The Best Teen Reads 2005

Sharron L. McElmeel; Hi Willow Research & Publishing; 2005; ISBN 1-933170-12-3; $18.00

Who decides what are the best teen reads? Sharron McElmeel has compiled a list including the last several years of teen publications that have received star reviews in the reviewing media or have been tapped as award-winning books in the past year. The main list includes these recommended materials, but other sections of the book provide a guide to the best graphic novels, audio books, poetry, and picture books. Along the way McElmeel spotlights authors and provides tips for both using the books in school and public libraries. Done in the form of an annotated checklist, the book has been created as an useful selection tool and a guide for book discussions in selection groups, classes or workshops in young adult materials.

Graphic Novels 101: Selecting and Using Graphic Novels to Promote Literacy for Children and Young Adults: A Resource Guide for School Librarians and Educators
Philip Charles Crawford; Hi Willow Research and Publishing; 2003; ISBN: 0-931510-91-0; $30.00

Graphic novels are book-length comic books and are popular reading for reluctant readers including both children and teenagers. Crawford helps school librarians understand this genre, why it should be included in the collection, what’s available, what to avoid (there really are “graphic” graphic novels), and how to purchase and handle them. The author begins with a history of favorite superheros such as Wonder Woman and Superman continuing to the present. Selection criteria, sources for purchase and other helpful advice for elementary through high school make this an excellent source and bibliography of the best.

People Who Met-and Beat-the-Odds: Readers Theatre for Grades 3-8
Suzanne J. Barchers and Michael Ruscoe; Hi Willow Research and Publishing; 2003; ISBN 0-931510-95-3; $28.00

Barchers has written clever Readers Theatre for years and with a co-author provides easy-to-read and perform scripts that young people will enjoy. Taking the theme of people who have turned the lemons of their life into lemonade, the scripts are about people well known to youth. Included are: Kurt Angle, Lance Armstrong, Halle Berry, Oksana Baiul, Diana Golden Brosnihan, Tom Cruise, Vin Diesel, Jean Driscoll, David Eckstein, Zina Garrison, Tracey Gold, Michael J. Fox, Carolyn McCarthy, Tim McGraw, Willie O’Ree, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Christopher Reeve among others. Scripts can be duplicated for school performance without additional charge. Great to stimulate more reading from those reluctant readers! And the scripts can be performed with little or no practice and few if any props. Something to pick up and do at a moment’s notice.

As an addendum to each script, the authors have supplied a cross out puzzle for listeners. If you answer the questions given and cross out the proper words in a grid, you end up with a saying about the subject of the play. For example: Lance Armstrong: Beating cancer takes hard work; Halley Berry: Halle opens doors for women of color; Christopher Reeve: Determination is a super power. This is a pleasant way to test the listening skills of the audience.