Monday, April 08, 2013

Read On … Speculative Fiction for Teens: Reading Lists for Every Taste by Jamie Kallio

One of my pleasures during the last year has been seeing my latest book promoted with Jamie Kallio's Read On … Speculative Fiction for Teens: Reading Lists for Every Taste, first on a poster at the Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia when Jamie's book was a forthcoming title and recently in Libraries Unlimited catalogs that list it for sale. Both are titles in the Read On Series edited by Barry Trott. I am pleased because Jamie was working with us at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library when she started her book, and I like to think that by virtue of our working at a medium-small library and getting published nationally we have made a positive statement to the profession about the work at every size of libraries. She now works for the larger Orland Park Public Library.

Books written for teen readers are hot, especially in the science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal genres, which Jamie addresses in her readers' advisory book. Teens are not the only people reading these books, however. Many adults will recognize some of authors included in her book - Neil Gaiman, Isabel Allende, Terry Pratchett, Orson Scott Card, Ursala K. LeGuin, and J. K. Rowling. The great service of her book is that she goes beyond the familiar to introduce us to other talented authors, their memorable characters, and worlds we can hardly imagine.

Like all Read On Series books, Read On … Speculative Fiction for Teens is divided into five chapters, each of which contains between 11 and 20 lists of books related by reading appeal factors. Chapters focus on story, character, setting, mood, and language. Lists have clever titles which indicate their themes, such as "Look, Ma, I Can Fly! … and Other Experiments," "Falling for You: Immortal Beings," "You're Such a Witch," and "Stranger with My Face: Possession." If you want books with zombies, dragons, robots, vampires, or strong women, you can find them in Jamie's book. You can also find audiobooks, graphic novels, and award winning titles among the entries.

I especially like that Jamie dedicates the book to two of our library's former teen employees, readers with whom Jamie discussed books. How fitting.

Kallio, Jamie. Read On … Speculative Fiction for Teens: Reading Lists for Every Taste. Libraries Unlimited, 2012. 126p.ISBN 9781598846539.

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