Last Month I had the displeasure of writing about something truly appalling: a dying library.
In that post I put up my friend's question "what's next." On the last day of school I got a video that answered that. It was of a library full of kids.
Some of them were lying on the floor resort books into discard and save piles. In a generation known for thinking of themselves it was all about others. Every book that went into the save pile was saved for someone. 2001 made them think of Thor. The Uglies looked like something Rossie might be interested in. Redwall looked like Dylan's type of book.
A group set in a big circle sorting through the boxes of rejects making sure no one had missed something good. Every once in a while they'd bring a stack to their teacher and ask if these books were important. The books they brought were ones they'd never read on their own but somehow suspected, based on no previous knowledge, were important. They were books like The Red Badge of Courage, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Scarlet Letter.
A forth group was working on "The List." There are over two hundred books on the list so far, and it's growing every day. It's their dream list of what their library would have in it if they had unlimited funds and free rain. It also contains the Battle of the Books titles, the New York Times Bestsellers, and the Newberry and Caldecott winners for the past ten years. The books you suggested are there too.
Some of the titles are underlined in jell pens, circled in pencil, or stared with smelly markers. These were the books the kids were doing all of this for. They were series like the Hunger Games, Graceling, and Lord of the Rings. Anything by Rick Riordan or Gary Paulsen. They were also the books their teacher is working two jobs to help them buy and the books the kids drop their spare change into a jar to help pay for.
They've still hardly scratched the surface, but the most important thing is now the kids are interested.
If you have any gently used YA books that you would like to donate to a library in need please let me know. Every little bit helps.