I recently spent three days doing something I absolutely love to do, which is to head over to JWMS to talk to the kids about what they are reading and to book talk the 2013 Garden State Teen Book Award Nominees for Middle School.
This provides the opportunity to speak to every English class in the school; all the eighth graders one day, all the seventh graders the next and so on. This means interacting with hundreds of kids, and it is terrific fun. What are the students like? They are interested. They are engaged. They are responsive, and eager to share their views. The periods fly by and we are frequently caught with more we want to talk about. It is Great Stuff.
And, the response is fast and enthusiastic. Within hours, when school is out, the kids start coming in to request titles that interested them the most. A gratifying experience indeed.
This spring book talk to the middle school has been a long tradition. It is timed to occur the week before Spring Break to encourage kids to read during their vacation. The titles being featured are decided upon by youth services librarians on the New Jersey Library Association Young Adult Selection Committee. The goal is to offer middle schoolers 20 new books that are appealing, well-written, and which reflect the diversity found in New Jersey. Students all over the state can vote for their favorite books during the year, with the winners announced in February. There are also Garden State nonfiction lists for middle and high school students, and more fiction lists for High School and Elementary School, all of which we will make public when they are announced.