I met with the counselor at Alps yesterday, just following up on how the Summer Satchel program went and ideas for next steps. I mentioned wanting my next project to be handing out satchels to the kids living in the homeless shelter, and she said "well, most of them will be attending YWCO camp here this summer."

Next thing ya know, I'm being introduced to the YWCO folks and I've volunteered to provide books to 150 girls, ages 5 through 14.

I've gotten used to ages 5-11. But what in the world do 12, 13, and 14 year olds read? I'm still trying to accept the fact that nobody from the younger crowd wanted Little House on the Prairie or Nancy Drew. It was all Goosebumps and Captain Underpants (and I haven't replenished my supply yet!)

Please send me some recommendations! You can see my inventory on Library Thing; I'm listed as "yenalem".

On a more somber note: from what I understand so far (hopefully it will change!) things are quite crowded at the homeless shelter and there's just no room for them to store any books. I literally cried on the phone when I heard that. If you grew up surrounded by books, you know exactly what I mean. I thought books were a God-given right. I'll keep trying; they're mulling it over.


  1. As an adult who loves Harry Potter, I'd think these would be applicable for any age.
    If they're still in print, the "Shoes" books -- Dancing Shoes, Skating Shoes, etc. -- should be good for the early teens.
    Perhaps the Nancy Drews would be more appealing to this age group, too.
    At that age, I was also wallowing in Louisa May Alcott. Old-fashioned, but better than Harlequin stuff that so many women read.
    Actually, if they'll read Harlequin romances, I'm of the school that anything that gets them reading is O.K.
    Jane Eyre was good. Wuthering Heights was too difficult until I was much older.
    I found Dickens difficult -- still do -- but A Tale of Two Cities was romantic and entertaining.
    Unfortunately, I'm too old to know what kids are reading these days, but classics are always good.

  2. Oh my. I can't imagine not being able to keep books around me! I had stacks of books at my house AND my grandparent's house when I was a kid. I hope something can be worked out for those kids.
    I'll be thinking about the 12-14 age group, don't know as much about their reading tastes but I'll poke around.

  3. I just asked my partner (who worked for years at the local teen shelter) what the kids there would read and here what she says.
    'trashy' romance and fantasy. Think not super literary, high on the entertainment factor. Accessible and easy to get into are the key.

    The Eragon books are good ones.
    Of course the Twilight series.
    Perhaps the Phillip Pullman books in the His Dark Materials series.
    The Pendragon series is also a good one.

    I'll second the Harry Potter books. When K. brought in the 7th book just after it came out it had a list of kids that wanted to read it.

    Patricia Briggs' books in the Mercy Thompson Series would probably go over really well. Werewolves, vampires, an interesting mix of characters, fairly easy reads with totally not boring covers (lol)

    Salt and Silver by Anna Katherine is another good urban fantasy.

    I suspect that Stephen King and Dean Koontz would be fairly popular as the next step from the Goosebumps series. There's something about being a tween/teen that makes horror really appealing (goodness knows it was for me too).


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