Bookmarked Bids Adieu to SLJTeen

It is with mixed emotions that high school book group, Bookmarked, and librarian Elizabeth Kahn say goodbye to their stint as contributors to SLJTeen.
Elizabeth KahnIt is with mixed emotions that my high school book group, Bookmarked, and I say goodbye to our stint as contributors to SLJTeen. The story began in March of 2012 when I received a phone call from Dodie Ownes, the editor. She was wondering if my group was interested in writing book reviews for SLJ. The group was one of sixteen groups in the country receiving books from publishers for YALSA’s Teens Top Ten program. They each would be required to submit three to four reviews twice a month for each issue of the online newsletter. I was honored to be asked, but I couldn’t speak for the group. When I proposed the idea to them, they didn’t need to think twice. They gave me a resounding yes. Before committing to this important job, the group had a conference call with Ownes for her to explain what was expected in each review. We submitted our first reviews for the June 3, 2012 edition, and we have submitted our last entries for this edition. I have archived all of our reviews here. It has been both a long and thrilling 18 months. I will not deny that I was under stress every time a deadline approached, and there were no reviews from the students in my inbox. On the other hand, the students usually pulled it off and sent me enough reviews. There were a couple of issues when Dodie and I had to pinch hit and write reviews, but that occurred during vacation breaks when I didn’t have face to face time with the group members. During those periods, I used email or Remind101 to contact the students to remind them of their deadlines. We also were treated to some wonderfully engaging conversations virtually and even in person with several authors due to the student’s online reviews. Gina Damico stopped in and was treated to a po'boy lunch with Bookmarked on her cross country tour in the fall of 2012. It took many emails to make it happen, but the class of 2014 was entranced with Ruta Sepetys during her visit in February. Bookmarked had a Skype session in November with Todd Mitchell. There were many Twitter conversations with authors about students’ reviews. At ALA in June, I got to meet Stephanie Kuehn who sent me home with a signed copy of her book for the student who sang her praises in a review. These connections are one of the things that make my job so much fun, but for the students, it allowed them a chance to see their work have a real world impact. With the students writing about their honest reactions to each book, it meant that these reviews were not always positive.

I am hoping the students will continue to write reviews for me to post on my blog. You can find us here. You can check out Bookmarked’s webpage to see what else they are up to. The students took their responsibilities seriously, and I thank you for reading and caring about what they had to say.

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