Awtrey Middle School strives to include a generous selection of high quality books in the Collaborative Learning Center (CLC). Young Adult (YA) books are developmentally appropriate for most of our students. Students have been requesting several YA titles and I strive to listen to the requests of our students when purchasing books. Therefore, we now have a Young Adult (YA) book section that meets the higher-level reading interest of our students.
Young adult books are written for teens, and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) rates YA books appropriate for ages 12-18. For more information, please visit their website for more information. Students under age 12 will need to have parent permission to check-out YA books.
Characteristics of a YA Book
- It is developmentally appropriate for the average teen reader (12-18).
- It is written from a teen’s point of view to tell their story
- It deals with coming of age issues where the character encounters a change in their life or mindset to transition from a child to an adult.
- Sometimes (not all the time) there might be adult language, violence, sexual content or an injustice that occurs in the book.
Books that are Considered YA and Why
- Hey Kiddo! – A graphic novel by Jarett Krosoczka is an autobiography about his life growing up with a mother addicted to drugs and the grandparents that raised him.
- The Poet X – A book written in verse by Elizabeth Acevedo tells about X a girl whose body is changing and all the assumptions her parents and boys make about a girl with her figure.
- Dear Martin – A book written by Nic Stone and based in Atlanta where a student writes letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to talk to him through these letters about facing social injustice.
- Fault in Our Stars – A book written by John Green that tells about the romance between two teens with cancer.
Why is Awtrey Purchasing these Books?
Over the past few years I have stated that if the book is not appropriate for our 6th graders, then I won’t purchase it. Students have requested books (like the examples above) and I have refused. However, I have seen the decline in check-out for our more mature 8th grade readers (who are the ones requesting YA books) and I have had a mindshift. I am limiting the quality and developmentally appropriate books for our 8th graders, and that needs to change. Please understand that adult (AD) level books will not be purchased. Also please understand that there is no pressure for you to sign. My hope is that this allows parents and students to open dialogue about the books they are reading. I also welcome dialogue with parents about books.
Permission or Not the Choice is Yours
The CLC Committee met on September 18, 2019, and a decision was made for parents to have the option to opt their students out from checking out YA books. The decision is yours as the parent to make. The YA section of books will be available for students to check out as of October 21, 2019. This allows parents to stop by during Conference Week and have a discussion and see the books that will be on the shelves for students to check out at this time.
If you do not want your students to check out books from the YA section, please fill out this online form (embedded below). I will be notified when a form is submitted and your student’s account will be marked with a popup note that they do not have permission to check out YA books.
As Librarian Media Specialist, my goal is to provide Awtrey’s students with developmentally appropriate, high quality reading materials and build a love of reading that will last a lifetime for your student.
Librarian Media Specialist