readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Friday, October 23, 2009

TRW Tribute: Lauren Baratz-Logsted 7:00


What is Teen Read Week (TRW)?

Teen Read Week is an initiative launched by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) in 1998 to encourage and celebrate reading in teens. This year TRW will be celebrated from Oct 18-24 with the theme being Read For The Fun Of It. Thousands of libraries, classrooms and bookstores will participate.

Many teens are already in love with reading, but it's wonderful to have this annual celebration to encourage even more reading. In an era where teens have more distractions and demands on their time than ever before, it's important to remind them of the joys to be had in books.

So what can you do to help? Check out your local library or bookstore and see what sort of events they're planning for TRW and encourage teens you know to attend. TRW is also a great way to be reminded just how much library services do for teens.

The point is, as the YALSA site states, "Research shows that teens who read for fun have better test scores and are more likely to succeed in the workforce." Who doesn't want that for their kids? Or even kids who aren't your kids since better test scores and more people succeeding in the workforce benefits everybody?

So get those teens you know reading. And while you're at it, maybe it's time you tried some YA literature yourself. A few months ago I wrote a piece for the wonderful literary ezine BiblioBuffet on "Reading YA in an Adult World". Here's what I wrote, in part:

Today’s YA fiction, in the overwhelming majority of cases, is written from the authentic point of view of a YA, not employing the benefit-of-old-age trick. That’s the real critical difference between it and adult fiction. But the beauty of the current YA landscape? Everything you see on the adult side of the store—literary, mystery, romance, comedy, you name it—it’s all there on the YA side, but with one more critical difference: because the audience is still discovering the newness of the world in terms of events and ideas, the writing somehow manages to match that newness by being fresh.

That freshness, that sense of an audience that can still be wowed by looking at the world in ways they’ve never dreamt of before, is what I think has drawn so many power-hitting, previously adults-only authors to start writing in the genre. Sherman Alexie, Carl Hiassen, Alice Hoffman, Francine Prose—all have begun publishing books on both sides of the aisle. I suspect that one thing they’re discovering is not just that feeling of freshness but also the wide-open nature of the form, where writers can stretch their wings in astonishingly wonderful ways. Can you imagine an adult novelist writing 600-page prose poems and getting published? YA novelist Ellen Hopkins has done it, with every single book, each of which has made the New York Times bestseller list.

Freshness of ideas, freedom of form. Adults who have fallen in love with the new YA aren’t people who’ve regressed to childhood. They’re people who’ve expanded their horizons, finding a way to make an old thing in their lives—reading—new again.

Hmm...reading over that made me decide what I'm going to do this year to celebrate TRW. From Oct 18-24 I'm going to read only YA fiction.

How about you? Care to join me?

Be well. Don't forget to write.



Melissa Walker said...

Yay, Lauren! I read almost all YA all year round!

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