Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reading Wildly: Adventure

This month, our Reading Wildly book discussion was all about adventure. As we talked about the adventure genre, we discovered a few things. Adventure is one of those "genres" that can blend with many different genres. Books shared this month ranged from historical fiction to contemporary to science fiction to mystery. Lots of kids come to our desk looking for "an adventure story" and it turns out that can mean almost anything!

Adventure encompasses a range of genres and it can encompass a range of pacing, too. Many of the books we shared were fast-paced stories with lots of action, but some were slower and had more character development. Series like the 39 Clues have madcap adventures involving lots of foreign places and exciting situations, while series like The Penderwicks or Little House on the Prairie might feature gentler adventures. So just knowing that a kid wants "an adventure story" doesn't mean you know what they want. A readers' advisory conversation is definitely warranted to find something that they'll like!

This month, we also talked about book talks. My staff have varying levels of familiarity and comfort with book talks - some have done them and some haven't. I'd like to get to the place where we're all sharing book talks with each other at our monthly meetings, so we talked about what they are and I gave everyone some tips when writing up book talks. At the moment, our department is not involved in a lot of book talking, but I'm hoping that will change at some point. If I have my staff developing book talks as they're reading, they'll have a stack ready to start with if we ever do get in to the schools.

Here are the books my staff and I talked about at our meeting this month:

After our meeting, one of my staff members asked me if we're going to do this every month or if we were going to take a break at some point. I think it's a program that they all enjoy and this same staff member had just told me earlier that day how our discussions had helped her with a readers' advisory transaction. This particular staff member has a toddler at home and struggles to find time to read sometimes, so I think next month we'll share some tips with each other about how to squeeze in reading time. 

Next month is funny books, which is another category that lots of kids love. It's a difficult category for me, personally, because you really have to put your kid hat on, so I'm glad we'll have a list of titles after next month's meeting!