On Hold @ the Library: March
My goal is to make perfect scrambled eggs. My other goal is to bring you children’s lit information at its most unfiltered. Which books do kids want to read? Just like those perfect eggs, it’s more complex than it may seem.
Bestseller lists are biased because it’s usually parents doing the purchasing. It isn’t a true reflection of what kids want. It’s like saying I enjoy wearing lead bibs because my dentist takes x-rays of my teeth every other visit – I like having teeth that work, but I didn’t ask for that x-ray (most incoherent analogy ever).
Most book awards don’t reflect what children are reading because it is adults doing the choosing. There are exceptions to this, of course, but most of the high-profile “best of” lists are selected by adults.
So how can we discover the unfiltered truth about the books kids want? Here’s my plan: each month I’ll show you which books are on hold at the schools where I work. Students can place a hold on any book they choose that is currently checked out. Seems to be a pretty legitimate way of determining interest, right?
I work in four school libraries ranging from kindergarten up to 6th grade. While parent, teacher, and (ahem) librarian influence is still a factor on holds placed, it plays less of a role. This month we’re going to start at the 5th and 6th grade school. This group of books has not been tampered with in any way:
Not too shabby!
Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Interest in this title probably has to do with the recent release of the film (read my review of said film here), since this one wasn’t on hold much before the last few months. Good to see.
Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata. The appearance of this book on the shelf is testament to the power of good teachers. Not one that is typically clamored-for, a Language Arts teacher has been promoting this one to her students.
Middle School is Worse than Meat Loaf by Jennifer L. Holm. This is always on hold. It’s an inventive book (the story is told through a collection of items – notes, posters, receipts, etc.). I think the subject matter hits home with this age group, who will soon be making the jump to middle school.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney. The opposite of Edward’s Eyes.
Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka. I’m thrilled to see this one has caught on. We did a giveaway for this book earlier in the year and it’s been getting good circulation since we added a copy into the collection.
Inkspell by Cornelia Funke. This fantasy series continues to show it’s legs, maintaining popularity and frequently showing up on the hold shelf.
Look for more books on hold next month.
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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