Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Let's get together and maybe read a bit.

All three authors (Jane O'Connor, MAC, and Scott Westerfeld) have interesting things to say about their books and summer reading, but I just HAD to blog about what Scott said.

One of the things I've really been working towards with Talk It Up! and Speak Out! is getting librarians to emphasize the social aspect of the program. Two libraries in BCCLS are doing this especially well, incorporating games, movies, and food into their book discussions. Dumont does a program that has participants watching movies along the same theme as the book they're reading; for example, when they read Jacqueline Woodson's Hush they watched Sister Act. Rutherford emphasizes a relaxed, social environment where it's great if you've read the book before the meetup, but if you haven't you're still welcome to stay. Scott emphasized this idea when asked how reading can become a more popular activity (I paraphrase), the idea that reading is important, yes, but it's just as important as being part of a group and discussing a book. Books grow as more people read them. My absolute favorite part of being a book discussion group leader is seeing all the different perspectives and interpretations teens bring to the group regarding a single title. That's also why I hated high school English, but that's for another post.

Reading as an activity is important, yes, but I think in order to succeed with as large a number of potential readers as possible, we need to recognize that there are many ways to read, not just many books.

Editing to add: The publicity department at Toasted Coconut Books linked me to M.A.C.'s blog, where she's got even more suggestions for creative reading. The ideas are fantastic; I just wish she had added "or library" to "Check out the local bookstore." Many libraries host author visits and other cool book events, plus we have trained, knowledgeable professionals who can help young readers choose their next book.

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