read for young adults” (Thatcontrolplayer, 2022).

Creative Use for a Library Program: This book would be a good book to use in a library program that explores family traditions and folklore/creation stories. The event could include teens coming to the library for an evening event that includes reading passages of this book aloud and discussing different family folklore. The teens could work in pairs and create their own stories or spoken word poetry that might reflect their lives. There would be food and sharing if the teens wanted.

(Me (Amber McBride) on hiatus, 2022)

Speedround/Book Trailer: Have you ever felt so alone that you just wanted to disappear, but then someone somewhere changes your life forever? This captivating tale of Moth and Sani will change you forever- you will want to reread it as soon as you turn the last page. Read Me (Moth) by Amber McBride to learn how friendship can help you get to where you are destined to be.

Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: This book may be challenged for the content regarding creation stories of the Hoodoo and Navajo cultures. While this may make some people uncomfortable, it is important for teen readers to learn about stories and the lives of people who once inhabited this land and those who were forced into slavery.

Reason for Inclusion: I included this book for many reasons. It left a lasting impression on me and I thought that teenagers would also have a similar feeling. I also really liked how it explored both the Navajo and Hoodoo cultural habits and stories. I think that many teenagers can learn a lot from reading this book.


Books Are Magic. (2021, August 19). ME (MOTH) | Amber McBride & Mahogany L. Browne [Video]. YouTube.

Me (Amber McBride) on hiatus (@ambsmcbride). (2022, June 27). Still speechless & honored & humbled & bundles of gratitude & buckets of joy & oceans of offerings & expansive sky of ancestors & soul-fulls of love. Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award. Endless thanks. @CSKBART_ALA [Tweet]. Twitter.

McBride, A. (n.d.). Press kit.

Thatcontrolplayer (Screen name). (2022, January 10). Me (Moth) the poetic book review. [Review of the book Me (Moth) by Amber McBride]. Teen Ink.

Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall

Photo Credit Amazon

Bibliographic Information:

Title: Our Last Echoes

Author: Kate Alice Marshall

ISBN: 978-0593113646

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Publishing Date: 2021

Genre/Format of the Item: Book





Reading Level/Interest Level:

Grades 9-12 (NoveList)

Plot Summary: Sophia Novak has lived her life in the shadows of events that happened when she was three years old. The story of her mom’s death was told to her by her foster parents and her social worker, but Sophia feels as though she is missing the truth about her past. When Sophia is 18 years old, she travels to Bitter Rock, Alaska to explore the island where mysterious disappearances have been recorded. There she meets Liam Kapoor and Abby Ryder and the employees of LARC (Landon Avion Research Center). Abby has also traveled to Bitter Rock looking for answers about her sister’s death and Liam is the son of Dr. Kapoor, one of the chief scientists at LARC. Slowly, Sophia, Liam, and Abby begin to uncover the truth about what lies in the mist and what really happened so many years ago. Sophia begins to recover more information about her past and who the strange ghost-like people that live on the island and come out in the mist. It becomes the fight for their lives as they try to close the gateway to the seven worlds and the evil that has been released when supernatural forces created that opening.

Photo Credit Kate Alice Marshall

Author Background: Kate Alice Marshall lives outside of Seattle with her husband and two children. She is the author of multiple young adult, middle grade, and short fiction books. Marshall’s books all fall under the horror/thriller genre (Marshall, n.d.).

Critical Evaluations: I really liked that the text of the story was broken up with transcriptions from videos and emails. I think that this added a lot to the story and allowed the author to give a little bit of extra information outside of the story that was taking place in the main text. I think that teenagers will appreciate this addition. I also think that teenagers who like horror books will appreciate this premise. The ending seems to indicate that there could be a sequel, which is nice if you like book series. I thought that the echoes of the main characters were a little confusing at times, but overall, it was a creative story line that kept my attention the entire book.

( Mooresville Public Library, 2021)

Creative Use for a Library Program: This would be a good book to highlight during the month of October. A teen program could include a creative writing series focusing on horror books. The teen librarian could have multiple copies of this book available during the month of October, along with other horror books that involve supernatural forces. The program would include meeting one evening and learning about creative writing techniques, specifically related to horror books. There could be snacks and creepy music playing in the background to make it more interesting.

Speedround/Book Trailer: When Sophie travels back to Bitter Rock, she receives one piece of advice- Do Not Go Out into the Mist!! Sophie is willing to risk it all to find the answer to her mother’s disappearance. Follow Sophie on her journey into the mist and into another world in The Last Echoes!

Photo Credit PenguinRandomhouse

Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: This book might be challenged for the issues of violence and child abandonment and abuse that are found in the book. I would argue that this book is necessary for the library’s collection because it fills a need for horror/thriller fiction that teens seem to really enjoy. I think that the violent scenes are not graphic enough to remove this book from the collection.

Reason for Inclusion: I wanted to have a few books in the horror/thriller genres and this fit the bill for both! Kate Alice Marshall is well known for her creepy YA books and she is generally well-liked among teenagers. The format of the book is interesting, as it includes video transcription, emails, and interviews intermingled throughout the book. I think that teens will like this book.


Marshall, K. A. (n.d.). About. KateMarshallBooks.

Mooresville Public Library. (2021, May 25). Our Last Echoes, by Kate Alice Marshall (MPL Book Trailer 684) [Video]. YouTube.

Super Mario Odyssey directed by Kenta Motokura (Nintendo)

Photo Credit Nintendo

Bibliographic Information:

Title: Super Mario Odyssey

Director/Developer: Kenta Motokura/Nintendo

Rating: Ages 10+

Year of Release: Most Recently Updated in 2019

Number of Players: Single or Double Player

Genre/Format of the Item: Videogame




2018 BAFTA Games Award: Best Family Game

2018 BAFTA Games Award: Best Game Design

2018 Teen Choice Award: Nominee for Best Choice Game

2018 SXSW Gaming Award: Excellence in SFX

Reading Level/Interest Level:

Ages 10+

(Nintendo, 2017)

Plot Summary: The goal of Super Mario Odyssey is for Mario to travel across many different kingdoms in an attempt to rescue Princess Peach from the evil Bowser. Bowser kidnapped Princess Peach because he wants to force her to marry him. Mario is on a mission with his sidekick, Cappy, who also wants to rescue his sister, Tiara. Bowser’s minions, the Broodals, are a gang of mutant rabbits who try to defeat Mario throughout the game. Mario and Cappy must travel across many kingdoms in their airship, The Odyssey, and Mario must find Power Moons to power their ship. The last kingdom is Moon Kingdom, where the wedding will take place. Cappy has the ability to transform Mario into many animals or objects so that Mario can defeat his enemies. Mario and Cappy must battle Bowser one final time, defeat Bowser, and escape out of the moon cave, while rescuing Princess Peach and Tiara. Upon rescuing Princess Peach and Tiara, Mario asks if Princess Peach will marry him. Princess Peach says, ” No way” to both Mario and Bowser and then they all leave the Moon Kingdom and the main game ends.

Photo Credit Nintendo Wiki

Author Background: Nintendo refers to Kenta Motokura as the director of Super Mario Odyssey. Motokura has lived in Japan all of his life. He has worked in the development department for Nintendo since 1999. He graduated from university and immediately began working for Nintendo as a graphic designer. He has been the director on numerous games including Super Mario Odyssey, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Super Mario 3D World. He has also been a designer on many Nintendo games such as Super Mario Galaxy 2, Super Mario 3D Land, and Super Mario Galaxy (Kyoto Report, n.d.).

Critical Evaluations: Super Mario Odyssey is a blast to play. It is frequently a single player game that follows Mario on his quest to save Princess Peach. My favorite part is when Mario finally reaches Princess Peach and also asks for her hand in marriage, she declines both Bowser and Mario!! It’s kind of a silly premise–to save the princess–but it works because the adventure is so much fun. Super Mario Odyssey is brimming with creative details, ensuring that the player will notice something new every time that they play. I have always like the playful and fun artistry of Mario games. I think that Nintendo has done a great job creating new and different games for the Mario characters. I think that teenagers will like this game because it is less about winning and more about the adventure. The reviews on Commonsense Media give the game almost all five star reviews, by both adults and kids. Reviewer Ela2611 of TeenInk states that, “To anyone who loves a good, classic of Super Mario I would definitely recommend this game” (Ela2611, 2022, para 7). Overall, this game gets amazing reviews and is a very fun to play.

Photo Credit Nintendo

Creative Use for a Library Program: A library program for teens that incorporates Super Mario Odyssey could be an evening event in which teens must create an extra kingdom for Mario and Cappy to travel through based on one of their favorite books. There will be a YouTube video of the game in the background and teens will sit around a large table with writing and drawing supplies. The teens will be able to chat and interact while creating new kingdoms. After an hour, the teens can share their new kingdoms with the group and then have a snack and chat some more.

Speedround/Book Trailer: Nintendo has done it again! Super Mario Odyssey is full of adventure and challenges! Help Mario save Princess Peach and Tiara from Bowser’s evil clutches!!

Photo Credit Best Buy

Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: A potential challenge to having this game part of the library collection could be that Bowser intends to force Princess Peach to marry him if Mario doesn’t save her. This antiquated idea that a princess must be saved from a forced marriage is one often told in fairy tales. What I like about this game is that the princess does not agree to marry anyone once she is free! I think that teens would really enjoy this game.

Reason for Inclusion: I included this game in my collection because I think that Mario is an iconic character in video games and this game received very good reviews. I enjoyed playing the game and I think that teenagers also really enjoy playing this game. It is important to have games that are well-known and well-liked in a library game collection.


Ela2611 (Reviewer). (2022, January 5). Super Mario Odyssey, a video game review. TeenInk.

Kyoto Report. (n.d.). Kenta Motokaura.

Nintendo. (2017, January 12). Super Mario Odyssey: Nintendo Switch presents 2017 trailer [Video]. YouTube.

Black Widow (Movie), screenplay by Eric Pearson

Photo Credit IMDb

Bibliographic Information:

Title: Black Widow

Screenplay by : Eric Pearson

Director: Catherine Shortland

Year Released: 2021

Producer: Marvel Studios

Network Found On: Disney +

Genre/Format of the Item: Movie





2022 Screenactors Guild Awards: Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

2021 People’s Choice Awards: Favorite Movie & Favorite Female Movie Star (Scarlett Johanssen

2022 Critic’s Choice Super Awards: Best Actress in a Superhero Movie (Florence Pugh)

Reading Level/Interest Level:


(Marvel Entertainment, 2021)

Plot Summary: The movie opens up when Natasha Romanoff is a young girl and being sent back to the Red Room — an infamous training school for orphan girls. Girls are trained to become assassins and secret Russian spies. The movie fast forwards to the time period after the Marvel movie Captain Ameria: Civil War. The Avengers have broken up and Natasha Romanoff is on the run from the US government. She tries to hide but is being hunted by a trained killer from the leader of the Red Room, Dreykov. Natasha killed Dreykov’s daughter when she was an Avenger and he is looking for revenge. Natasha is reunited with her “sister” Yelena. Together they decide to go after Dreykov and put an end to the Red Room.

Natasha and Yelena decide to enlist their “parents” to help them take out Dreykov. They rescue Alexei (their imposter father) from prison and seek out Melina (their imposter mother). Melina betrays Natasha and Yelena by notifying Dreykov that they are at her house, but then she decides to help them. Much fighting ensues, including a battle between Natasha and Dreykov. The “family” must use all of their resources to take down the enemy and save themselves from destruction in the process.

Photo Credit Collider

Author Background: Eric Pearson has a long history of screenwriting on Marvel movies, such as Thor: Ragnarok, Ant-Man, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame . Pearson is credited as being the main screenwriter for Black Widow (Chitwood, 2021). There is very little information on Eric Pearson.

(Variety, 2021)

Critical Evaluations: I really enjoyed watching this movie. It was action-packed and full of surprises and amazing stunt scenes. The acting was very good, especially by Scarlett Johanssen and Florence Pugh. The subjugation of young girls by an older, white man could be difficult for some viewers, but the movie revolves around the ability of the women to break out of the misogynistic bonds. I think that teenagers will enjoy the stunts, premise, and the acting of Black Widow. The movie ultimately is about female empowerment and the value of family. I was a little confused because I had not seen the movie Captain America: Civil War but I was still able to figure out what was going on enough to enjoy it.

Creative Use for a Library Program: This movie would be a great movie to highlight around Halloween. Perhaps the teen room could be decorated in a Marvel theme and then on the Saturday before Halloween, there could be a Marvel themed costume party. Teens could come and watch Black Widow and then hang out afterwards to socialize for an hour. Teens from the Teen Advisory Group could help organize this.

Speedround/Book Trailer: You may be familiar with the character Black Widow from the Avengers, but do you really know who Natasha Romanoff is? Natasha manages to escape the confines of the Red Room, but she must go back to ultimately free herself and the other “widows” from Dreykov. Watch the powerhouse duo Natasha and Yelena fight for their lives in Black Widow!!

Photo Credit

Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: This movie has an abundance of violent scenes and profanity but it also has strong female protagonists that fight for what they believe is right, even when faced with challenges. This movie emphasizes that family is who you make it and that families can come in many different forms. This is an exciting action film that teenagers will like and want to watch.

Reason for Inclusion: I wanted to include a variety of movies and TV shows. Marvel movies are very popular with teens and I included Black Widow because it speaks to female empowerment and overcoming misogynistic behaviors. I think that teenagers will enjoy this movie!


Chitwood, A. (2021, July 23). ‘Black Widow’ writer Eric Pearson on the Taskmaster twist, his longer Version of the credits scene, and introducing Yelena to the MCU. Collider.

Marvel Entertainment. (2021, April 3). Marvel Studio’s Black Widow: New trailer [Video]. YouTube.

Variety. (2021, June 30). ‘Black Widow’ diretor Cate Shortland on how Scarlett Johansson convinced her to make a Marvel movie [Video]. YouTube.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Photo Credit Amazon

Bibliographic Information:

Title: Dragon Hoops

Author: Gene Luen Yang

Illustrator: Gene Luen Yang

ISBN: 978-1626720794

Publisher: First Second

Publishing Date: 2020

Genre/Format of the Item: Book-Graphic Novel




A 2020 Michael L. Printz Honor Book

School Library Journal 2020 Best Book of the Year

2021 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Teens

Reading Level/Interest Level:

Grades 10-12 (NoveList)

(Yang, 2020)

Plot Summary: Gene Yang began writing this book while he was a high school teacher at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, CA. He found himself fascinated with the high school basketball team’s record and their players. He began to chronicle the team’s successes and failures, along with introducing many of the players. Yang intermingles the history of basketball into the story, offering readers a very palatable history of the sport. Yang writes with compassion and honesty about tough subject matter, including racism, child molestation, and the emotional roller coaster that the team goes through on their journey to success. Yang also discusses his own internal struggle with balancing life and work. He is offered a huge contract by DC Comics and is unsure of whether to take a risk in pursuing his dream.

Photo Credit NPR

Author Background: Gene Luen Yang began writing comics in the fifth grade. Yang has since been awarded numerous awards for his books including being appointed as a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress, Every Child A Reader, and the Children’s Book Council. Yang’s book American Born Chinese was the first graphic novel to win the Michael L. Printz Award. Yang has written numerous comics and graphic novels. Yang is currently also a creative writing professor at Hamline University (Yang, n.d.).

(Fierce Reads, 2020)

Critical Evaluations: Yang’s artwork is engaging and easy to follow. The panels change in size and detail, but this is done to highlight emotions and large events within the book. The colors are somewhat muted but this is appropriate for the subject matter. I really liked how Yang looks at basketball through a very neutral lense, exposing the racism and sexism that took place. He also mentioned how one player asked this his hair be drawn differently in order to differentiate his ethnicity from some of the other players. Yang listened to him and changed the character’s hair. This is a perfect example of Yang’s approach to his writing and his life. I think that teens will really enjoy this book, especially if they are interested in sports. I think that the format as a graphic novel allows this book to be enjoyed be a wide audience, regardless of their feelings about basketball. The book is about the lives of the players and their team dynamics, but it is also about taking chances and finding the inner strength to stand up for what you believe in.

Creative Use for a Library Program: This book would be an excellent title to highlight for a teen sports in writing night. Teens could come to the library for an event. The teen librarian would find interesting non-fiction and fiction books with sports as the theme. Teens could create their own mini book ideas and offer each other speed talks on their future book. There could be ping-pong and darts for the teens to play afterwards (easy indoor sports for a library room!).

Photo Credit Macmillan

Speedround/Book Trailer: Dragon Hoops follows a high school basketball team as they work towards winning a state championship. This book is about the players, and their lives, and the camaraderie that forms when people put so much of themselves into their passion. Yang’s dedication to telling the true story of this team is evident in his work! Read Dragon Hoops to find out more!

Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: Perhaps a patron may disagree with the discussion of religion and its influence on basketball. Yang discusses the history of basketball and the rise of Catholic school basketball teams and stars. I would defend this book as important for my collection because Yang perspective is that of a historian. He is merely telling what he has researched. This book works to defy many stereotypes and work through difficult subject matter. It won a Printz award for its literary merit and deserves a place in the library’s collection.

Reason for Inclusion: I included this book because I wanted to have very diverse authors in my blog. Yang is offers his readers a down-to-earth look at the history of basketball and the grit and dedication that it takes to succeed in high school basketball. I wanted a book with a sports theme and having it in a graphic novel format makes it enjoyable for all readers, whether they are sports fans or not.


Fierce Reads. (2020, March 10). Dragon Hoops Book Trailer [Video]. YouTube.

Yang, G. L. (n.d.) About.

Yang, G. L. (@geneluenyang). (2020, November 9). Dragon Hoops won the 2020 Harvey Award for Book of the Year! Superman Smashes the Klan won the 2020 Harvey Award for Best Children’s or Young Adult Book! @01FirstSecond @ODowdAthletics @DCComics @DCComicsKids@DCSuperman [Tweet]. Twitter.

Sour (Music Album) by Olivia Rodrigo

Photo Credit Spotify

Bibliographic Information:

Artist: Olivia Rodrigo

Album Title: Sour

Producer: Geffen Records

Release Date: 2021

Genre/Format of the Item: Music Album

Pop Culture


2021 Winner American Music Awards – New Artist of the Year

2022 Grammy Winner for three awards: Best Pop Solo Performance “Drivers License”, Best Pop Vocal Album Sour, Best New Artist

2022 Billboard Music Award: Top New Artist, Top Female Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Streaming Songs Artist, Top Radio Songs Artist, Top Billboard 200 Album Sour

Reading Level/Interest Level:

Olivia Rodrigo is 17 years old and is extremely popular with teens and is featured multiple times in Teen Vogue.

(Olivia Rodrigo, 2021-a)

Plot Summary: Olivia Rodrigo’s album Sour is a perfect blend of love, heartache, anger, and attitude. “Brutal” is reminiscent of 1990 girl punk bands and is an excellent introduction into the album. Throughout the album, Rodrigo sings about her insecurities with defiance and spunk. Many of the songs, including “Traitor”, “Drivers License”, and “Deja Vu” are soulful love songs sung to a lost love. Sour brings the listener along a journey of love and loss.

Photo Credit

Author/Musician Background: Olivia Rodrigo was born in California. She started singing lessons at the age of 5 and began writing her own songs soon after that. She started acting lessons at the age of 6 and was able to secure roles in the TV shows “Bizaardvark” and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” Rodrigo released her first song “Drivers License” in 2021 and became an overnight music sensation. The song became the number 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the youngest person to gain this status. “Drivers License” became the first song that was streamed more than 1 billion times in 2021 ( Editors, 2022).

Critical Evaluations: Rodrigo is able to speak to teenagers by exposing her flaws, insecurities, and heartache. Rodrigo’s voice carries the listener directly into her heart and leaves the listener raw with emotion. I loved the way that I was left feeling the emotions of the song. I think that teenagers will be able to identify and relate to many of the songs on the album Sour. Olivia Rodrigo has many articles about her songs, style, and personal life in Teen Vogue. She has definitely left an impression on teens. In an article for The Teen Magazine, Malak Kandil dissects Rodrigo’s songs and states that, “All of us can easily relate to Olivia Rodrigo, maybe not the fame and fortune, but definitely the feeling of being gutted by heartbreak” (Kandil, 2021, para 1). Rodrigo’s songs are heartfelt and beloved by many.

Creative Use for a Library Program: This album would be good to highlight for a teen event that highlights famous teenage people. This could be a mix of successful artists, writers, and activists. Teens could read and learn about how teenagers have been able to become successful and they can talk with college recruitment volunteers to learn more about what programs are available at both junior colleges and universities in the Sacramento and Bay Areas.

Photo Credit Apple Music

Speedround/Book Trailer: Listen to teen sensation Olivia Rodrigo’s album Sour. Heartwrenching, beautiful, angry, and lyrical, this album will leave you obsessed immediately. The winner of three Grammys, Rodrigo’s voice will follow you long after the music stops.

Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: The lyrics may be challenged due to some profanity. This album has won multiple awards and is praised highly by both teens and adults. I would defend this material as appropriate because it is important to recognize the language and feelings of teenagers. This album was created by a teenager and is beloved by teens all around the world.

Photo Credit (Olivia Rodrigo, 2021-b)

Reason for Inclusion: I included Olivia Rodrigo’s album Sour in my blog because she is a very talented musician and is very popular with teenagers. I think it is important for teens to see a successful teenage musician. I think that many teens can relate to Rodrigo’s lyrics.

References: Editors. (2022, April 4). Olivia Rodrigo Biography.

Kandil, M. (2021, September 10). How teenagers can relate to Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour. The Teen Magazine.

Rodrigo, O. (2021, May 12-a). Olivia Rodrigo: Sour album trailer [Video]. YouTube.

Rodrigo, O. (2021, January 7-b). Olivia Rodrigo: Drivers License (Official Video) [Video]. YouTube.

Special (Music Album) by Lizzo

Photo Credit Apple Music

Bibliographic Information:

Artist: Lizzo

Album Title: Special

Producer: Nice Life Recording Company and Atlanta Recording Corporation

Release Date: 2022

Genre/Format of the Item: Music Album

Pop Culture



Reading Level/Interest Level:

Previous albums were rated 13+ (Commonsense Media)

Photo Credit Amazon

Album Summary: Lizzo sings about her life over the past few years, including during the pandemic, and of where she is now. Her songs speak of her feelings about her body, her self-image and self-confidence, her friendships, and love interests. . Lizzo’s song have a retro sound to them, mixed with dance party tunes and her sultry voice. The first half of the album is loud, emotive, and overflowing with defiance; the second half of the album has a smooth, quieter, introspective feel to it.

Author/Musician Background: Lizzo was born in Detroit Michigan. Her name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson and she grew up in a house that loved all kinds of different music and musicians. The name Lizzo comes from a combination of a nickname of Lissa and the artist Jay-Z’s song “Izzo”. Lizzo played the flute prior to becoming a singer in elementary school and high school. She also rapped and formed small music groups in high school. Lizzo earned a music scholarship for the flute to Houston University. She left the university to pursue a music career in her junior year. She met the artist Prince and even made an appearance on his album Plectrumelectrum (2014). Her first album was Cuz I Love You in 2019. She has won three Grammy Awards since then ( Editors, 2022).

Critical Evaluations: While this album has an abundance of profane language, the songs are catchy, soulful, and absolutely likable. Lizzo has given a voice to women who may struggle from body image issues and has shown the world that loving oneself is of utmost importance. She is a strong, confident Black woman who is not afraid to show her feelings or her body. This is very important for all teens to see and hear. Shortly after Lizzo’s song “Grrrls” was released, Lizzo received a lot of backlash about the use of the word “spaz” in her lyrics. It can be a slur for disabled people. Lizzo responded immediately by apologizing for her mistake on social media and changing the lyric and rereleasing the song (Walsh, 2022). This speaks volumes about the person that Lizzo is and integrity of her music. I think that this album is one that many teens can relate to and will enjoy.

(Lizzo Music, 2022)

Creative Use for a Library Program: I think that this music would be great to use for a teen library dance party. This could happen in the summer and be a way for teens to come to the library and feel comfortable being themselves there. This could be a summer reading program special event. If teens finish the reading program,then they could be invited to an end of the summer dance party. There would be music, food, and books to check out of course!

Speedround/Book Trailer: It’s easy to see why Lizzo’s brand new album is titled Special ! Lizzo has rocked the music world with her new album! Packed with new sounds and deep feelings, Lizzo’s new album is not to be missed!

Photo Credit

Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: This album may be challenged for the profane language used in some songs. Although there is some profanity, the songs are empowering to females, especially women of color. The language is not uncommon for teenagers to hear or use, and therefor is not a reason to not listen to the album.

Reason for Inclusion: I love Lizzo’s music and her positive body image and self-assurance that is portrayed in her music. I wanted to have a diverse and inclusive selection in my blog, and I think that Lizzo is an artist that is both popular and a positive role model for teens.

References: Editors. (2022, January 4). Lizzo.

Lizzo Music. (2022, April 14). Lizzo: About damn time [Official Video] [Video]. YouTube.

Walsh, K. (2022, June 14). Lizzo changed her song lyrics in response to criticism, like a queen. Glamour.

Hotel Magnifique (Audiobook) by Emily J. Taylor

Photo Credit Amazon

Bibliographic Information:

Title: Hotel Magnifique

Author: Emily J. Taylor

Narrators: Suzy Jackson and Simon Hedger

ISBN: 978-0593404515

Publisher: Razorbill (Listening Library published audiobook)

Publishing Date: 2022

Genre/Format of the Item: Audiobook

Magical Fantasy




Reading Level/Interest Level:

Grade 8-12 (NoveList)

Photo Credit Amazon

Plot Summary: Jani and Zosa are orphans living in the town of Durc and yearning to travel back to their home country someday. The mysterious Hotel Magnifique promises to solve all of their problems, as it is a magical hotel that travels the world and pays its employees well. The sisters are hired on as workers but Jani soon finds that the hotel has many secrets hidden within its walls. As Jani tries to find out what lies behind the magic, she begins to form relationships with the other coworkers. Bel,the grand suminaire that is in charge of moving the hotel every night, becomes her confidant and friend, even when Jani is demoted to a kitchen worker.

Jani realizes that Alistair, the maître d’hôtel, is evil and becomes determined to find a way to free herself and Zosa from the grips of his control. Jani finds herself drawn to Bel in a way that she has never felt before. She struggles with trusting him because of his shadowy past, but realizes that his inability to speak freely comes from being trapped in the hotel for many years. Jani suddenly finds herself in a place that she never imagined and must make choices that could end in disaster. Jani learns a lot about herself and the power within that she never knew existed until her stay in the hotel.

Photo Credit Penguin Random House

Author Background: Emily Taylor was born and raised in California but currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is currently working as a creative director in Minnesota (Taylor, n.d.).

Critical Evaluations: I really enjoyed listening to Hotel Magnifique. The narrators’ voices were very pleasant to listen to and I feel as though they did an excellent job giving each character a different “voice”. Their voices spoke with emotion and clarity and I felt immersed in the story immediately. There was not a lot of background music which was appropriate for the story. The story itself was very good. The characters were well-developed and the story was engaging and interesting. I liked the French influence in the book because it gave the story a bit of an old, gothic feel. I think that Emily Taylor did a great job of balancing fantasy with realism. I liked the variety of characters that Taylor used as well. I think that many teens will enjoy reading or listening to this book because it offers readers a magical world of fear and intrigue.

Creative Use for a Library Program: This book would be good to use around a Halloween theme at the library. This could be a “haunted hotel” that teens must go through, with characters from this book and a mystery that teens must solve. Teens will be encouraged to read this book first because some of the clues to escaping the hotel will be directly from the book, similar to an escape room, but on a larger scale, using the whole library one night.

(Taylor, 2022)

Speedround/Book Trailer: For Zosa and Jani, life in Durc is almost unbearable. One day, the Hotel Magnifique comes to town promising them an escape from their dreary lives. Once onboard, the sisters enter into a fight for their lives, as magic and power threaten to take everything away from them, including each other. Can Jani find a way to break their contracts and leave in one piece? Read or listen to The Hotel Magnifiqu by Emily Taylor to find out more!

(EmilyReadsBooks, 2022)

Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: This book may be challenged for the use of magic and the scenes of bodily harm done to some of the characters. The torture scenes are not gory or particularly brutal, but they are meant to cause fear in the characters. These scenes help to create a clear distinction between good and evil throughout the book.

Reason for Inclusion: I chose to include this audiobook in my collection because the premise was unusual and completely engaging. The book had diverse characters that were captivating immediately. I think that this will appeal to many teens.


EmilyReadsBooks. (2022, May 31). My most anticipated book of the year! Hotel Magnifique review [Video]. YouTube.

Taylor, E. J. (n.d.). Home page.

Taylor, E. L. [@emilycanwrite]. (2022, April 5). Hotel Magnifique is out today! Finally! It’s my dark and twisty story of a girl who goes to work at a legendary traveling hotel. It’s full of mystery, wanderlust, and magic. Just don’t touch the oranges. #hotelmagnifique [Tweet]. Twitter.