KJZZ's Lit Squad

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There's a lot of talk about the kinds of books students should and should not be reading, and what books kids should have access to in libraries. At the same time, there are more books being published that deal with issues of race, gender and sexual orientation. The Show talks to the authors of some of those books in the series Lit Squad.

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June 15, 2023

There's a lot of talk about the kinds of books students should and should not be reading, and what books kids should have access to in libraries. At the same time, there are more books being published that deal with issues of race, gender and sexual orientation. KJZZ's The Show’s talks to the authors of some of those books. For our first episode, host Mark Brodie chatted with Tom Leveen and Jewell Parker Rhodes. Leveen is the award-winning author of nine books, while Rhodes is a New York Times best-selling author and professor at Arizona State University.

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June 15, 2023

There has been a lot of talk over the last year or so about the kinds of books students should and should not be reading in school, and what books kids should have access to in libraries. At the same time, there are more books being published that deal with issues of race, gender and sexual orientation. In this series, we talk to the authors of some of those books.  

This episode features Kyle Lukoff, a former elementary school librarian and the author of several books, including “Call Me Max” and “Too Bright to See.” We spoke with him about his book, “Different Kinds of Fruit” published in 2022. In it, sixth grader Annabelle Blake not only finds out she has a crush on her non-binary classmate, but also that her dad is a transgender man.

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June 15, 2023

Meet Jamie Sumner. She taught high school English for more than a decade before starting to write books for middle-grade readers — generally between 8 and 12 years old. The main character in her first book, “Roll With It,” has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. Her book “Tune it Out” features a character with a sensory processing disorder. We spoke with her about her book , “The Summer of June,” which takes on the issue of anxiety.

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June 15, 2023

R. Eric Thomas writes for TV, the stage and has written two non-fiction books. But he’s now jumped into the young adult genre with a novel called "Kings of B’More." It tells the story of two Black, queer best friends, one of whom is moving away. Before that, though, they have a grand day out together.

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June 15, 2023

Dusti Bowling writes middle-grade books, as well as chapter books for younger readers. Bowling grew up in Arizona and still lives in the Valley; most of her books take place here. One of her series focuses on a girl named Aven Green, who was born without arms. She’s also written about characters dealing with poverty, with absent parents or parents struggling with addiction.

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June 15, 2023

More and more school districts are facing challenges from parents and other community members who want certain books out of classrooms or libraries. It was that kind of incident that led Amy Sarig King to write her latest novel, “Attack of the Black Rectangles.”

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June 15, 2023

A 9-year-old girl’s effort to translate her great-great grandmother’s stories from Lipan Apache to Spanish and the impacts of technology and climate change on that effort are among the themes of the novel “A Snake Falls to Earth." The young adult novel has been called a “coming-of-age story that beautifully combines tradition and technology.” This is the second novel from author Darcie Little Badger, who describes herself as a writer of fantasy books.

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June 15, 2023

The NDN Girls Book Club is a new group aimed at helping Native American writers. It’s the brainchild of poet Kinsale Drake, and the group features workshops for young writers, as well as author talks. It also works with tribal libraries and Indigenous booksellers to get more books by Native authors — and those that feature Native stories — to more readers.

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