Friday, October 24, 2008

Top Ten Teen Books

The American Library Association has a teen read week every year and they allow young people to choose the past year's top ten books. Here they are (apparently over 8000 votes):
  1. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
  3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  5. Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson
  6. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  7. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
  8. Extras by Scott Westerfeld
  9. Before I Die by Jenny Downham
  10. Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Why care? First, unless high school English has changed a lot, none of these books are assigned reading. There is clearly a disconnect between the lists of what young people want to read vs. what adults think they should read.

Second, since there is such a disconnect, I've got to wonder whether young people employ different ways of reading for 'pleasure' vs reading for class. I'm thinking that young people are learning to read in one way (analytical) but are choosing another way to read outside of the school context. Should we not help young people integrate the two?

Third, I know Romeo and Juliet a whole lot better than I know the Twilight series. If I hope to talk to young people about reading, I better get cracking at reading about adolescent vampires.

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