Thursday, May 24, 2007

Children's and Young Adult Literature: The Favorites, Old & New!, Elaine Fultz

Elaine Fultz, IMC Director at Weller Elementary School, Centerville City Schools, presented an afternoon session on juvenile and young adult literature. Featuring a wide variety of juvenile selections, Adventures of Captain Underpants, Junie B. Jones, and The Higher Power of Lucky, Elaine focused on a topic academic librarians do not often have opportunity to explore; books elementary and middle school students are currently interested in reading and actively checking out of school libraries.

Captain Underpants or The Tale of Despereaux
The Hobbit or Eragon
Flotsam or A Million Dots

Which of these would, or should, belong in school libraries being taught by teachers (read-aloud activities) and librarians? The resounding answer, hard to hear by many, is both. Elaine reminded us that “kids will read more when they find something fun!” Once hooked on reading, the sky is the limit. This was further illustrated with handouts from QuizList Interactive detailed the 2007 Top Ten Books Checked Out at both the elementary and secondary level.

Elementary #1:
Junie B. Jones, First Grader: Boss of Lunch

Secondary # 1:

Elementary #2 (12 way tie that included):
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, A Year Down Yonder, and Matilda

Secondary #2:
A Child Called “It”

The session would not have been complete without a short discussion regarding Newbery winner, The Higher Power of Lucky. Some students were reading it because their parents had heard the controversy and some were reading it because, controversy aside, they were enjoying the book. I left with a renewed understanding of the importance an eclectic and well-rounded collection with books for everyone, classics, popular culture, poetry, and graphic novels that supports library mission and vision, adheres to collection development policy as well as information literacy, and has something children want to read.

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