Thursday, March 21, 2013

Reading Wildly: Science Fiction

Earlier this week, our Reading Wildly staff genre reading program met to discuss science fiction titles. Again, it was a really great meeting and I was really pleased with the breadth of reading my staff are doing. They're encouraging each other and finding additional titles they're interested in at our meetings, too, which is awesome!

We started this meeting by talking a little bit about the readers' advisory training we had a couple weeks ago from Suzanne Walker at the Indiana State Library. We mentioned some of the things we learned at the training and discussed the appeal factors that Suzanne taught us about. Then we shared our booktalks and I asked staff to consider the appeal factors as we went. For our future meetings, I've revised the book review forms to include the four appeal factors (pacing, characterization, storyline, and setting).

Science fiction is another genre that we get asked about quite often. One of our middle schools has been doing Donalyn Miller's 40-book challenge with their students and requiring them to read from a variety of genres. Middle-grade science fiction is often one of the genres that kids have trouble with. Either they like it or they don't, and our quest is to find middle-grade books that will appeal to kids who are not really that interested in sci-fi.

Here are the books my staff read for our discussion this month:

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The Doom Machine by Mark Teague

Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner

Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung

Invasion (Animorphs #1) by K.A. Applegate

Lunch Walks Among Us (Franny K. Stein #1) by Jim Benton

The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Our teen librarian played along again this month and shared The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride #1) by James Patterson and Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate. We had a great discussion about being nonjudgmental in readers' advisory and about our honest opinions of some of the series that are very popular with kids and teens.

Next month, our genre is adventure and that's definitely one I'm looking forward to. What are your favorite adventure books for kids?