professornana (professornana) wrote,

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If you give them books, they will come. I have always believed this to be true. Yesterday, I had it affirmed again. I was invited to come (back) to Alief, the district where I taught middle school English lo these many years ago. About 100 high school kids came after school to listen to me talk about new books. The library staff in Alief high schools has reinvigorated the visiting author program, and it shows. This year kids heard John Green, Barry Lyga, and Laurie Halse Anderson (having read their books beforehand). When I threw up the PP slide with those covers, there were cheers. I also talked about some forthcoming books and some relatively new ones. They responded with raised hands, shouts of approval, demands for more information, and calls for more paper on which to take notes (take notes!!!!). It was such an incredible experience, one that reminds me of the power librarians and teachers have in the lives of these kids. Some of the teens present were in remedial reading classes, but they love to read YA books recommended by their teachers and liobrarians. They are growing as readers. They just want us to tell them about the books that might be of interest.

Fellow LJer, Gail Giles, would have loved their response to Cass McBride (I do a very short talk and they demanded I go back and tell them more). They asked questions, hugged me, shook my hand, suggested books I might read. I left there feeling like books DO make a difference. I do not do many school visits these days as generally I am brought in as the person who will motivate kids to read. This group needed no motivation. They were primed and ready to go. I just handed them the books. And they did get free books, too. The local Follett rep had books to give away to them. Their librarians had brought ARCs back from TLA to give them as well. Many brought their books to me for my approval. Thanks, Alief, for all you are doing for kids!
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