Most middle schools and high schools require students to read books regularly so that reading becomes a routine, like brushing teeth or complaining about homework. Igniting that spark can be a struggle, especially given the book choices that most schools offer, typically written in another century, a foreign vernacular. Recently, my children found their spark in the wildly popular Dystopian fiction novels -- Hunger Games, Divergent, Shatter Me, to name a few.
That this spark could endure hit me recently while I was sitting amongst more than 300 "Dark Days Tour" fans, mostly teens, at Manhattan's venerable 92Y. The event's promotion touted:
Prepare to experience romance, suspense and a touch of darkness as Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky), Sophie Jordan (UNINVITED), Tahereh Mafi (the Shatter Me series), Kiersten White (the Paranormalcy series) and Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) discuss their latest projects.
Thank you, Veronica Rossi, Sophie Jordan, Kiersten White, Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs -- your creativity has beguiled young readers to become lifelong readers. I read these books along with my children, although I cannot keep up with their pace.
They read them. They devour them, sometimes a book in a single day. My daughter has an ever growing "add to cart" list on her Nook of 10 books 20 books 30 books, listed below for Dystopian fans.
How many books do most Americans read in a year? According to a recent Pew Research Internet Project report (sample of 1,005), Americans read about five books last year (more than I had expected), and the number of books read increases proportionally with income. Households with an income above $75,000 reported about eight books read last year.
I hope that book signings become more common, because they are social events connecting readers with writers, outside of social media, Kik, Instagram, Facebook. They are relatively rare. Recent book signing events across the US in one month are shown in my map below:
Unless you live in New York, California, Texas, Georgia or Florida, your chances of finding an event are pretty slim (15 states had none.) Regardless, read on young readers, keep feasting upon a diet to fuel your imagination. Please excuse me, I have some books to read.
A sixth grader's list:
• To All the Boys I've Loved Before
• Mind Games
• Perfect Lies
• Under the Never Sky
• Through Out the Ever Night
• Into the Sill Blue
• Unraveling Isobel
• Artemis Fowl
• The Time Paradox
• The Atlantis Complex
• The Last Guardian
• The Arctic Incident
• The Lost Colony
• The Eternity Code
• Percy Jackson the Lightning Thief
• Percy Jackson the Sea of Monsters
• Percy Jackson the Titans Curse
• Percy Jackson the Battle of Labyrinth
• Percy Jackson the Last Olympian
• The Vampire Academy
• The mortal instruments City of Bones
• The mortal instruments City of Ashes
• The mortal instruments City of Glass
• The mortal instruments City of Fallen Angles