Did you know several acclaimed authors of books for teens live right here in the Bay Area?
While COVID has limited authors from making in-person appearances, they’ve still engaged with the public through virtual events. When students attend these kinds of events, or read books written by local authors, they tend to feel excited about reading!
In fact, books written by local authors often engage with settings and experiences that are familiar and highly relevant to local students. And when students attend local literary events (even virtual events), they come to understand that literature isn’t something static, but part of an ongoing conversation that students themselves can be part of. Plus, they gain greater perspective on what they read and can therefore perform a deeper analysis of texts that they read in school and out.
Another advantage of living in an area where so many writers live is that students can easily obtain signed books! An author’s signature signals to a student that books are something to value, which also underscores the idea that reading is worthwhile and important. Many local authors are happy to sign their books if you contact a local bookstore and request a signature; the author will generally stop in and sign the book so that the store can mail a signed copy to you. In fact, most local bookstores already have quite a few signed books waiting for purchase.
Here are a few local authors of books for teens whose books and events your student might want to check out:
Kelly Loy Gilbert is a Bay Area resident who attended a Cupertino high school which also serves as the setting for her contemporary novel Picture Us In The Light, winner of the California Book Award and Stonewall Honor. The story explores challenges teens face in high-pressure academic environments.
Stacey Lee lives in the South Bay Area and is the recipient of the Asian Pacific American Library Association Literature Award. Her most recent historical novel, The Downstairs Girl, is recommended summer reading for Palo Alto High School, while Outrun the Moon tells the story of a Chinese-American teen who survives the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
Gordon Jack is a librarian at a Bay Area high school and the author of the hilarious and insightful Your Own Worst Enemy, which follows a high school election with parallels to our modern political situation. Kirkus declared the novel “satire at its best.”
Randy Ribay teaches English at a Bay Area school and loves to hike local trails. His most recent novel, Patron Saints of Nothing, tells the story of a Filipino-American teen who investigates his cousin’s murder. It was selected as a finalist for the National Book Award, LA Times Book Prize, Edgar Award for YA, and CILIP Carnegie Medal.
Shannon Price is a Bay Area native and current resident who wrote A Thousand Fires, an exciting, modern retelling of the Iliad set in San Francisco. School Library Journal called it “A heart-wrenching tale… action-packed and intense… A fantastic read.”
Misa Sugiura’s recent novel, This Time Will Be Different, follows a Japanese-American teen who wrestles with her family’s decision to sell their flower shop to a family who swindled her grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Misa lives in the Silicon Valley, where her novels are set.
Parker Peevyhouse attended a local high school and still lives in the Bay Area. Her first novel, Where Futures End, was named a “Best Book for Teens” by the New York Public Library and the Chicago Public Library. Her most recent science fiction puzzle-thriller is Strange Exit, which follows teens who are trapped in a failing simulation.
Enjoy your reading journey!