Keep Teens Reading

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Connecting with Teens Online Print Email

How do authors and publishers connect with teens and build up excitement about their next title?  Take a look at this article from Publisher’s Weekly to get a snapshot of the everse for young bibliovores right now.


Ereaders+Teens+Summer=Something Wonderful? Print Email

During our school visits at Meridian Middle School students would often say that they wanted to check out titles but couldn’t get to the library over the summer.  It’s understandable-the Meridian /Laurel community does not have a library at its center.

To help some of these students have access to more books over the summer-and to learn more about teens and ereading we’ve loaned 10 ereaders out to Meridian Middle School students for the whole summer.   Each ereader came preloaded with books that the students helped pick.  This fall we will be interviewing the teens to find what it was like having an ereader-and if it changed their perspective on reading at all.  

We want to compare this ereading experience with print reading for these teens, so we sent everyone with a print title that they have on their ereaders as will be really intersting to find out which format kept teens reading.

Special thanks to Whatcom County Library Foundation for the Airoldi Innovation Grant that allows us to ask big wonderful questions about books and teens.


June JDC: Into the Wild Print Email

Last week, we read Into the Wild with the teens at the JDC.  I was hesitant at first about bringing this book. Krakauer peppers his writing with words like “perambulation” that I was worried would keep kids at an arms distance and unable to delve into the book.  But, just like so many time in working with this group of teens, I was completely wrong.  They rocked this book.  They understood it, not just on the surface level, keeping track of the many flip flops in sequence, but on deeper levels as well.  They vigorously argued the case that Chis McCandless was not mentally ill or a fool, but really smart and willing to test his soul in ways most of us could never begin to think.  They thought that had he lived, he’d be president.  They did concede he was careless about his resources (Burning money! Ditching his car!  Not a good move.)  But they related to Chris’s journey both physical (hopping trains, sleeping outside) and spiritual (pushing away society to find out who they truly were.)


To start us thinking about the values inspired by Chris McCandless, we wrote down our “bucket lists.”  I shared mine: to teach my girls to sail, to practice yoga for more than 2 days straight, and they shared theirs: to get out of juvie, to be with my little sis, to build a house all by myself.


We read each day seminar style – sitting in a circle, close reading out loud with permission given to each person in the room to halt the reading if anything didn’t make sense or to make a comment.  I brought in my dog-eared Alaska atlas and taught them how to find the Stampede Trail and Healy and other spots Chris visited.  I also found, thanks to our terrific adult librarian, Lisa Gresham, a great book that was filled with the photos from Chris’s camera and journey. 


The last day we watched the movie.  They were excited about seeing Kristen Stewart.  Despite the great music from Eddie Vedder and amazing Alaskan tundra backdrop, I thought the movie too cinematic  and dragged for my taste. But they loved it. 


While we watched, we ate trail food: granola bars, cheese and crackers, fresh berries and a little chocolate to end our meal together.


Some of the comments we loved from the evals…

“This is one of the most touching, crazy, amazing books I have ever read.”

“Very exciting book that will pull the reader in and make you never want to turn away.”

“You never know what book your gonna need…and you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.  After book club I just picked up whatever book and read it.”


--- Tamar Clarke with help from Aubri Keleman

The Lost Hero of Olympus Print Email
Thank you Rick Riordin for creating heroes that are funny, and really struggle with school and home life.  It felt like you wrote The Lost Hero of Olympus just for the teens at the Juvenile Detention Center.

It’s a long book to tackle in one week, but the teens responded with enthusiasm and almost all of them finished it.

Favorite comments from the teens this month:

“Book club got me more into books”

“Book club helped me get over my fear of reading out loud”

“I give this book 10 out of 4 stars”

One of them requested more read aloud time.

Karin had some great discussion prompts this week:

*If you could have any super power what would it be and how would you use it? Pull from Greek mythology, comic books, super heroes. etc.

*Which Greek God would you want for a parent and why?

*The characters are being challenged by going on this quest and with these new experiences. Describe a time when you were challenged and what you use for inspiration.

If you are celebrating this books with teens our suggested food pairing is

Leo’s Tacos or Leo's Tofu Burgers.

Next month: we had a request for non-fiction, so Tamar is bringing in Into the Wild.  Her Alaskan wilderness experience should make this book come alive in a whole new way.


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