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*500 Great Books for Teens* by Anita Silvey - tweens/young adult book review


500 Great Books for Teens
by Anita Silvey
Grades 7-12 416 pages Houghton Mifflin October 2006 Hardcover    

Concise, current and handy! I had this book in my hands for mere minutes before I put it to use. “Help! I need fantasy titles for my daughter to read. I have no ideas left!” Being a librarian, I love this type of question. The titles I suggested, her daughter had read. However, in the Fantasy section of 500 Great Books for Teens, we found a book she hadn’t read and I placed it on hold through the library catalogue.

As I took the book home, I saw many of my much-loved books. I recognized books I enjoyed in my teen years, and I recognized favourite recent reads as well. Teens will identify some of the titles as movies, and parents might be familiar with titles they themselves have read. The author has included some titles that were written for adults but will appeal to teens.

Title, author, publication date, and page number are just some of the information included with each book summary. The books are divided into 21 categories. Categories such as humor, romance, and realistic fiction are included. Plays, poetry and poetic novels, and graphic novels are covered too. The basic outline of the plot is given, as well as some interesting extras. The author gives examples of where some titles can be used. For example, Rocket Boys/October Sky can be used in an English, math or science class. In addition, she points out any controversy surrounding the book. And some books have author quotes, and a little history about the book or the author’s background. She notes if illustrations are inside, if the book won an award, and if sequels or newer editions exist.

Bonuses in the back of the book include additional book titles under each category; the classics category receiving over 40 extra titles. There is a book by geographic location section. Titles are listed under state or country names. Books by historical timeline range from 1500 BC to present time. Recommended audio books are included in the age categories 12-14, 12-18 and 14-18.

Make full use of this book and keep it in an easily accessible place. Teachers and librarians can use the titles inside for displays, booklists, programs, and for collection development. Parents can use this book for gift ideas. Anita Silvery is well known in the field of youth literature. For younger children, the author has written 100 Best Books for Children. In writing 500 Great Books for Teens, she evaluated quality of writing, voice, style, even format and design. She received input from teens and people who work with teens in compiling her lists. In a future edition, I would love to see a high interest/low vocabulary category for the teens who need easier reading material but in there interest fields.

Here are 500 more reasons for teens to read. This book will be usable for a long time!

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  Tanya Boudreau/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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