Earlier this month I attended one day of the California Library Association annual conference. The panels that I attended were sort of hit-or-miss, which will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever attended a professional conference. My favorite panel of the day was presented by librarians from the County of Los Angeles Library; it discussed creating collections for younger teens and then using those collections as a starting point for services and outreach aimed specifically at that age group. As many of us who work with young people already know, lumping tweens/younger teens/middle schoolers/middler readers/whatever-you-want-to-call-them in with younger children or in with older teens is generally not an effective service strategy. It’s definitely an issue I’m considering as I brainstorm programs for the spring and summer.
I’ve had tween fiction on my mind anyway, since I’ll be leading a sixth grade class visit at my branch next week and need to plan booktalks.1 So far my short list includes The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex; now I have to think of some non-speculative fiction choices. I do have booktalks already prepared for Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time and Millicent Min, Girl Genius, both by Lisa Yee, but they didn’t go over so well the last time I used them. So new booktalks are probably in order.
I’d love to booktalk After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson, but my system doesn’t own any copies. And most of the other great teen books that I’ve read this year skew rather older. I do have requests on various other candidates, like the first book in the STORM series by E. L. Young, which was mentioned to me as an Alex Rider read-alike. Do any of you have suggestions?
That’s all for now–I’m off to pack for my trip to LA for Thanksgiving. I hope all of you who celebrate have a lovely feast, and that everyone else has a lovely random November Thursday.
1 For the non-librarians reading this post, booktalk = short pitch to introduce readers to potential books of interest. They usually work best with middle schoolers and up; younger crowds tend to respond better to reading aloud and storytelling.