Opening the Gate: YA Books to “Hook” Adult Readers

One of my favorite parts of working at my new school has been exposing some of my colleagues to the great YA literature being published today.  Back in October, my AP biology colleague asked for a book recommendation because she loved my vast classroom library.  She listed a few books she enjoyed reading and I started thinking about great, literary historical fiction in YA.  Within a day or so I was handing her Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief. She read it and loved it, passing it on to a few others to read, too!  A new YA fan was born.

I have also shared books with our guidance counselor, including Emma Donoghue’s Room: A Novel. My freshman biology colleague has been borrowing books since the school year started.  So far he has read the Hunger Games series and Bumped. He reads my blog and when a review catches his interest, I can count on a book request the next day. 🙂

Before spring break I received an email from one of our Spanish teachers. She was looking for some books to bring on her spring break road trip. Moments later, I ran into our AP biology teacher and she also asked for some books. I spent a few minutes during my prep gathering books and then acted as the “traveling librarian”, walking around the school and delivering books to that who requested them. The Spanish teacher received Jennifer Donnelly’s A Northern Light and Judy Blundell’s Strings Attached. My AP Biology colleague took home Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution and Judy Blundell’s What I Saw And How I Lied.  I am so looking forward to hearing their thoughts after break!

My students love knowing that their teachers are reading and enjoying some of the same books they love.  Reading is a social activity, and students don’t just want to talk to their peers about the books they read.  They love having conversations about the ending of Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) with myself and their biology teacher.  They love knowing that they can recommend a book they enjoyed to their Spanish teacher or the teacher in charge of their free period.  That’s why my freshman colleagues and I decided to completely integrate our summer reading this summer.  All of the choices on the list touch on our various subject specialties and we also noted our own favorites.  I want to build this reading community from the beginning, with common texts and student choice.  I also want to continue exposing my colleagues to the fantastic YA literature that is being published today.

What YA books do you find yourself recommending to adults?