Welcome, to International Young Adult Literature month at GLLI!

Hello, my name is Elisa Anais Garcia. I am a Supervising Librarian of Teen Services at the New York Public Library.

I’m truly honored to be the guest editor of the first Translated Young Adult Literature Month of the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative blog!

Our mission for the month of May is to highlight and celebrate the voices expressed in Young Adult Literature from around the world!

As a Teen Services librarian, I have made it my mission to create a diverse library collection to introduce teens to stories from around the world, but also stories that represent their own stories and lived experiences.

While it can be challenging to find internationally-set young adult books due to the fact that there are so few books in translation, it is important that, as librarians, we make it part of our practice to add these global young adult books to our library collections and encourage teens to read these stories.  

The U.S. Census considers the Bronx in New York City to be the most diverse area in the country. There is an 89.7 percent chance that any two residents, chosen at random, would be of different race or ethnicity. The majority of residents speak a language other than English at home.  I am committed to ensuring that the Young Adult collection at the Bronx Library Center reflects the diversity of the young adults that visit our library and that teens feel represented and see themselves in the books that are in our collection.  As librarians, by amplifying the voices of global young adult books, we are doing our part in teaching teens about inclusivity, diversity and cultural awareness.

I had the honor of serving on the selection committee of the 2020 Michael L. Printz award committee of the American Library Association Michael L. Printz Award. It was with great pride that we chose The Beast Player, by Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano, as one of the Printz honor books. As a committee, we felt that The Beast Player with its vivid storytelling, beautiful prose, and excellent world-building, exemplified excellence in global Young Adult literature. Great minds think alike because this book was also honored by Global Literature in Libraries Initiative as one of two 2020 Translated Young Adult Literature Book Prize winners!                      

The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano

Printz 2020 award selection committee

I also had the great pleasure of being part of the selection committee of the 2021 Pura Belpré Award of the American Library Association: Pura Belpré Award this is a celebratory moment for the Pura Belpré award as it will be celebrating its 25th anniversary!  Another highlight of the 2021 selections was the inaugural Young Adult category!

Pura  Belpré 2021 award selection committee.

Being part of these award selection committees on the national and local levels has afforded me the opportunity to not only develop and expand my readers’ advisory skills, but it also solidifies my commitment to building equitable, accessible and diverse youth collections, not only on the local level, but also on the national level.

It’s been a truly rewarding experience on a professional and personal level to be part of these committees as my colleagues and I  have made impactful contributions to youth collections and accessibility of materials including the visibility of diverse titles. I truly recommend the experience of serving on an award selection committee to my colleagues; while it is extensive reading, you will have the tremendous opportunity to shape library collections, solidify your commitment to youth collections, professional development, and bragging rights for your resume!

My hope as guest editor of the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative blog is to leave you inspired by the books we will celebrate this month. I want to create visibility for these titles and underscore the importance of having them as part of your library collections.

Let’s get ready to travel the world together!

Elisa A. Garcia is a Supervising Librarian of Teen Services at the New York Public Library. She is motivated to foster a love of reading in reluctant teen readers and therefore strives to introduce them to a diverse world and experiences through books. Mentoring new librarians, Elisa has savored the opportunity to broaden her scope in promoting diversity in librarianship by building on her love to help our communities and instilling in others the passion she has for libraries and readers as a whole.

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