By guest author Kathy Swartz, Bookshare Operations Administrator and Librarian
Teen Read Week, October 9-15, is a reading event sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). The goal is to get tweens, teens, and young adults reading and talking about books. Bookshare, an accessible online library for individuals who cannot read traditional print books because of a visual impairment, physical disability or severe learning disability, has many books for this audience, and now we have even more. Thanks to a generous donation by Carole Lake, a long-standing supporter of Bookshare, we have been able to add an additional 88 books to the collection that were not already provided by our publisher partners.
The collection contains award-winning books, books recommended in teen magazines and blogs, series books, bestsellers, and more. With so many to choose from, I thought I’d offer some suggestions. The books marked with an asterisk appear on the list of the YALSA 2016 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees.
For tweens (middle school, grades 6 – 8):
- Con Academy* by Joe Screiber: At an elite prep school, two con artists make a bet on who can con the richest,most privileged student. In this twisty tale of scams, secrets, lies and deception, it’s hard to figure out who’s conning who!
- The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata: There is bad luck, good luck, and making your own luck—which is exactly what Summer must do to save her family.
- The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides by Ben Tripp: The title says it all!
- Mechanica* by Betsy Cornwell: A steam-punk Cinderella.
- Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi: In America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota–and hopefully live to see another day.
- I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora: When Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list they are excited to see To Kill A Mockingbird. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm.
For teens (high school, grades 9 – 12):
- Zeroes (Zeroes #1)* by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti: Don’t call them heroes, but these six California teens have powers that set them apart.
- Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas: Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie has a life-threatening allergy to electricity, and Moritz’s weak heart requires a pacemaker. If they ever did meet, they could both die.
- Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero: Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy’s pregnancy, Sebastian’s coming out, the cute boys, her father’s meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.
- The Game of Love and Death* by Martha Brockenbrough: Flora and Henry were born a few blocks from each other, innocent of the forces that might keep a white boy and an African American girl apart; years later they meet again and their mutual love of music sparks an even more powerful connection.
- Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter: Newly arrived in 1892 New England, Abigail Rook becomes an assistant to R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained.
- Tears of a Tiger (Hazelwood High #1) by Sharon M. Draper: In one horrifying night, Andy’s life changed forever: Andy Jackson was driving the car that crashed after a game, killing Robert Washington, his best friend and the captain of the Hazelwood High Tigers.
For young adults (grade 11 and beyond):
- Everything, Everything* by Nicola Yoon: If you love Eleanor and Park, Hazel and Augustus, and Mia and Adam, you’ll love the story of Maddy, a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly, the boy who moves in next door and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken.
- Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie: Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.
- Sway by Kat Spears: A Cyrano de Bergerac story with a modern twist. High school senior Jesse Alderman, or “Sway,” as he’s known, could sell hell to a bishop. But when Ken Foster, captain of the football team, leading candidate for homecoming king, and all-around jerk, hires Jesse to help him win the heart of the angelic Bridget Smalley, Jesse finds himself feeling all sorts of things.
- Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls* by Lynn Weingarten: Sexy, dark, and atmospheric, this book will keep you guessing until the very last page.
- Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps, so when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. But Finn knows what really happened to Roza. He knows she was kidnapped by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember.
- Vango: Between Sky And Earth by Timothée de Fombelle: A breathless and highly cinematic story that follows Vango traveling by Zeppelin across Europe from Stromboli to Nazi Germany, from Scotland to the Soviet Union, climbing the rooftops of Paris, and crossing the paths of arms traffickers, crooked policemen, Russian spies and even Stalin.
An important note: while these books are theoretically for teens and young adults, they are all excellent books that can be enjoyed by adults of all ages! And this list is just a sample – check out more by these authors and others in the Bookshare teen collection.
We hope you enjoy these accessible ebooks in the Bookshare library all year long – and not just during Teen Read Week.