Hello, friends! Today I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Rose Brock, editor of the new anthology, Hope Nation!
Hope is a decision, but it is a hard one to recognize in the face of oppression, belittlement, alienation, and defeat. To help embolden hope, here is a powerhouse collection of essays and letters that speak directly to teens and all YA readers. Featuring Marie Lu, James Dashner, Gayle Forman, David Levithan, Julie Murphy, Jeff Zentner, Renee Ahdieh, and many more!
We all experience moments when we struggle to understand the state of the world, when we feel powerless and–in some cases–even hopeless. The teens of today are the caretakers of tomorrow, and yet it’s difficult for many to find joy or comfort in such a turbulent society. But in trying times, words are power.
Some of today’s most influential young adult authors come together in this highly personal nonfiction collection of essays, poems, and letters, each a first-hand account that ultimately strives to inspire hope.
Like a modern day Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul or Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens, Hope Nation acknowledges the pain and shines a light on what comes after.
Authors include: Marie Lu, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Renee Ahdieh, Alex London, Julie Murphy, James Dashner, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Sarah Mlynowski, Jeff Zentner, Ally Condie, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Romina Russell, Angie Thomas, Howard Bryant, Aisha Saeed, Margaret Stohl, Ally Carter, Nic Stone, I.W.Gregorio, Kate Hart, Atia Abawi, Libba Bray (via Goodreads)
What made you want to curate Hope Nation?
For me, Hope Nation is really my gift back to all the kids I taught over the years and those I worked with as a school librarian; my career has been about connecting kids with stories, and so often, trying to help teens overcome their personal adversity is difficult. I thought about my students who were suffering in private ways and their search for something to ease their pain. I wanted a modern Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, but I wanted it populated by real people and the very writers teen readers already love. Lucky for me, these incredible authors were willing to be a member of what I’ve called Team Hope, where we do some good with these stories and the charitable giving that’s happening at the publication of this book.
What are your top 3 book recommendations for people?
That’s a tough one! I have so many favorites, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about YA titles that have been particularly meaningful to me over the years; for that reason, I’d say, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson because of how perfectly right she paints grief, The First Part Last by Angela Johnson because years later, this story still resonates with me, and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher because it was the game changer for me as a classroom teacher.
If you had a burger named after you, what kind of burger would it be, and what would you want to be on it?
That’s a funny question. Ironically, as a kid, I was obsessed with burgers (I ate them for breakfast even, but I’m a purist when it comes to a good hamburger–I like a big one juicy burger with traditional condiments (lettuce, pickles, and a thin slice of tomato). Add some mustard, and it’s perfection. I guess that deliciousness would be called the Ro-mo as it was my nickname all through junior high and high school.
What’s the first book you remember falling in love with?
It’s a three way tie–I wasn’t much of a reader growing up (my family moved from Germany when I was in elementary school so reading in English was a challenge), but after starting 4th grade, my teacher spent everyday after lunch reading to us, and I fell in love with The Trumpet of the Swan and the Little House books (my family had moved to Oklahoma), and I also discovered Nancy Drew–all of those stories changed me; I was suddenly not so alone, and Nancy, in particular, allowed to become confident as a reader (one of the many wonderful benefits of series books).
What about each of the pieces in Hope Nation ties them all together?
I think the humanity of all these stories is the string that binds them. They are genuinely all so different; some are told as reflections back to years spent as a teen; others are told by these wonderful YA writers as they see the world now, but all of them are real and honest–they allow readers a peek into the heart and soul of each of these fine humans who like me, really care for kids.
Who are your top five influences?
Ack! Is this the place where I admit that I don’t understand the question all that well. Does this mean the thing the same thing as an “influencer” (some new thing I don’t completely understand) or do you mean like Jesus? If it’s the former, I have none. If it’s the later, I’d say that my family, my closest friends, and the people I work with and for are what influences what I do most. I realize that’s only three generic groups, but it’s definitely more than five people. Oh, and books (Like how I threw that in here?). Seriously, books have helped me discover who I am and what I want to be–they are an essential part of how I live.
What would you want readers to feel after reading Hope Nation?
I want them to have all the feels–happy, heartbroken, inspired, engaged, and ready to go kick some ass! Hopefully, readers will be discover that these writers are like them; struggling with what life throws our way is an incredibly human and universal condition–hopefully, there will be inspiration for readers in knowing that they aren’t alone, and they can fight for themselves and choose to have hope.