Books

These are my books or books in which I’ve had work included.

jensen-here-we-are-1Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World (Algonquin Young Readers)

A School Library Journal “best book” of 2017.

A Chicago Public Library “best book” of 2017.

Let’s get the feminist party started!

Here We Are is a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it really means to be a feminist. It’s packed with essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations from a diverse range of voices, including TV, film, and pop-culture celebrities and public figures such as ballet dancer Michaela DePrince and her sister Mia, politician Wendy Davis, as well as popular YA authors like Nova Ren Suma, Malinda Lo, Brandy Colbert, Courtney Summers, and many more. Altogether, the book features more than forty-four pieces, with an eight-page insert of full-color illustrations.

Here We Are is a response to lively discussions about the true meaning of feminism on social media and across popular culture and is an invitation to one of the most important, life-changing, and exciting parties around.

 

Praise:

“A progressive antidote to the ancient teen health textbooks that mull over the dry basics of teen identity . . . a stellar collection  . . . An embarrassment of riches.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Earnest, conversational, and dauntlessly unapologetic . . . An education unto itself, the message of inclusion and strength is invaluable.”
Booklist, starred review

“Fantastic . . . There is something here for everyone. This celebratory examination of feminism is a much-needed addition to teen collections.”
School Library Journal, starred review

“Sophisticated yet entirely accessible, the collection is valuable both for the breadth of thought and perspective it represents and for the support it directs toward readers.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Within the lively pages of Here We Are is a 21st-century ‘feminist party,’ and everyone is invited . . . This exciting, provocative anthology for young adults collects diverse and even fascinatingly contradictory viewpoints on modern feminism.”
Shelf Awareness for Readers, starred review

Here We Are not only presents an inclusive and hopeful vision for the future of feminism, it also boldly and proudly passes the torch to the next generation of leaders.”
—Teen Vogue

“Jensen has assembled a collection of meditations on what it means to be a woman today that is both important and gripping . . . HERE WE ARE is a book every feminist will want to get for the teen in their life—and will end up reading and learning from, too.”
—Bust

“In an exceptionally inclusive and diverse anthology featuring pieces from 44 creators, editor Kelly Jensen has curated a definition of feminism that is a safe space of equality and acceptance for everyone . . . A top-notch guide for all.”
The Globe & Mail

“[A] feminist power tome.”
—New York Magazine/The Strategist

“Forty-four writers, performers, artists and more contribute to this ‘zine-like collection that offers reading lists, comics, a 4-step guide for becoming a superheroine, and essays from writers like Mindy Kaling.”
InStyle

“Kelly Jensen’s anthology is too good to pass up. In Here We Are, Jensen collects a ton of great pieces from authors, actresses, dancers, and more, all centered around the theme of feminism. Nova Ren Suma? Brandy Colbert? Mindy Kaling? Oof, this book is fantastic.”
—Paste Magazine, A Most Anticipated Young Adult Book of 2017

“This scrapbook-style guide book has everything any teen would every want to know about feminism packed into one fun, unique package . . . an inspiring read for young adults that examines where feminism stands today, and what we need to do next to help it succeed in the future.”
—Bustle

 “[Here We Are] brings a diverse millennial perspective to the feminist movement.”
Justine Magazine

“[Jensen’s] strength is on full display in this dynamic collection of essays, interviews, comic strips and more, which brings together a chorus of diverse viewpoints, from women and men, to help teens understand, broaden and visualize their own definition of contemporary feminism.”
Chicago Tribune

Here We Are takes on difficult and painful subjects . . . yet as a whole the book has an uplifting, hopeful tone. Older sisters and aunts (and a few older brothers and uncles) are sharing their stories and offering their encouragement. The book’s scrapbook-like design adds to its friendliness. Jensen also incorporates spot illustrations and relevant comics . . . [and] offers several sparking pop-culture pieces . . .”
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Here We Are is the book about navigating young adulthood that I wish had been available to me as a teenager . . . The range of experiences included is intimate . . .  and makes it hard for readers not to spot themselves in the pages. In fact, the book’s accessibility is a major factor in its success.”—Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA)

“An accessible collection of contemporary feminist writing and an introduction to twenty-first-century feminism. By embracing the voices of women, men, people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and myriad other identities, the book sends a strong message that feminism is for everyone.”
The Horn Book Magazine

“Feminism remains a hot-button topic, and this makes an excellent introduction to a complicated movement based on a simple concept of equality.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Here We Are is the kind of book you dip into over and over again, to learn something new about feminism and social justice, to marvel at all the different paths to creative expression and courage, to find little rays of hope when things some oppressively broken. Poems, manifestos, interviews, FAQs, short stories, comics: the many pieces collected here come from role models like Mindy Kaling and Laverne Cox and from young women who are speaking up and reshaping the future.”
—Apple iBooks

“This awesome feminist scrapbook is required reading for 2017 . . . [a] guide to finding feminism for yourself. The mishmash of perspectives (so many razor-sharp opinions!) will make you think, question your own ideals, and get a better grasp on how we can stay empowered through the future.”
—Clover Letter

Here We Are is the book you wish you’d had as a teenager . . . Buy this for your younger sibling, your besties’ kids, any female or gender minority teenager you happen to be close to.”
Rebellious Magazine

“A great introduction for teen (and adult) readers. Whether you’re looking for a playlist of feminist songs to sing along to from Kody Keplinger, advice for surviving high school from Mindy Kaling or a handy chart of FAQs, this book has you covered.”
Bookpage

“This book is so much more than an anthology, more than an invaluable and insightful text, more than a book that ought to be in every high school in the country—though it is all those things. Here We Are is, simply, a gift.”
—B&N Teen Blog

“This is perfect for teens looking for diverse perspectives on the titular topic; some tips and advice for living as a feminist; and/or an optimistic peek at the future of feminism . . . readers will find themselves immersed in a dynamic exploration of inclusion and strength.”
—VOYA

Here We Are is an excellent work that makes the topic of feminism approachable and engaging.”
Foreword Reviews

“Just go ahead and buy like twenty of these, okay? Give them out for birthdays, for holidays, for graduation gifts. This book is for everyone and makes it clear that feminism is, too.”
—Teen Librarian Toolbox

“An accessible, engaging collection that readers won’t want to miss out on.”
Bookish

“An introduction to some modern, intersectional feminist works where black women’s voices, stories and perspectives are given the space to be seen as the leaders of this movement they have always been.”
—GirlTalkHQ.com

“Absolutely delightful, insightful . . .”
—Novel Ink

“Really great . . . it would be an excellent gift for a young person in your life.”
—Go Fug Yourself

“An scrapbook-style anthology by 44 feminist contributors which includes essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations. It was written with teens in mind, but people of all ages will come back to it again and again.”
—Romper

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the vwordThe V-Word: True Stories About First-Time Sex, edited by Amber Keyser

An honest and poignant collection of essays by women about losing their virginity in their teens. The V-Word captures the complexity of this important life-decision and reflects diverse real-world experiences. Includes helpful resources for parents and teens.

Keyser (The Way Back from Broken) compiles powerfully candid and intimate essays from 17 women, many of whom are YA authors, about their first times having sex, the pressure to do so, guilt, desire, and the concept of virginity (“Life is an endless roller coaster of first times, of lost virginities,” writes Kiersi Burkhart). […] Also included are a Q&A with blogger Kelly Jensen about representations of sex in media, and supplementary resources for both parents and teens. Frank, encouraging, and explicit, these stories never cut away from the physical or emotional realities of sex, and the collection is stronger and more valuable for it.

— Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

 

Appended is an interview between Keyser and contributor, former librarian, and editor Kelly Jensen, who offers many examples of YA novels with rich depictions of female sexuality. Although there’s a wealth of thought-provoking content here, Keyser is never preachy, and teens will come away feeling as though they’ve spent time in the company of a smart and self-assured but gentle and reassuring older sister or friend. VERDICT A strong addition to sex ed shelves and a much-needed perspective on teenage sexuality.

— School Library Journal

 

[R]eaders will be able to see their own parallels and differences in each of these varied experiences from writers who fall along a wide range of sexual orientations. A conversation between Keyser and a teen librarian concludes the collection, along with a solid list of online and print resources for teens and their parents. Most valuable here is the explicit, intimate, and informative nature of each writer’s words. 
— Kirkus Review
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it happens

It Happens: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader

It Happens: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader is a comprehensive guide to matching a teen reader with the right book.

A comprehensive look at contemporary YA fiction. The book is divided into three parts: “Real Tools,” “Real Reads,” and “Real Talk.” In “Real Tools,” Jensen walks readers through the multiple layers of contemporary YA fiction and explains the importance of the genre. She shows readers how to seek out contemporary YA titles by relying on nontraditional review sources and award and selection lists. She also explains how to evaluate books for eight critical elements such as appeal, voice, and pacing. Readers’ advisory is highlighted through a thorough look at what it is and how to best conduct it. In “Real Reads,” 150 titles are annotated covering 10 topics. Each annotation includes read-alikes and reasons the book is appealing. The 10 topical lists include additional titles relevant to that category. “Real Talk” presents five chapters of “conversation starters” for discussing books and their common themes. The conversation starters include a few books on the topic and cover areas such as bullying, sex and sexual abuse, and unlikable female characters. Rounding out this section are additional ideas and tips for how to advocate for contemporary YA fiction. This title includes an appendix of books and blogs to continue one’s study, as well as author, title, and topical indexes. The volume’s strengths lie in its book lists, where Jensen chose to focus on selections that “are less likely to be found in other resources outside of this book.”

— School Library Journal Review