Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I think are cool:
14 Children’s Books with Multiracial Families http://buff.ly/1tM49c3
The best children’s books on Iran | The Guardian http://buff.ly/101XX2b
Q & A with Chris Van Allsburg http://buff.ly/1nBpMcT
We Need Diverse Books | Indiegogo http://buff.ly/1rzLrxv
What We Can All Learn From ‘Percy Jackson’ — and Reading Kid Lit As a Whole | Bustle http://buff.ly/1tM3bMF
10 Favorite LGBT Characters in MG and YA Literature | Stories With Ms. Jenna http://buff.ly/1wvB2Iz
Q & A with Robin LaFevers http://buff.ly/1tLXK0i
Top 10 songs in teen novels: the ultimate young adult playlist | The Guardian http://buff.ly/1zJ5DqN
YA Yeah Yeah: Top 20 MG Books of Last 10 Years http://buff.ly/1wCMa6m
Young Adult Fiction Doesn’t Need to Be a ‘Gateway’ to the Classics – The Atlantic http://buff.ly/1wFCpFz
In Real Life by Cory Doctorow, illustrated by Jen Wang
After a woman gamer comes to present information on gaming and computer science to her class, Anda starts to play Coarsegold. She starts to spend most of her time away from school playing the online multiplayer game. Online she meets another player who encourages her to start killing gold farmers for real life money. So Anda refocuses her battles online specifically on gold farmers, killing them even though they don’t fight back. But something feels wrong about what she is doing and then Anda gets to know one of the gold farmers who has started to learn English. He is a poor Chinese kid who is just trying to survive and loves playing Coarsegold even though he does it for hours as a gold farmer. Anda soon finds herself questioning the morals of killing gold farmers and what is wrong and right in real life and in the game world.
As a gamer girl myself, I applaud Doctorow for choosing to have a female lead in his book about online gaming. It adds another dimension to a book that wrestles with tough questions about gaming and gold farming. Gold farmers are people, usually from poorer countries, who are paid to play the online game, gather materials, and then sell them for real money, something that is against the rules of the games. So the book gets to the heart of people from wealthy countries using those from poorer countries, it looks at working conditions in gold farming companies, and questions the real ethics of the situation, beyond the superficial ones.
Wang’s illustrations are dynamite. She shows Anda as a girl who is built like a real person. She is rounded, comfortable in her clothes, and wonderfully not on a diet! Wang creates an online character for Anda who is powerful but not busty and half naked. It’s a great choice artistically.
Gaming books that actually get the game worlds right are few and far between. Gamers of any MMO will recognize the economy, the style and the play here while non-gamers will find themselves understanding gaming and game economies too. Appropriate for ages 12-16.
Reviewed from copy received from First Second.