Juvenile services librarian Amy Cheney posits that the winning recipe for books that entice reluctant readers includes a great cover, lots of action (real action!), relevancy, and an easy to read page layout.
Jails, detention centers, and prisons provide a unique opportunity to address young people’s literacy gaps, says one school librarian. Literacy for Incarcerated Teens creates, supports, and develops library services in NYC’s juvenile detention centers.
Amy Cheney, YA Underground columnist, dreams of ghostwriters for gangsters, hopes for more diverse reads for her kids in the margins, and bemoans a recent cover redesign that “could be the death knell for reluctant readers.”
Librarian and author Marybeth Zeman recounts her experiences working with incarcerated teens awaiting trials for offenses from misdemeanors to murder. Interview by Alicia Eames.
To add diversity to your collection, or build one that considers your community’s demographics, consider these titles that you may have missed, including Coe Booth’s middle-grade debut and a memoir by an undocumented immigrant.
After a successful first year, In the Margins Committee founder Amy Cheney highlights some of the recent must-have titles for libraries in urban areas that might not be on the radar of the library community at large.
This past year marked the inauguration of the In the Margins Book Award and Selection Committee (ITM), which aims to find the best books for teens living in poverty, on the streets, in custody—or a cycle of all three. We wanted to bring books by, for, and about people living in the margins to the forefront so we would have more books for our reluctant yet also voraciously readers.
YALSA-Lockdown listserv founder Amy Cheney highlights self-published and mainstream book and movie titles. Many of her finds resonate with her incarcerated kids; sometimes it takes a little digging below the surface to uncover these.
Amy Cheney is constantly on the look-out for books that will engage her incarcerated teens, but estimates that only about one in five that she encounters will pass muster. That’s why she is so excited about a new self-published title, From Crack to College & Vice Versa.
How much do our expectations influence our reading? Sometimes it’s the cover that throws you off, or maybe the author’s back story. And then again, what we think is great may not ring the bell for the teens we serve. Amy Cheney presents several titles that have met her teen readers’ expectations, including classics, self-help narratives, and YA novels for reluctant and urban readers.