Recent Writings & Where I’ve Been

You’re thinking to yourself, “Huh! A blog post! Aryssa’s alive…where’s she been?”

Well….where haven’t I been, frankly? I’ve been working my bum off, but is there OUTPUT?


And you can read that output with your very eyes So here’s a round-up of some of my recent words.

Luckily, I have more in the works!

Between ALA, DAR, ALSC, YALSA, DCPL, and JASNA…I’m all worded out.

Stand Still in the Moment: An Interview with Paul Acampora (Published in Children and Libraries)

“A lot of it was informed by being locked in the house for a year and watching the world suffer and watching young people look around going, this isn’t fair,” author Paul Acampora tells me when we pick up the phone to chat about his newest book, In Honor of Broken Things (Penguin 2022).

Program Model: Mindfulness Story Time (Published on Programming Librarian)

I developed a mindfulness story time curriculum during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing from my own experience using yoga as a coping mechanism, and based on my work as a children’s librarian.

I knew we were seeing unprecedented levels of stress among children, and while mindfulness webinars proliferated for staff and working adults, I wanted to think about ways in which I could bring concepts of mindfulness to existing children’s programming.

A Little Less Alone, a Little More Hopeful at #PLA2022 (Published on the ALSC Blog)

At the Friday morning YA crossover panel—featuring three authors live and in technicolor and one author writing in answers from a quarantine bubble—I was once again reminded of how exciting the coming weeks and months of the publishing landscape will be. 

Emily X.R. Pan, Casey McQuiston, Iris Gottlieb, and Sayantani DasGupta all shared insight into their writing process, their upcoming releases, and what writing for a YA audience, as opposed to a primarily adult audience, means to them. 

REVIEW: One Wish: Fatima al-Fihri and the World’s Oldest University (School Library Journal)

This is a beautiful new biography about Fatima al-Fihri, and the university she founded in Morocco. In simple but flowing prose, Yuksel brings al-Fihri’s story from the ninth century to the present, weaving a tale of faith and charity through the “one wish” she had, to establish a school for all.

Making a Teen Book Club Accessible (YALS Journal)

A 2019 brief from the Census Bureau revealed that 4.3% of the U.S. population under the age of 18 years lived with a disability (Young and Crankshaw 2021).This data captured the extent of those affected by mental and physical disabilities, and it showed many librarians the stark reality of what we already knew: publishing is not keeping up with reality when it comes to disability representation.
A 2019 study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center found disability representation in only 3.4% of children’s books, although it did not break down explicitly whether those were disabilities represented in children and teens or in caregivers (Cooperative Children’s Book Center 2020).






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