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.
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.Savita's website
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