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Video Transcripts

This page contains the transcripts of the 14 videos for this course.


Welcome to the Materials for Youth course.

What did you like to read as a child? Were you a novel or magazine reader? Or, did you avoid reading all together? Personally, I loved adventure and mystery. One of my favorites was My Side of the Mountain by Jean George.

You can even see my name inside the front cover. This course is going to be just plain fun! You'll get the opportunity to think about the books you read as a child and explore new and exciting materials for youth. Let's begin with some reflection. What role did books, movies, and other materials play in your childhood?

This course is intended to help bridge your childhood memories with today's offerings for young people. By the 1990s, children were reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen rather than My Side of the Mountain... Today, many youth read the outdoor adventures by Will Hobbs. Designed to connect with a child's experiences, interests, and level of development, children's literature is literature written for young people. While some of these works would be considered of high literary quality, others connect with children because of their humorous aspects. It's impossible to keep a young child from giggling as they read about Mercy the Pig driving a car in Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride by Kate DiCamillo. Books like The Giver by Lois Lowry bridge the children's and young adult literature categories. While some children are ready for the mature themes of Lowry's books, others aren't. Young adult literature is generally identified as works for ages twelve through eighteen. Since The Outsiders was introduced as the first YA novel in the late 1960s, many more books have focused on topics that bridge childhood and adulthood.

Reading is an important experience for youth. The course readings talk about the value of reading and youth response to reading. As you work your way through the course materials, be thinking about the librarian's role in helping youth develop a passion for reading.

The course readings talk about different ways to classify literature as well as the basic elements of literary works including theme, character, plot, and setting. Pay particular attention to these sections because they'll help you in writing book reviews and holding book discussions. Rather than simply talking about a book as a whole, you'll want to carefully analyze the role of the protagonist, the impact of the setting on the story, and the pace of the plot.

The last section of this week's reading provides links to the major literary award for materials for youth. Although many wonderful works never receive an awards, it's important to keep in tune with the types of books and authors that are winning awards. Use your social booklist to keep track of books you're reading and would like to read.

Personally, I use my LibraryThing to keep track of my personal library collection and GoodReads to log books I'm reading, have read, or are discussing. You can use any approach you wish for this course.
It's time for some fun. Let's read Newbery award winning books. Choose ONE book to read and discuss. Keep mind that you need to supplement your discussion with excerpts from the book, book reviews, and other evidence. Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.

Selection and Censorship

Let's talk about Selection and Censorship of materials for youth.

"Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf; her wolf; watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.... Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace... until now...; So... it's a wolf-human love story. As you listened to the book blurb, you may be thinking ;cool;! Or, you may be thinking ;too weird for me." The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy has been a best seller, but it's not for everyone. The key to selection is not whether or not you personally like the book, but whether it will attract young adult readers.

Selecting books for youth isn't easy. The Adventure of Captain Underpants is one of those books that librarians love to hate. Although it would be great if children would choose something more dignified to reader, it's a book that appeals to even the most reluctant readers.
These books help children become comfortable with reading. As they become more fluent readers, they'll be ready for more complex storylines and characters.

It's important to separate your personal preferences from the needs of children and your library collection. While it's important for children to have access to quality literature, they also need choices that address their personal interests. It's wonderful when great books also happen to be popular. Spend some /me thinking about what makes a book outstanding and also compelling for young readers. Also remember that today's youth want a choice in reading format. They may listen to an audiobook on the bus, enjoy an enhanced graphic novel ebook for fun, and read a paperback for a class.

As you think about selecting books, consider developmental appropriateness and the importance of purchasing books on sensitive issues. A book like Boy Toy that deals with sexual abuse may make you uncomfortable, but it's important to make it available. Young adults need the opportunity to explore sensitive issues while within the safety of a fictional world.

It's likely that sometime in your career someone will challenge your selection choices. As such, it's critical that you make your selections carefully by using professional reviews along with your professional experience. You and your library needs to have plans in place for both formal and informal attempts at censorship. Your course readings provide information and resources to help you formulate these plans. It's your job to promote and defend intellectual freedom. An important way to fight censorship is to help youth understand their rights.

A wide range of book review sources are available through both open, web-based and subscription-based services. You should be familiar with these tools and use them when creating your class assignments. Keep in mind that different reviews may be published for the audiobook, ebook, and paper book versions of a work. When purchasing audiobooks or picture books that include a CD, be sure to check the reviews related to the audio version. For instance, I'm a big fan of all the audio works of John Lithgow. Be sure to read about how to write book reviews and create booktalks and book trailers. This information will be useful for completing course assignments.

It's important to select what youth will want to read. However, you also need to know your collection well enough that you can make match great books with the interests of youth. Reader Advisory for Youth requires that you keep in touch with your inner child. When a child says they like comics, you need to be ready with questions about whether they want to read in the comic format or want to learn to create cartoons themselves. If they loved reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, you need to be ready with ideas for their next great adventure in reading.

Let's read a book for young adults. Select one of the recent Printz winners from the list to read and discuss. Be sure to use the selection tools discussed in the readings to read reviews about the book you selected.

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.


Let's talk about illustrators of materials for youth.

The history of children's book illustration is fascinating. Consider taking my HISTORY OF THE BOOK or LIBRARY HISTORY course for more information about this topic. You've probably heard of Randolph Caldecott, the acclaimed 19th century illustrator for children. Today, most people associated him with the book award named in his honor. However there were many other wonderful early illustrators like Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane.

What illustrators do you remember from picture books you read in childhood? I've always liked the technique of collage. I remember reading Swimmy by Leo Lionni in school. I also have fond memories of reading Inch by Inch then learning the song Inch Worm. Do you have a picture book that remind you of songs?

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick was the first intermediate level book to win the Caldecott Medal. Notice the beautiful full-page, pencil illustrations.

Increasingly, graphic novels have become a mainstream form of literature for both children and young adults. In 2007, American Born Chinese became the first graphic novel to win the Printz award. Be sure to read the sequential are portion of the course readings to learn more about comics and graphic novels for youth.

Many classic works like Tolkien's Hobbit have been adapted for the graphic novel format.

Zebrafish is a realistic fiction graphic novel by Peter Reynolds and Fablevision. In addition to the book, there's also a website with resources and activities related to the themes in the book.

Many works for children and young adults are being distributing as both graphic novels and traditional text-based books. It's interesting to compare these two formats.

Neil Gaiman is known for his multiple formats. For instance, Coraline is available as a traditional book, graphic novel, and animated film. As you compare approaches, think about how descriptive passages convey characters, settings, and plot elements in a visual way rather than using text.

Genre-bending books are hot. Malice by Chris Wooding combines text-only chapters with short graphic novel-style sections.

A wide range of media have been used to produce book illustrations. You're probably most familiar with high quality paintings. However, collage, pencil, and many other illustration techniques can be used along with new digital art technologies. Read about these in your course materials.

Steve Jenkins uses collage to illustrate his many works related to science topics. In the Beetle Book, the artwork very realistically conveys every detail of the beetles described.

Russell Freedman is an award-winning nonfiction author. He won the Newbery medal for Lincoln: A Photobiography which is normally awarded to works of fiction. Freedman's biography of Lincoln wove together engaging nonfiction narrative with historical photographs.

Albert Marrin is known for his use of historical photographs in books. The photos in Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl are an excellent way to help children understand this time period.

Beyond the media used, it's interesting to examine the many different techniques used in book design. For instance, Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens is oriented in a different way than most children's books. This is a wonderful book to talk with children about vegetables that grow on top of the ground and under the ground. Children can then create their own cross-sections of gardens.

As you explore picture books, look for techniques that draw your attention. For instance, I'm a fan of picture books with meaningful borders running around the edges of the page. A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry is one of my favorites.

Each two page spread explores a particular location at a specific point in history. In Cherry's book, the border art relates to the items that would be found at that particular time period. In this case, the time when the Nashua people lived along the river.

In many of Jan Brett's books like The Hat, the border illustrations preview what will happen on the next page.

Some people love the realistic quality of the illustrations of artists like Chris Van Allsburg in books like Jumanji.

Others prefer the simplicity of an illustrator like Mo Willems.

It's essential that a librarian's personal views not impact their selection decisions. This rule becomes difficult when dealing with illustrations. Books with visuals that you find ugly or uninspiring may be exciting or stimulating for a child. Let's explore some Caldecott Award winning books. Share an illustrator you love and one that you don't. Do you think children would feel the same way?

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.

Picture Books

Let's talk about picture books for youth.

It's the combination of pictures and words that attracts children to picture books. I received Lyle and the Birthday Party as a present as a child. I read it over and over again. What picture books did you read over and over again as a child?

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen is a wonderful example of a picture book where the words, the illustration, and the reader's mind work together to experience the story. As the adult reads the words ;And he probably won't wake up for a long 9me;, the child will immediately notice that they big fish is awake and will soon be looking for the little fish who stole his hat.

Let's explore some of the different categories of picture books.
The Skull Book is my new favorite alphabet book. Readers are challenged to look at the skull and try to figure out the answer. The page reads. ;A is for... We are not telling you! As you read this book you will have to use your skull - actually what is in your skull: your brain! Can you guess what animal this is? Think! Its skull is perfectly shaped for eating small, six-legged creatures.; It's an anteater skull!

Some of the best counting books are simple. Fish Eyes is a great example. The tactile element of punched out eyes makes counting fun and easy.

Concept books focus on a single topic such as weather or transportation. Authors like Gail Gibbons are known for their short, simply concept books.

Informational picture books like What Do You Do With A Tail Like This? rely as much on visual information as they do on text content.

Picture storybooks focus on telling a story with a beginning, middle, climax, and conclusion. The Fungus that Ate My School is just plain fun. Youth love school stories where strange things happen.

In More Parts by Tedd Arnold, children enjoy a good story while learning about figures of speech like ;a broken heart; or ;giving someone a hand; and ;holding your tongue;. It's simply hilarious and the illustrations just add to the fun.

Teachers enjoy introducing important concepts to children through the use of picture books. Janell Cannon's books like Stellaluna and Verdi are great examples. When possible, I like to associate stuff animals and puppets with children's books.

Take Me Home Country Roads, Sunshine on my Shoulders, and Grandma's Feather Bed are just three of the many songs that John Denver made famous in the 1970s. Christopher Canyon has illustrated the song lyrics and added a CD, so you can sing along.

From Where's Waldo to I Spy, young people love participation books. Graeme Base is know for his participatory elements. For instance, some books even have games built into the book itself.

Predictable books have repetitive features or circular plotlines that involve readers. The book Who Sank the Boat by Pamela Allen is an example of a predictable book sure to get children giggling. On each page, another animal boards the boat. Who do you think will sink the boat?

First the Egg is a wonderful book for the earliest readers. With only a couple words on each page, it's able to tell a predictable story. Cutouts on each page add to the interest.

Wordless books have increased in popularity over the past decade. These books are so well-illustrated that they can tell the en9re story without the need for words. Journey by Aaron Becker is a recent example.

Unspoken by Henry Cole is a wonderful example of a wordless book. It tells the story of a young girl's activities as part of the underground railroad.

Teachers often use wordless books in classroom writing activities.

Novelty books include a wide range of engineered books that contain flaps, folds, and objects that readers can manipulate. Although children love them, they can be a nightmare for librarians because they are easily damaged. Think carefully about how to handle circulation of these delicate books.

When selecting picture books, it's important to think about both the graphic and text elements of the page. For instance, the illustrator of Tar Beach uses rich quilt and collage elements to bring urban living alive for readers.

Keep in mind that picture books aren't just for young children. Books like The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! Are popular into middle school.

This time, you have a choice of Bookbits. Spend some time analyzing the work of an illustrator from the list provided in the Course Guide.

Another choice is to compare the graphic novel version of a book with the text version.

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.

Child Development

Let’s talk about child development.

Librarians need to be able to purchase great materials for youth. However, they also need to be able to match these works to the needs of specific children. Although each child matures at their own rate, it’s useful to be able aware of general benchmarks experienced by all children. Let’s explore some key ideas at each stage.

Board books with close-up photos and high-contrast visuals are a great way to introduce infants to books.

Toddlers enjoy predictable books like those by Eric Carle. Brown Bear Brown Bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me... Extend the experience of reading beyond the book. What does the toddler see?

Pre-school aged children enjoy rhymes and word play. Their interests begin to extend to topics like animals, trucks, and popular television characters.

Emergent readers aged 5-7 often focus on themes related to home, school, friendship, and adventures. Although they’re building basic reading skills, it’s important that they continue to enjoy picture books with the assistance of adults.

Many children like to read books featuring their favorite animated characters like Arthur and Dora. Notice the numbers in the upper corner of the cover. They indicate the reading level. Although these come from two different publishers, their leveling systems are similar.

Fluent readers aged 8 and 9 are becoming more independent. However, picture books continue to be a great reading experiences.

Children get excited about books with chapters. Even the shortest chapter book is a big step for beginning readers.

Although Pearl and Wagner Four Eyes by Kate McMullan only contains three chapters, it’s just the right size for beginners.

Young Cam Jansen is a popular beginning reader series. The very short chapters are easy to read and the stories focus on everyday mysteries like the Pizza Shop Mystery.

Tweens often immerse themselves in series like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson and the Olympians. However, some children don’t have the reading skills to excel with these books. Use the "Five Finger" rule to help these readers find books they will be successful reading. Ask the child to open a book to any page. Begin reading the page and put up a finger for each unknown word. If the child reaches five fingers before completing the page, the book will be too difficult and frustrating to read.

Regardless of age, it’s important to read books aloud to children. The Indiana Library Federation maintains lists of great read-aloud books.

Officer Buckle and Gloria is a great book for young children and The Year of Billy Miller would be great for elementary children. However, Between Shades of Gray is intended for a young adult audience. They’re very different books with very different themes and audiences. It’s your job to think about who might like what books. One of your BookBit choices is share a reading experience with two young people.

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.

Traditional Literature

Let’s talk about traditional literature for youth.

Traditional literature tells the stories that were originally passed down from generation to generation through oral storytelling. Many of stories with similar themes can be found across cultures. These stories o>en have stereotypical good and evil characters with storylines that reflect timeless moral elements list kindness and mercy. Folklore is the general term used to describe the narrative traditions of a particular culture.

Folktales are the most general stories of a culture. Gerald McDermott was known for his beau0fully illustrated trickster tales from Native American culture.

Fairytales are a particular type of folktale often associated with the Brother’s Grimm. However many of these fairytales are much older and found in cultures from around the world such as a Chinese version of the Red Riding Hood story.

Ballads, Epics, and Legends are another category. Many epics have been rewritten as graphic novels.

Fables are short fictional stories that include a moral lesson. Aesop’s fables can be found in both traditional book form as well as apps. They are often available in multiple languages such as English, Spanish, or Chinese.

Another category is the myth. Found across cultures, myths have been woven into popular fantasy literature series such as The Sea of Trolls trilogy based on Norse mythology.

Tall tales are uniquely American. They include larger than life characters and storylines with exaggerated details.

Every culture has their own traditional literature. Many story collections reflect the stories of a particular group. Trickster: Native American Tales is a graphic collection of short stories by different illustrators. Each story focuses on a different trickster tale from Native American folklore.

Keep in mind that many traditional stories have roots in religion. Having a knowledge of the traditions and stories from various religions can be very useful in understanding these both culture and religion.

Recently, many authors and illustrators have reinvented traditional stories. Or, incorporated well-known historical figures or characters into their works.

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.

Fantasy Literature

Let’s talk about fantasy literature for youth.

Yes... I have always been a science fiction geek. Once I whizzed through The Wrinkle in Time and The Phantom Tollbooth was ready for more. When the TV shows Lost in Space and Star Trek were aired, I was hooked. I quickly skipped from children’s books to adult reads. It wasn’t until the late 60s and early 70s that literature written specifically for young adults was introduced.

Fantasy literature tells a story that could not happen in the real world. It is popular with all ages. Young children enjoy reading about fantasy creatures like monsters and dragons entering their everyday worlds. These stories become increasingly important as children begin to separate the real world from the imaginary world.

Young adults are drawn to works that depict coming-of-age issues in other worlds. For some youth and adults alike, fantasy just isn’t their thing. Some people prefer realistic fiction and have a difficult time suspending disbelief. They may find the idea of aliens ridiculous rather than thought-provoking. However, the idea of alternative worlds and dystopian societies is very popular among youth, so it’s essential that librarians become familiar with the many categories that might be of interest to youth. The Uglies books by Scott Westerfeld is one of many popular fantasy series.

Animal fantasy is a popular sub-genre. Graphic novels are growing in popularity. The Mouse Guard series by David Peterson is a great example. The illustrations bring the characters to life.

Contemporary fantasy like the Percy Jackson series is set in the modern day.

Rick Yancey is a master of creepy stories. His monster series set in the 19th century have the gothic themes that teens love. Other popular creature and monster fantasies feature vampires, werewolves, and other interesting characters.

Dark fantasy involve the elements of horror and dread.

For the past decade, dystopian fiction has been extremely popular with young adults. These books deal with a society that is the opposite of ideal. Often set in a post- apocalyptic world, the stories often focus on oppression, suffering, and basic survival.

J.K. Rowling is responsible for bringing back the fantasy series. The Harry Potter series is a work of contemporary fantasy. However, it’s also in the high fantasy or epic fantasy category. High fantasy contains well-developed, imaginary worlds with complex creatures like demons, elves, and wizards. The conflicts often center on issues of good and evil.

Some fantasies have elements of mystery. These stories may include detectives, ghost hunters, or other characters seeking answers to questions. Although commonly series books, they may stand alone like Before I Fall.

The Twilight series is a popular example of romance fantasy. These books involve magical creatures or horror elements with a roman<c twist.

Science fiction is a type of fantasy that includes futuristic settings, science, and technology. The imaginary worlds may incorporate time travel, aliens, or parallel universes. The Time Warp Trio is a popular science fiction series for youth. Recent releases like Aliens on Vacation and Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies have incorporated elements of humor.

Steampunk is a popular sub-genre of science fiction featuring steam-powered machinery, robots, and Victorian era elements. My passion for steampunk may be rooted in graphic novels. Daisy Kutter: The Last Train is set in the old American west, but somehow robots keep appearing. It’s a cool concept. I also enjoy having a strong female play the leading role.

Superhero fiction is often associated with comics and graphic novels. Many books for younger readers incorporate silly themes and lots of humor. Recently, the popular comic publishers have collaborated with the LEGO brand.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if whales took over the world? Sound silly? It is! Humor and fantasy make an interesting combination.

No longer are books simply paragraphs on a page. Text is being presented in the form of screenplays, text messages, and blog posting. Graphics are woven together with text to create graphic novels and other works of sequential art. Audio, video, and animation are being interspersed with traditional text. Increasingly, works of fantasy are incorporating transmedia elements. These multiplatform stories are told through social media sites, videos, blogs, and other web-based media. The Cathy’s Series contains a packet of materials to supplement the book. In addition, readers access social media such as Facebook and mobile technology.

Some books contain QR codes that can be activated with a mobile device.

Spaceheadz contains web connections. Throughout the book, children find website address and links to YouTube videos. They can’t resist checking out the websites to see if they are real... or in this case, real, fake websites.

Censorship is a serious problem with works of fantasy. Religious groups have challenged the magic in Harry Potter and the themes of His Dark Materials. Parents have been concerned about themes in books like the Bridge to Terabithia and The Giver.

Look for well-written fantasies with credible characters, a believable plot, and a well- developed setting.

A growing number of publishers are finding ways to extend the reading experience. For instance, fans of the Spiderwick Chronicles can read the field guide introduced in the book. Many supplemental resources have been published to go with the Harry Potter books and Twilight series.

The next two Book-bits involve reading works of fantasy. Let’s start with fantasy with children.

Next, you’ll explore fantasy literature for young adults.

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.

Realistic Fiction

Let’s talk about realistic fiction for youth.

Realistic fiction tells a story that could happen in contemporary society. The characters, plot, and setting are all plausible, but come from the imagination of the author. The stories mirror the real world including the good, bad, and ugly. When I was growing up, E L. Konigsburg was my favorite author of realistic fiction. In 1990, I had the opportunity to meet her at a conference.

John Green is currently the hot young adult author of realistic fiction. His award winning books include the popular book about teens with cancer titled The Fault in Our Stars.

Many literary techniques are used in realistic fiction. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary is a Newbery award winning book. This quick read is popular with children because of the letter format.

Youth enjoy books that use interesting literary techniques involving perspective. A popular approach is the use of multiple narrators.

Let’s explore some categories of realistic fiction.

Will Hobbs is known for adventure and survival stories. These types of stories are o^en nominated for state book awards.

Living in Utah, I was immediately attracted to the Adventure with the Parkers, national stories. They follow the adventures of a family as the camp and hike in different national parks.

There are many books available for animal lovers. The award winning Shiloh series is an example. Both boys and girls enjoy these books.

Many works of realistic fiction incorporate comedy elements.

Mysteries are great for young readers because they have a predictable format. The Nate the Great books are a wonderful example. In addition to the stories, the book contain a set of activities that relate to the book’s theme.

Some mystery series contain a particular theme such as art mysteries.

Some young adults, particularly females, are obsessed with teen romance novels. I’m not a huge fan, but I did like Along for the Ride. Keep in mind that there are many kinds of romances and types of relationship.

Andrew Clements is popular author of school, friends, and family stories. Many teachers use his works in reading groups, so children often come to the library looking for more of these school and friendships books.

Many books focus on the challenges facing their characters. Hearing and vision loss, mobility issues, illness, and abuse are just a few of the possibilities. These social problem novels are often associated with issues related to class, race, or gender prejudices.

Like animal stories, sports stories have a very particular audience. While some youth enjoy a focus on the sports elements, others prefer to read about the challenges of teamwork and peer interaction.

Censorship is common in the realistic fiction category. While some people disapprove of the violent themes in a book like I Hunt Killers, others dislike the sexual content of books.

When selecting books for youth, authenticity is important. Think about whether a particular book has interesting, complex characters. Also seek engaging plots and real-world settings that appeal to youth.

Spend some time reading realistic fiction. Let’s start with realistic fiction for children.

Next, let’s explore some realistic fiction for young adults. Remember, books aren’t just available on paper. Consider reading an ebook or audiobook of your choice.

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.

Historical Fiction

Let’s talk about historical fiction for youth.

Historical fiction sets the story at some time in the past. These narratives are a wonderful way to engage young people in an exploration of history. Readers are able to experience the struggles of war, hunger, and fear through the eyes of compelling characters. Code Name Verity is a recent favorite of mine set during World War II.

Seek works that help youth understand the challenges faced by those from other cultures. Laurence Yep’s Golden Mountain Chronicles follow 150 years of the Young family from 1849 to the present as they address the challenges of living in China and moving to America.

From diary entries and dialogues to free verse, authors of historical fiction use many interesting literary techniques. May B takes place on the Kansas Prairie and is written in free verse.

The Brooklyn Nine takes an unusual literary approach. It’s called a novel in nine innings. The book follows one family through nine generations using baseball as the thread that weaves the story together.

Fever 1793 is one of my favorites because youth can easily relate to the protagonist. Let’s explore some categories of historical fiction.

Gary Paulsen is known for his historical adventures. For instance, Soldier’s Heart follows a volunteer soldier during the Civil War.

Some works of historical fiction incorporate elements of fantasy. The popular Magic Tree House series involve time travel, but deal with real historical events.

The Al Capone Does... series incorporate both humor and mystery.

Historical mysteries are a great way to introduce young people to historical fiction. The P.K. Pinkerton series by Caroline Lawrence introduces youth to a detective agency in Virginia City, Nevada Territory during the 1860’s Wild West period. There’s a website with lots of information to go with the books.

Historical romance is commonly found in the works of Ann Rinaldi.

Great books can be found in every time period. For instance, The Roman Mysteries is an example set during ancient civilizations.

Karen Cushman is known for her books set during the Middle Ages.

Books set during the sixteenth through the eighteen centuries often focus on colonization and settlement. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi is one of my favorites.

Many books deal with the American Revolution time period.

Many books during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century deal with issues related to slavery and the abolitionist movement.

Many books set during the mid nineteenth century focus on the American Civil War.

Look for books that bring an event alive for readers. I’ve always been fascinated by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Many other great books take place during the rise of industrial American from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century.

Books about The Great Depression and Word War II are popular with youth. The Book Thief is an outstanding example that can be enjoyed by both teens and adults.

An increasing number of books now focus on the post-World War II era through today. For instance Walter Dean Myers has written about both the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

There’s lots of great historical fiction for children and young adults. Graphic novels are becoming increasingly popular in the area of historical fiction. Read and discuss one from the list.

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.

Nonfiction and Informational Reading

Let’s talk about nonfiction and informational reading for youth.

From books about animals to how-to craft books, there are many choices for youth in the nonfiction section of the library. I teach an entire course on this topic, so be sure to check out my website. Let’s explore some different aspects of nonfiction and informational reading.

Narrative nonfiction is a popular trend. Rather than dry facts about a topic, the authors tell stories and often weave in historical documents like photographs, letters, and journal entries. Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon is an award winning example.

You don’t usually think of the words “love story” and “evolutionary biology” in the same sentence. However Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith is both. In the forward, Jonathan Weiner writes “Reading Charles and Emma, one feels that their love story was one of the most significant adventures and greatest masterpieces of Darwin’s life.” I agree. The book is a unique work of narrative nonfiction that’s unlike any other biography I’ve ever read. When purchasing materials for youth, look for works that provide interesting perspectives and ways of presentation information.

You can find many great autobiographies and biographies for youth. Young people are particularly interested in books about their favorite authors. Or, books related to their favorite book. This Star Won’t Go Out is based on the real journals and blogs of Esther Earl who died of cancer. John Green wrote the introduction to the book. It’s a wonderful companion to the popular novel The Fault in Our Stars.

Books about humanities, history, and social studies topics range from picture books to narrative nonfiction. Look for books that feature real youth. For instance, Dear Miss Breed contains the stories of Japanese American children incarcerated during World War II. A San Diego children’s librarian wrote to many of these young people during their time in the internment camps. Adults and youth find this book fascinating.

Using historical photographs, newspaper articles, and other primary source materials, Candace Fleming takes a scrapbooking approach to nonfiction writing with books like The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary.

Dwight Zimmerman is becoming known for his works of graphic nonfiction. The Vietnam War is a graphic history. This award-winning military author weaves accurate information with visuals that will attract reluctant readers.

Yes. I will admit to being a LEGO geek. There are many wonderful books that combine elements of science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM. Books about building with LEGO are popular with youth.

For high-quality science books, look for the Scientists in the Field series from the Smithsonian. This series examines a topic through the eyes of the scientists who work in the area. The books incorporate wonderful photos, diagrams, and other visual elements.

The Magic School Bus books focus on Ms. Frizzle, the science teacher and her class of enthusiastic students. Although the magic school adds a fantasy element, the stories are really basic concept books each focusing on a different theme... in this case, bats.

Jim Murphy is known from his works of highly illustrated nonfiction. Seek out books that combine history and science like Invincible Microbe Tuberculosis.

Nonfiction books don’t need to be filled with dry facts. Looks for books that will attract reluctant readers. One of my favorites is How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous. From King Tut to Albert Einstein, each chapter focuses on the demise of a famous person.

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.


Let’s talk about magazines for youth.

When I was growing up, I enjoyed getting a magazine in the mail each month. First it was Highlights. Then, as I got older I enjoyed MAD and Tiger Beat. Did you read magazines as a child?

Today, there are many options for youth magazine readers. Science topics are popular with children and their teachers.

Many children enjoy reading magazines based on television shows they like to watch.

Many of the magazines are girl or boy specific. As you see what magazines youth choose, you can sometimes help them move from reading magazines to books on topics of interest.

Teachers often request magazines like Cobblestone and Appleseeds. Archives can be found in electronic databases for student projects.

Many teens enjoy magazines geared specifically for young adults.

Many teens enjoy magazines designed for adults.

Spend some time exploring magazines for children and young adults.

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.

Poetry and Short Story Collections

Let’s talk about poetry and short story collections for youth.

While some youth love poetry, others hate it. Personally, I didn’t enjoy poetry until I became a school librarian. I’m a big fan of Jack Prelutsky. The New Kid on the Block came out when I was an elementary media specialist.

Poetry uses rhythmic language to express an idea or tell a story. Use well-illustrated poetry collections to introduce popular poems to youth.

Keep in mind that there are many forms of poetry. Help youth find the form that matches their interest. For instance, Arnold Lobel’s piger-icks are hilarious.
“There was an old pig with a pen
Who wrote stories and verse now and then.
To enhance these creations,
He drew illustrations,
With brushes, some paints and his pen”

There are many award winning poetry books. These are a great way to introduce more serious forms of poetry related to topics like people, places, things, and events.

Look for works of poetry that represent different cultures. The Surrender Tree focuses on poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom. Like other literary forms, poetry is subject to censorship.

Short story collections are often overlooked, but they’re a wonderful way for youth to try out new authors. For instance, Zombies vs Unicorns contains stories from many of the hottest young adult authors.

Story collections are great for busy youth looking for a quick read. While some collections are put together to fund a cause, others are focused on a particular theme.

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.


Let’s talk about issues in diversity related to materials for youth.

When selecting materials for youth, librarians should consider issues of diversity. Often, racial differences are the first to come to mind, but gender, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, and disability are just a few of the other areas for consideration. For instance, Marcelo in the Real World features a character with autism.

Many children and young adults develop misconceptions about cultures and stereotypical views about the people who live in particular places. It's important that they are exposed to a variety of reading experiences related to international perspectives.

Multicultural children’s literature attempts to represent cultural differences to young readers. For instance, African American literature features black authors, characters, and culture.

Asian American literature often explore topics related to the immigrant experience.

Latino and latina literature include books that portray the latino cultural experience.

Multicultural literature may include many different formats such as picture books and graphic novels. For instance, The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey retells classic Jewish folktales in an appealing format.

Interest in books about Middle East, Far East, and South Asian cultures have gained in popularity over the past decade.

Red is Beautiful is written in both English and the Navajo language. Both languages are on the same page.

Can you name these three books? I’ll give you three seconds......It’s The Hungry Caterpillar in Japanese, Harry Potter in Chinese, and Where the Wild Things are in Korean. As you select books, think about your audience. While most of the children coming to your library probably speak English, they may speak other languages at home. If you have a large Spanish-speaking population, think about books for youth you may offer in the Spanish language edition.

It's important that children and young adults have opportunities to read about youth who face intellectual and physical challenges.
Pink or blue, dolls or trucks, girl or boy books... gender stereotypes continue to be in the normal.
Although many works for youth published since the 1970s have tried to dispel traditional gender stereotypes, many books are still described as "boy books" or "girl books". On the other hand, there are differences in what typical boy and girls prefer to read. The Guys Read books and website focus on ways to attract boys to reading. It’s really interesting to read what popular authors say about being boys. It’s a “must read” for female librarians.

The number and quality of books that address gender and family diversity issues have dramatically increased over the past decade. Picture books are can effective way to show children that there are many types of families. LGBTQ characters have become the protagonists in mainstream works for children and young adults rather than being relegated to secondary roles.

It’s important that multicultural and international books for youth provide a multidimensional rather than a stereotypical view. Stereotypes are simplified, biased views of a particular group such as Jews are rich business people or Mexican Americans are all Catholic. A broad spectrum of people exist within a particular ethnic group. Both negative and positive behaviors are exhibited by all groups.

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.

Media and Technology

Let’s talk about media and technology for youth.

From audiobooks to transmedia storytelling, technology connections have been discussed throughout the course. However, let's spend some time focusing specifically on electronic materials for youth.

You’re probably familiar many of the movies based on children’s books. However, I bet there are many book-movie connections you haven’t made. Spend some time examining my list. You may even be able to add a few other ideas.

How I Live Now is an award-winning book, but many people missed the movie when it came out. Some of these lesser-known book-movie connections can be found at Netflix.

Audiobooks, web-based reading, e-books, and interactive apps are available for many of the materials discussed throughout this course.

No longer are children lugging heavy encyclopedia volumes to do their school reports or find out about pet care. Instead, many are heading to electronic resources.

Websites and apps are available to help youth learn in both formal and informal situations. Brain Pop is a popular example.

Children and young adults can use creativity resources to develop exciting personal and school projects that involve writing, drawing, recording sounds, and incorporating video. Think of these as the tools of technology.

Many books have accompanying websites that provide information, games, and extension activities.

We’re done with new content, so it’s time to work on your three projects. Book trailers and book talks are great ways to promote materials for youth. Spend some time exploring the book trailers of popular publishers for ideas. Use book trailers and book talks to promote topics like poetry, short stories, traditional works, and diverse materials that are often overlooked by youth.

LibGuides is a great tool. Let’s make pathfinders! Pick a topic of your choice and jump in! Be sure to read about building quality pathfinders on the Media and Technology course page.

It’s important to pick the right book for each child. Spend some time thinking about children and their developmental needs.

Looking for some fun? Try comparing books with their movie counterparts.

Ready for even more fun? End the semester with some humor books. Everyone’s different. What makes you laugh?

Enjoy reading and writing about materials for youth.

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