As a teen librarian, my goal is to provide a diverse and informative collection for the teens in the community. In Agosto’s article, it was sad to see how research in young adult services has been known to leave out teen input. I found the story of the teen girl who was confused by the sign reading “Young Adult Paperbacks” to be especially memorable. As the article states, “Young adult is a term known only to librarians (and publishers) to mean ‘adolescents'” (Agosto, 2013, p. 42). As an avid young adult reader myself, when people ask me what books I enjoy reading, I have the urge to explain exactly what young adult means. It’s true that YA is a term that isn’t really used outside of the publishing world. The story really stuck with me. It shows how librarians must take care that everything in the young adult department, from the book collection, to the programs, to the decor, must be made with the teen community in mind. Librarians must always ask themselves what the teens would want when developing the department, and if they aren’t certain of the answer, they must ask for input from the teens themselves.
My strategy as a teen librarian would be to focus on my passions, and then to work from there. My interests are teen fantasy, science fiction, and teen contemporaries. I’m already very well read in these areas, and would enjoy collection development for them. I would search for holes in these genres. Perhaps the fantasy books are missing diverse protagonists, or the science fiction books have too many dystopians and not enough space operas. Most importantly, I would pay attention to the teens who come into the library. I could see what materials the teen checks out the most, as well as what materials teens are asking for that we don’t have. There are young adult resources that I am not as well versed in. For example, I don’t think I have an especially good eye for interior design. In these areas, I would rely on the teens even more. I would interview teens, perhaps some of the regular patrons, and ask them how I could decorate and furnish the room to cater to their interests.
Lastly, it’s important to consider the teen room beyond being just a place for books. “We need to move away from this library-centered focus to the teen-centered focus…” (Agosto, 2014, p. 45). If teens need the computers, then we have to make sure our computers are up to date. Maybe they’re looking to make friends in a safe environment, and rely on the library’s programs for that. Just as the article says, I agree that it’s important to ask teens what they’re using the library for, and to then respond accordingly.
Agosto, D. (2013). “Envisaging Young Adult Librarianship from a Teen-Centered Perspective.” In Transforming Young Adult Services, edited by Anthony Bernier, pp. 3352. Chicago: Neal-Schuman.
Youth, Popular Culture, and the Media Examining Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Histories
Educators must understand what is popular, why it is popular, and use this knowledge to both educate youth and help them dismantle media misrepresentations of people based on race, gender, sexuality, etc. (p. 34)
Popular culture isn’t limited to taste, but is determined by systemic construction. Today it is still defined as the experiences of the white, thin, heterosexual, able-bodied, and wealthy (p. 23).
While this is true, it’s also true that what’s popular is constantly changing, and educators must keep up with these changes in order to educate and connect with young people.
Measuring time spent with media: the Common Sense census of media use by US 8- to 18-year-olds
Many of the assumptions we make about teen media consumption are incorrect. For example, we may think that most teens text frequently, but only about half of teens in the U.S. send any text messages at all.
Girls and boys have different media preferences.. On a given day, a little less than half of boys play video games, while the number for girls is much smaller. Girls spend more time on social media and listening to music than boys do.
The first article urges educators to understand how media affects young people. The second article provides the statistics of how much media teens consume, and how demographics affect what they consume. It is important to understand which groups are consuming which types of media and why in order to better advocate for them.
Haddix, M., Garcia, A., and Price-Dennis, D. (2017). Youth, Popular Culture, and the Media: Examining Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Histories. In Hinchman, K. A., Appleman, D. (eds.) Adolescent literacies: A handbook of practice-based research, pp.21-37. New York: The Guilford Press.
Rideout, V. (2016). Measuring time spent with media: the Common Sense census of media use by US 8-to 18-yearolds. Journal of Children and Media, 10(1), 138-144.
I selected this article because I wanted recent news that happened near the East Meadow Public Library where I work. The incident occurred across the street from the library in Eisenhower Park. The article describes how a Uniondale teen slashed another teen in the face with a knife during a basketball game.
The phrase “became irate”, stated by Nassau County Police, is quoted in the article. The article says that the motivation for the stabbing isn’t clear. Based on stereotypes against teens, the article subtly portrays him as possibly emotionally unstable. As Morgan so adequately stated in her post, “silently affecting the situation’s portrayal” is the fact that the teen in my article is a POC. Similar to Morgan’s article, there are other factors in my article that feed into stereotypes. The picture, for example, shows the teen with blood shot eyes and a scowling expression.
It’s easy to view this as an isolated incident. We could say that this story is about one bad seed, and harmless to teens in general. However, the bias against teenagers is very real. Unfortunately, these biases affect how libraries treat teens too. When I studied library spaces to research for a community profile, it was apparent to me how often teen spaces are small and isolated from the rest of the library. At a library I used to frequent, the clerks were harsher toward the teens than other patrons, and the security guard would shout at them for talking too much. The whole library could hear him, and there were multiple scenarios where he threatened to call the police. Library workers need to be extra careful about what news they read, and about their own internal biases when serving teen patrons.
Dog’s Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting is a popular children’s book that works on multiple levels. It’s humorous to see Dog get messier and messier with each accident he gets into, it encourages interaction as the child can help count how many spots are on Dog, and it has bright and colorful pictures. It also helps that the book is about a dog, an animal that’s often well loved by children. The book incorporates both colors and counting to stimulate learning.
Here is a list of read aloud books with one or more of the qualities that make Dog’s Colorful Day so fun! As an added bonus, many of these books are educational as well.
Most of these titles are available for check out at East Meadow Public Library. Books recommended for ages 2-5.
The worst thing a book can do is bore a child. So make em’ laugh!
Good Thing You’re Not an Octopus! by Julie Markes (Illustrated by Maggie Smith)
Don’t like getting dressed in the morning? If you were an octopus, you’d have to put on pants for eight legs! This book is less a story and more a list of funny scenarios. However, the situations are outrageous enough to keep your child laughing while learning about different animals.
Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathon London (Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz)
Froggy wants to go outside to play in the snow! But every time he goes outside, his mom reminds him that he’s forgotten an article of clothing. He’ll need to take articles of clothing off to put the new item on (he needs to take off his shoes to put on his socks, and so on). Just when Froggy’s all bundled up and ready to go he realizes he’s forgotten something else…his underwear!
Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
When George’s mother tells him to bark, he quacks, moos, and meows! What could be wrong? This hilarious, multiple award winning, book will have your child laughing from beginning to end. Ask your child what animals George is mimicking. Then, invite him or her to make the animal noises with you.
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri)
Dragons love tacos. Unfortunately, they can’t enjoy their tacos with spicy salsa. If they accidentally eat any, things get a little too…hot. This book is silly all the way through, and will probably make you really want a taco by the end of it.
Dear Dragon by Josh Funk (Illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo
Another book about dragons! In this story Blaise and George are pen pals who tell each other everything. There’s just one problem. One of them is a dragon, one of them is a person, and neither of them know it! What will happen when they learn the truth? A sweet story about friendship and acceptance.
Books that children can do more than just listen to!
Can You Jump Like a Kangaroo? by Jez Alborough
Can’t get your child to sit still for a story? Not a problem. This short picture book invites him or her to stand up and jump, waddle, or scamper along.
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
This is another book your child doesn’t need to sit still for. From Head to Toe, by beloved children’s author Eric Carle, is better if your child stands! He or she can follow along with the book while learning about what different animals can do with their bodies.
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
While this book isn’t as inviting as the others, it can be made interactive. A recipient of multiple awards, including the Redbook Children’s Picture Book Award and a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year, Mouse Paint is a fun story about three little mice who make a big mess. As you read, point to the paint and ask the child what color he or she sees. When the mice mix the paints, see if your child can guess what new color they’ll make before turning the page. For added fun, use real paint and follow along with the mice!
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen (Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury)
An award winning classic, this book is often read in a sing-song way. Children will swishing-swashing and stumble-tripping all the way through until the end, where they will encounter a big, furry bear!
Illustrations: Pop Ups
You can’t have a good picture book without good art. All of the titles on this list have appealing illustrations. Pop up books take it up a level. I find that they never fail to dazzle children.
Butterfly, Butterfly: A Book of Colors by Peter Horáček
This book tells the endearing story of a girl named Lucy who’s looking for a butterfly. Lucy encounters different types of bugs in the park. Just when she’s ready to give up, out pops her butterfly. The last page of this book features a butterfly pop up that never fails to delight children.
Under the Ocean by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud
This book has lovely prose and gorgeous scenery. Your child will sail through stormy seas and arctic landscapes. This book is great for stimulating your child’s imagination.
More great titles to read aloud!
One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by David Bernstrom (Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
A sneaky snake gobbles up a boy with a whirly-twirly toy, but the boy is clever! He has a plan for escape. The text is appealingly rhythmic and the colorful illustrations are perfect for the jungle setting. Publisher’s Weekly recommends this book for ages 4 and up.
Clip-Clop! by Nicola Smee
Mr. Horse gives some of his friends a ride. Clip clop, clippity-clop! This book’s use of repetition, as well as the surprise ending, will keep your child engaged.
Dog’s ABC: A Silly Story About the Alphabetby Emma Dodd
Don’t forget about Dog! His adventures continue in this book about the alphabet.
Reading Aloud Tips
Try to be as consistent as possible.
If you can, set a scheduled time to read aloud to your child daily.
Don’t get frustrated if reading aloud doesn’t work right away.
If you’re trying interactive or fun books and your child still doesn’t enjoy reading aloud, don’t get frustrated! These listening and literacy skills can be learned over time. “Remember: The art of listening is an acquired one. It must be taught and cultivated gradually—it doesn’t happen overnight” (Trelease, 2013, p. 73).
Allow your child to read his or her favorites.
Yes, reading the same book over and over again can be tiring. You might be afraid the child isn’t learning enough if you’re reading the same book over and over, but don’t be! Even if it’s the same book, the child is still practicing and that book is encouraging a love of reading.
Be aware of the stigma towards boy readers.
As boys grow older, many stop reading. As a result, girls usually have higher reading and literacy levels. “The myth that boys won’t read or that it’s not “cool” for boys to love reading plays a big part in how these low levels come to be” (Allyn, 2011, p. 29). Try not to let these ideas get into your head as a parent. Encourage a love of reading in your son from a young age the same way that you would for a daughter.
Trelease, J. (2013). The read-aloud hanbook. New York, NY: Penguin Books.
Children’s Book Review: Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London, Author, Frank Remkiewicz, Illustrator Viking Children’s Books $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-84249-0. (n.d.). Retrieved May 07, 2017, from http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-670-84249-0
Children’s Book Review: One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom, illus. by Brendan Wenzel. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-235485-3. (n.d.). Retrieved May 5, 2017, from http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-235485-3
Spiegelman, N., & Sánchez, S. G. (2015). Lost in NYC: a subway adventure. New York, NY: TOON Books.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Adventure
Grade Level: Toon Comics recommends this for grades 3 and up.
Summary: New student Pablo and his classmate, Alicia, get on the wrong subway on a field trip to the Empire State Building. Now they must find each other and their class in this NYC adventure story.
Review: What a treat this comic was! You don’t have to be a New Yorker to appreciate Lost in NYC, but it certainly does help. In just over fifty pages, the comic manages to make readers feel so invested in the two main characters. The illustrations were also so impressive! They give the reader the fast paced feeling of racing through the crowded, winding streets of NYC. The comic is supported by a diverse cast. I selected this comic because the sense of adventure and theme of friendship make it both a fun and profound read for young children. The bright and colorful pictures will catch a child’s eye, and there are facts and photos about the Empire State Building and subway system to make this comic educational as well.
Educational Connections: The end of the comic features maps, photos, and facts about NYC, the subway system, and the Empire State Building. There is also a section with tips for parents, teachers, and librarians.
Pisano Simone, L. (2012). eBooks, Libraries and the Digital Divide: Harper Collins, the eBook Industry and the Debate on eBook Lending, Econtent Distribution, DRMs, and Democracy. International Journal Of The Book, 9(2), 69-80.
The title of this article jumped out at me. While I was already aware of the digital divide, I had not really considered how eBooks specifically affect it. I selected this article because the digital divide issue is important, and librarians need to think about how we can still present online materials to children who come from less affluent families. The article goes much more in depth than just eBooks and the digital divide. The author, a librarian herself, discusses how access to eBooks are essential to supporting the open exchange of information and ideas. One thing that affects the access to digital information is the number of eBook platforms. For a single eBook one may buy a Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, or other options. However, one must be able to pay for these devices. This poses a question for libraries. We provide the eBook, but what use is it if patrons can’t afford the device necessary to read it? How much help is the library then?
The resources we looked at this week pose similar questions. Some of the resources were recommendations for how much screen time children should have. However, what of the children who don’t have enough access to technology? I thought the Smart App for Kids site was a wonderful resource, specifically for its Free App Friday feature. This weekly feature isn’t going to immediately fix the digital divide problem, but does its part in closing the gap just a little bit more. The Digital Storytime website also had free apps to share. Librarians need to be aware of the digital divide issue, and of sites like this that do their part. Librarians also need to be aware that, while too much screen time is a problem for many children today, not enough access to technology is an issue for less affluent families.
While not limited to this list, diverse books are books that are about people of color, immigrants, religious minorities, and people who are part of the LGBTQA community. “…Although 37% of the population of the United States are people of color, only 10% of children’s books published contained multicultural content” (“We Need Diverse Books FAQ”). While that statistic is startling enough, it’s also true that the majority of books that are banned and challenged are diverse books. Today we live in a very tense political climate. Often these conversations can turn into shouting matches. People will dismiss someone on the grounds of his or her political alliance as opposed to actually listening to what the other side has to say. A book can present ideas in a way that having a conversation with someone cannot. If the reader enjoys a story, he or she will engage with its ideas. Children from all groups need to be reading about children who are unlike them. With this exposure, children can understand that not everyone experiences life in the same way, and this creates empathy toward others.
As Naidoo states in “The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children”, “When children never see their culture represented in a library storytime or in materials on the library shelves, they receive a resounding message that the librarian does not think their culture is important enough to feature in the library” (Naidoo, 2014, p. 3). If a collection is missing materials on a certain culture or community, then the result is twofold. One, young patrons of that community may feel excluded from the collection, and two, young patrons outside of that community may believe the excluded community is not worthy of representation. The quality of materials is important as well. Even if a collection does contain diverse materials, if these materials contain stereotypes or misinformation then they will do more harm than good.
The beauty of a properly diverse collection is that it helps young patrons develop an understanding and appreciation for communities they may or may not be a part of, “By including diversity in its programs and collections, the library has the potential for helping children make cross-cultural connections and develop the skills necessary to function in a culturally pluralistic society” (Naidoo, 2014, p. 5). As communication technology continues to improve, young patrons will increasingly find themselves exposed to new cultures and communities. A diverse collection will help to prepare them for that future.
Naidoo, J. C. (2014). The importance of diversity in library programs and material collections for children. Association for Library Service to Children, American Library Association. Available at http://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/ala.org.alsc/f iles/content/ALSCwhitepaper_importance%2 0of%20diversity_with%20graphics_FINAL.pdf
We Need Diverse Books FAQ. (2016, January 31). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from http://weneeddiversebooks.org/faq/