“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
― John Green,
Kentucky Association of School Librarians sent out a call for presenters last spring. I always love going to presentations about good books. One professional development day that I look forward to every year is when the Bureau of Education sends someone to Louisville to present “What’s New In Young Adult Literature”. I sit and listen to someone else talk about great books that she has read in the past year! When I read the call for presenters this past spring, I thought “I could talk about good books for an hour. I could probably fill a whole day!” This blog post contains my presentation and some of the helpful tips and websites that I will share with the attendees during my presentation.
When students come in the library, I approach them. I don’t wait for them to come and find me to ask for assistance. I’m out on the “floor” offering my assistance. “Selling” books is my favorite task as a high school librarian. I first try to position myself to “sell” the right book. I ask them background questions like “Tell me a book that you have read in the past, that you enjoyed”, “What extra-curricular activities do you do outside of school”, “Do you have a hobby”? With 1600 students at OCHS, I don’t know all of the students on a personal level. I have to try to “get to know” them in a few minutes. I know this sounds stereotypical, but sometimes I can “guess” what they might like by their dress or friend group. A student in a football jersey would probably like Carl Deuker, Tim Greene, Mike Lupica etc… I have a few books that are sure fire winners for the majority of teens if they will only read them! The attached Powerpoint contains my favorite go-to books. We have multiple copies of most of these books. I hope that you’ll find some to add to your shelves to share with your students from my suggestions!
Sometimes I’ll have a student who stumps me. When these kiddos come in, I go to my computer and type in a title that they have enjoyed and see what certain websites can help me recommend to them. If you are new librarian and don’t know your collection very well, these sites would be a life-saver. I’ve been reading young adult lit for over 20 years, so I can usually come up with at a least a couple of titles to recommend off the top of my head. If you can’t, rely on these sites until you can!
Here are those websites that I use in a pinch:
If you are reading this from the state of KY, we are so fortunate to have Novelist as part of the KY Virtual Library. It’s another wonderful, helpful website, but it is subscription based.