What Will Happen In Teen Reading Groups?
When BBYA was open to all books, library teen reading groups would get the nominatiions list as it evolved, and those books would make up the basis of their discussions. Fiction and GN lists may still be available, but since the NF is an award, its discussion list cannot and should not be made public before the finalists are announced. And the putative all inclusive nominations list can’t be available until the end of the eligibility period, and certainly won’t be vetted and annotated in that time. So does that mean we are telling library teen groups not to discuss new NF?
Do you see what a disaster this is? We are telling boys — and lets face it, most teen reading groups are already dominantly female — that their interests do not qualify for open discussion. And does that mean libraries will not ask publishers for galleys of new NF for their teen groups — since the groups no longer discuss NF?
This has not been thought through — this is the world as it looks to fiction lovers, where NF is so marginal you don’t have to think about how it reaches teenagers, how to engage them, how to solicit their comments. Just yesterday, one of the teenagers at BBYA picked the Claudette Colvin as her(?) favorite book of the year — we would now be shutting that kid up, and excluding the book she cared for from open discussion.
At the session I was thrilled to meet two teenagers who have read manuscripts of mine while I was writing them. I love getting comments from teenagers — and I have the good fortune of generally being able to find teen readers for works in progress. But what of other authors, editors, publishers — indeed all of you librarians: don’t you need to hear how teenagers respond to nonfiction, what they like, dislike, are moved by, upset by, inspired by, curious about? What venue do we have for that discussion if our library teen reading groups and advisory groups are limited to fiction?