In an earlier post, I read an article about the importance of reading for pleasure for teachers and thought of creating something like a once-per-semester booklist for teachers to help them keep up with some of the popular reading for teenage students.
After spending the fall semester getting settled into my position and feeling out the school and my users, I’ve gone ahead and created one for Spring 2014.
Here are some of the major pieces of my rationale:
- Only 5 titles; I felt like any more than that would just overwhelm already overworked teachers.
- Automatically include titles with major film versions coming this Spring.
- My favorite YA book that I read this year should be on there, as long as it has one other qualifier, i.e. if it’s a recent title, one that will be made into a movie, a major award winner from this year, etc.
- Varying genres or formats as much as possible.
- At least one lower level/middle grades title.
- Common Core aligned, i.e. could be used in classes
It didn’t take me long to come up with this list. Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars, both huge books from the last couple of years, have film versions coming out before the end of the school year. Seraphina is my favorite book of the year and won a bunch of awards, not to mention it will be a fantasy trilogy, so it will probably blow up at some point; it just hasn’t happened quite yet. Code Name Verity has been wildly popular already, was #1 on the Teens’ Top Ten for 2013, and is historical fiction, which doesn’t happen often. And The False Prince is arguably middle grades, but was #2 on the Teens’ Top Ten for 2013 and has been optioned for a film.
Honestly, it wasn’t hard to make these choices. Obviously, I might end up being wrong about something being a popular book, but even if that happens, I think this is a good list for teachers to be familiar with at the very least. Films will cause a buzz, and there is a lot of buzz around both Verity and Prince thanks to the Teens’ Top Ten.
I did end up thinking about some issues I had:
- My library here at school does not have all of these titles. I don’t think it’s a huge problem, but it would be a definite bonus to say that I have them. I’ve already been asked by a couple of teachers if we have all of them. I hate saying no. Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned before, my budget doesn’t really allow for much wiggle room.
- I’ve also mentioned before that I’ve been told not to email the entire staff at my school. How do I get this list out to teachers without emailing everyone?
- I used Smore to create a flyer because I had just discovered that website, and I like trying out new creation tools. I think it worked, generally, but it isn’t the best format to present this type of information. At least now I know how to use it, right?
- The Smore flyer is embeddable, but it changes the dimensions of the pictures and doesn’t look right. Also, Smore and WordPress don’t like each other so it won’t embed here.
- I was concerned that teachers would immediately think that this was a required thing, so I went out of my way to explain that it was just an FYI thing; they could read if they wanted or completely ignore.
I think that about covers my feelings about this. I think this is a really good thing to do, and I’ve already received positive feedback from several teachers. I even had one ask if we could do a discussion group for anyone who reads any of the books. I think that’s a fantastic idea, in small doses. Again, I don’t like the idea of adding on to what is expected of this group of teachers already, which I think is a whole lot, so I’d want to keep it to just one 30 minute session where we can just share our thoughts about the books.
Anyway, here’s the link to the booklist!