Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Calling Teen Readers by Savita Kalhan


After attending a few meetings fighting library cuts in Barnet, I decided to get involved in my local library in a small way. Finchley Church End Library had no teen reading group, so with the help of the head librarian, the wonderful Steve Saunders, I decided to try and set one up. Flyers were sent round to all the local schools, and we were hopeful that it would attract a few kids.


Last week we had our first meeting. I went prepared and armed with lists of books. The librarian had reserved books from the Carnegie shortlist for me, so that the teens could have a look at each book before deciding which one they wanted to read and discuss first.

I got to the library early and set up the table. And then I waited. Ten minutes into the time, no one had arrived and I began to wonder whether there would in fact be no reading group because there was just no interest.

And then four kids arrived! And they were all into books and reading and excited to share what they liked and what they didn’t, what they had read over the last year and what they wanted to read. There were three girls and one boy, and all of them said they had friends who would love to join and could they let them know so they could come next time.

Of course I said yes, happily.

The kids decided that they did want to unofficially shadow the Carnegie and the book they voted to read first was When Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan (I think the swear words in the book only played a small part in that choice!). Our next session will be discussing the book and the issues it raises. The kids hadn’t heard of either Tourette’s or Asperger’s, so we’ll be talking about both of those conditions.

They have also decided that next they want to read Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan, and then next Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman.

 

Hopefully, from these small beginnings the teen book club will grow and thrive, and I’m looking forward to sharing with them the many amazing teen books that are out there.
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11 comments:

Sue Bursztynski said...

Good onya, Savita! It's a great thing to do. Enjoy!

Sue Purkiss said...

Great idea - good luck!

Joan Lennon said...

Your group sounds fabulous - well done for making it possible!

David Thorpe said...

That's a great idea. Might suggest it here in Carmarthenshire. I did one event recently in a library and just two teens turned up but we had a great chat.

Dawn Finch said...

I love this sort of thing and it really supports the work of the librarian. Brilliant.

Nicola Morgan said...

Fantastic, Savita! Doesn't matter how many come - it's how keen they are that counts. Well done!

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

It's all about ever widening ripples. This is wonderful to be able to work with such enthusiastic readers whatever the size of the group. Have fun!

Savita Kalhan said...

Thanks everyone! Love the widening ripples, Dianne!

Lindsay said...

This is a brilliant venture. It sounds as if it's going to be a stimulating group. Keep us posted.

knowingchristie said...

Superb! I remember reading about it. What day and time will be the next meeting? I'd like to bring my children.

Savita Kalhan said...

Knowingchristie, sorry, I've only just seen this! The next meeting will be on 20th July. Then we break for summer and come back on Monday 7th September.