America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
Publisher Promotes Hot YA Titles to Middle Schools
By Walter Bowne
Dear Directors of Language Arts:
I’m writing to inform you of the exciting titles on tap at Boontown Books for 2013! Are your teachers and students tired of the same old language arts curriculum? The Outsiders? To Kill a Mockingbird? Diary of Anne Frank? Big yawn, right?
Our teacher-advisors and student panels have expressed concern that today’s children just don’t like to read. And is it any wonder? Many have suggested that our middle school reading selections, while classics, may be the problem. We hope that these new titles will encourage reading and stimulate critical thinking skills - as well as entertain today’s multi-tasking youth.
Instead of Elie Wiesel’s Night, why not offer Joonie Jukes’ Day, an uplifting account of a summer camp in Maine where a dangerous, directionless gal of fourteen, with a history of huffing and cutting, discovers the beauty of flowers, woodland creatures, and mists over meadows. Conflict arises in the guise of a dark-clothed and black-booted camp counselor. But with the help of woodland friends, she’s able to conquer all.
In The Yellow Wolf Badge of Cowardice, this sure-to-be YA bestseller by Clive Clovenham’s charts the descent of a twelve-year Michigan boy as he’s thrust into the complex right-wing world of the Michigan Militia called The American Christian Defense League and the even more nefarious, The Boy Scouts of America. In order to get his Wolf Badge, he needs to hunt down three town liberals and tie them neatly using a clove-hitch knot. It’s his first day of militia boot camp, and he trembles to hold a gun. In a riveting development, he develops feelings for his youth scout leader, who also happens to be a quarter African-American and a member of the ACLU. Not only does our twelve-year old Scout prefer espresso, but he also fancies hummus, couscous, and baby carrots, and he fears his father knows all - which of course in Northern Michigan means the firing squad.
We’re all excited here to offer an updated Of Mice and Men. This is a new look at the old theme of friendship and the American Dream. In this new novel by YA author Peter Yules Dellingforth called Of Cabbages and Kings, our two tramps find themselves homeless and eating dried cheese from discarded pizza boxes in the alleys off 13th and Arch in Philadelphia. They find work in a dirty barbershop that’s run by a transsexual who provides services other than a mere cut and a shave. Edgy? You bet! But the best laid plans of our two friends’ dream of owning a piece of the American Dream in a row home in Kensington goes awry when the “dumb” but “sweet one” strangles one of the customers by accident in a bizarre sexual fetish. And his best friend then needs to decide whether to dump him into the Schuylkill or to use his friend as a drug mule. We guarantee students will shun Facebook and texting while reading this gripping tale of the just-out-of-reach American Dream.
How about To Raise a Rainbow by Wilma Katheter? A young male of undetermined ethnicity finds a new home with lesbian farmers who live in Kearny, Nebraska. Working the tractors and negotiating the cornfields, this EveryTeenager eventually grows bored of tractors and decides to open his own piercing pagoda and tattoo parlor downtown with a loan from his indulgent parents. The town gets in an uproar with all “Millennials” with blue hair and snake eyes piercings and nipple piercings and tramp stamps. The “old timers” refuse to hire the young workers because they say “they scare young children.” Generational Civil War descends upon Kearny. Who will survive? Will the troubled youth find their rainbow? Will his lesbian parent farmers dye their hair pink too? And best of all? It’s a graphic novel so there won’t be any issue with reading! It’s all pictures! Your middle schoolers will LOVE this book!
Are your readers having difficulty imagining a boarding school not run by witches and wizards? Forget A Separate Peace and start the New Year with Sal Leperino’s A Dead Place. It’s a follow-up to his stellar success of My Mother is a Vampire, My Father is a Zombie, And I’m Just Normal. This new novel surrounds a boarding school in the swamps of Oregon that’s full of young and eager vampires. There are the popular vampires and the unpopular vampires, and then there’s Drackkoo, the outcast who turns inward to discover what being a vampire is all about. After all, God loves all His creatures - even those who are Undead. The type is set in red - as if penned in blood with dramatic splatter!
And for our final YA selection, we’ll take a new look at The Wizard of Oz with a new novella called Bitches Get Stitches by Dorothy Dixie. There’s a new heroine for the modern times called Soulja; a down-on-her-luck ne’er-do-well who finds herself transported to the mean streets of Detroit looking for a mad fix as she struggles with heroin addiction. On 7th Mile, she meets a series of hustlers, pimps, and charlatans who lead her to the magic palace along Highway I-90 East; in this case, the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. It’s a road-trip-buddy-story for the 21st. century. The surprise ending leads to happy faces, tears, and Amish salvation. Despite the adult themes, the struggle for survival in post-racial America is a timeless theme.
Teachers can spend the months analyzing its eternal themes. And best of all, an order of 100 books entitles the teacher access to DVD instructionals, online versions that bring the drama to life, “Read-To-Me-Like-My-Ma-Should’ve” features, online lesson plans, online quizzes and tutorials, and our state of the art retinal laser scan tablet that buzzes, zaps, and shakes when a student’s eyeball wanders from the words. All students and teachers need to do is log in, sit back, relax, and we’ll lead them on a literary journey of a lifetime.
We hope you have enjoyed our preview. Again, we do offer huge discounts for orders over one thousand copies. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I hope you all have an enjoyable summer. Happy reading!!!
Honoria Barbé-Marbois Marketing and Sales Boontown Books Avenue of the Americas