I meet with a group of teens each week. This past week I asked them to look through the YA fiction section and list the books they have read and the books they would like to read. After they finished perusing the shelves we had a discussion.
I asked what everyone was reading now. One teen asked if I meant other than “school stuff” like Shakespeare? I told them I meant reading for pleasure. No one was reading anything other than “school stuff”. That made me sad. Back in the Dark Ages when I was in high school, besides reading the required “school stuff” I always had a book going on the side.
We moved on to discuss the books that they had read. The overwhelming winners were Hunger Games, Divergent, and with the girls Twilight. The discussion was illuminating. How can I make the book collection more inviting I asked the group. What genre would you like to see in the collection? Questions in this vein brought out that it wasn’t the collection it was them. I don’t have enough time. I’m reading what’s assigned.
I’m dismayed but not discouraged. I’ll continue to entice them blurbs about the wonderful books that I am reading. Perhaps someone will read a something other than “school stuff.”
Hawthorn Creely, a friendless high school senior, finds herself at the center of the disappearance of a missing young woman. Lizzie Lovett, a beautiful, loved by everyone former high school cheerleader, goes missing on a weekend camping trip with her boyfriend.
Hawthorn becomes obsessed with the missing Lizzie. She ponders wild theories about her disappearance as she eats lunch alone on the back steps of the high school. Hawthorn’s best theory is that Lizzie became a werewolf. Yes, that’s right a werewolf.
You will love spending time with Hawthorn and her family in the small dying town of Griffin Mills, Ohio. Her mother is a hippie, her dad is a college professor and her older brother is bummed because he didn’t get to play college football.
Chelsea Sedoti has created a wonderful character in The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett that you will love spending time with. Hawthorn makes you laugh and cry and know what it feels like to be different. I highly recommend this novel for teens 14 and up.
The yew is considered to be a potent tree. It protects against evil, is a means of connecting to your ancestors, is a bringer of dreams and journeys and a symbol of the old magic.
An ancient yew tree is a central character in the young adult novel by Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls. Colin’s mom often stares at the yew that sits on a hill and is framed in her window. She tells Colin that the yew trees have a special power.
12:07 a.m. is when the monster calls. Colin awakes from a nightmare and then the monster comes. Colin is coping with his mother’s treatments, his father’s new family and a bully at school. A lot for a 13-year-old to cope with.
A Monster Calls is an excellent mix of fantasy and reality. With compassion, Patrick Ness shows Colin’s struggle with his frightening dreams and his life that is a nightmare. I loved this book. It is a book that should be read and discussed. A Monster Calls is now a movie. I recommend reading the book first.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s is usually a quiet time in the library. It is a great time to have a program for kids who are on holiday from school. The kids need a break from all of the hype of Christmas and something that will stimulate their creativity. What better than three days of writing poetry and watercolor painting.
Twenty-two kids signed up. We talked about haiku, limericks, alliteration, rhyming and even onomatopoeia. I used some wonderful books to read samples of all of the above. The kids got it. They did some very creative poems and used vocabulary other than “nice”, “good”, “pretty”. The 90 minutes flew by each day. The kids created their own book of poetry and art.
A reluctant reader needs a book that has a high interest subject, vocabulary that is easy to understand and should be less than 200 pages. Here are some suggestions from the American Library Association.
- Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams. Recommended for ages 14-18.
- Blank Confession by Pete Hautman . Recommended for ages 14-18
- A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by Valerie Zenatti. Recommended for ages 12-18.
- Scars by Cheryl Rainfield . Recommended for ages 15-18.
- Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers. Recommended for ages 12-14
- Riker’s High by Paul Volponi . Recommended for ages 14-16.
- Girl Stolen by April Henry. Recommended for ages 12-16.
- The Duff by Kody Keplinger Recommended for ages 14-18.
- One Hundred Young Americans by Michael Franzini Recommended for ages 12-18.
- Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty byGreg Neri. Recommended for ages 15-18.
Alfie Bloom is a picked upon 12-year-old looking at a boring summer vacation. That soon changes when he arrives home and finds a letter addressed to the attention of Alfred Bloom. The letter indicates that he needs to meet with senior partners to discuss his substantial inheritance.
This is the start of an interesting turn of events for Alfie. He moves into a magical castle, has ancient magical skills passed on to him and has to prevent two evil headmistresses from winning. Sounds a bit like Harry Potter and Hogwarts. Gabrielle Kent has done a great job on her first novel. It’s a fun read and full of excitement. A good fantasy read for ages 8 -12.
Tuck your little one in with a Christmas book and fill their head with sugarplum dreams. The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold by Maureen Fergus turns the old tale upside down. Santa thinks that a boy named Harold might not be real! Santa asks “Is there really a Harold?”.
Allergies? Maple and Willow get their first real Christmas tree but Maple starts sneezing. What to do? Find out in Maple and Willow’s Christmas Tree by Lori Nichols.
A curious cat crawls in Mr. Furry Boots bag on Christmas Eve. Slipper finds herself in the North Pole with no way home. Find how she gets home in Stowaway in a Sleigh by C. Roger Mader.
Hanukkah and Christmas are celebrated together this year. Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf by Greg Wolfe is a great way to introduce a different faith to children.
What better way to induce dreams of sugarplum fairies than to read The Nutcracker illustrated by Valeria Docampo? The enchanting illustrations are sure to have the little ones dreaming of a magical nutcracker.