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Book Giveaway: ‘My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker’ by Andrew Jenks

On the one hand, we have Reality TV–a phenomenon that even when it’s “good for us” cognitively à la Steven Johnson comes across as a kind of guilty pleasure. On the other, we have the world of the “serious documentary,” one whose teaching-and-learning potential appeals to media specialists and which this blog is constantly covering. But in between the two we have MTV’s highly engaging and very thoughtful The World of Jenks, which kicks off a new season this coming Monday. Like Reality TV, the series covers its subjects over an extended period of time but unlike it does not engage in exploitation or manufactured dramatics. It’s really an example of the documentary form that young people are responding to in the twenty-first century, but one that probably slips under the radar of both the doc community at large and K-12 educators.

Well, now the same Andrew Jenks behind that series (as well as notable projects for HBO and ESPN) has a book out, My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker, that details his early career in a way that’s breezily readable but never superficial or celebratory of TV’s glitz. The fact that its publisher is Scholastic gives you a sense of the target audience: this book may be perfect for inspiring youth interested in media production, and in any case would make a wonderful addition to the nonfiction section of a classroom library. And speaking of Scholastic, thanks are in order for providing a few copies of the book for SLJ readers. Look for a chat with Mr. Jenks himself down the road, but don’t wait until then to enter this giveaway…


1. Double-check that you live in the U.S. or Canada.

2. Leave a thoughtful comment here (through 11:59 pm ET March 5) or on any CTP post about documentaries. You can find a list of them here:

3. If you don’t see your comment, just contact me via email or Twitter (see below).

4. I’ll email the three winners, who’ll then be asked to provide (via me) their mailing addresses to the publisher. If I don’t hear back from you within 48 hours of notification, I’ll simply draw another name.


About Peter Gutierrez


  1. Christina says

    I have a new found interest in documentaries now that I’m teaching a media class (as opposed to previous focus on Social Studies.) Slice of life can be super interesting and informative!

  2. I must say I love the show World of Jenks. Being in my junior year of high school, I keep getting the question of what I want to do in life more and more often. Watching this show definitely helps me to know that I want to do something great with my life. Like inspire people to be their best self and let them know that just because they are only one person, does not mean that they can not make a difference. This show along with my role models, inspires me to do the same things that I want to do in life. I’m honesty not sure what I will be or what I will exactly do, but I know for sure that I want to do great things and shine light to topics that have not been fully understood.

  3. I would really love to have a copy of this book. Students in Middle and High School are discovering and perfecting their talents. I love to encourage those that have a natural talent for storytelling and assist them with using technology to create visual media. Having this book in my school library would allow me to encourage many to read it.

  4. Paulette Garza says

    As a middle school librarian, I rarely purchase non-fiction titles unless they are geared towards my kids particular tastes. This book happens to be one of those books. It is a photo-biography about a filmmaker. It seems to cover who he is, where he came from and what his passion was growing up that led to his current career. This is a positive and encouraging story to share with our kids. I clicked on your link and the book is $11.98. Thanks for sharing and I will definitely be adding this book to our middle school library, which is a union catalog. (Our union catalog puts books into the hands of students in all 20 school libraries in our district.) I will also be passing the information of this gem along to my fellow colleagues.

  5. Joseph Nola says

    I’m a recent Library school grad, and I find some of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries to be really great for use in some Social Studies and other classes as well. They give some significant historical background behind many major sporting events, and could be very appealing to some of the young male students in middle school and high school that are interested in sports.

  6. David H. says

    I find documentaries to be very important to the developing of the mind, body, soul, and spirit of society. Some of my favorite documentaries are: “Sherman’s March”, “The Fog of War”, “Brother’s Keeper”, and ‘March of the Penguins”.

  7. Christine says

    We are so excited to be hosting Andrew Jenks at our school. This event is being sponsored by RJ Julia’s Booksellers, Madison, CT. Thank you for this opportunity!