Posts Tagged ‘jackson radish’

I have sometimes mentioned my work as an editor on my blog, specifically my work with young adult fiction, so I thought those of you who follow my blog might be interested in checking out my website, which I have finally gotten up and running after months of dragging my feet: Jackson Radish Editing Services

If you or anyone you  know is looking for an editor for your manuscript, paper, or article, please feel free to send them my way!

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A little over a year ago, I read this book that was so awful, it turned me off of reading for a couple months. The book was called Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher and I had been looking forward to reading it for several months.

I have an ongoing project involving young adult literature featuring transgender characters (or lack thereof), keeping track of what is out there, creating resources for librarians and encouraging the creation of new & better resources, particularly fiction. I’d been really excited about this book because so few of the books I’d read featured trans girl characters (most had trans boys instead) and also because the book has won the Stonewall Book Award, awarded by the ALA GLBT Roundtable for teen fiction, so it must be good.

The book was actively horrible and I was pretty sure it would do a good job of terrifying any young trans girl into thinking that no one would ever love her and that she sort of deserved to experience violence. It felt like the whole point of the book was to make readers sympathize with homophobic & transphobic dudes who can’t help being violent towards trans women–not explicitly condoning the violence but explaining it as an unavoidable learning moment.

Reading the book made me feel horribly depressed and uninspired to read anything at all for several months (normally I read a few books a month or sometimes as much as a book a week).

Flash forward to a month or so ago when I read With or Without You by Brian Farrey.  It won the same book award as Almost Perfect and I had similarly been looking forward to reading it for months. It dealt with HIV/AIDS, gay teens in a small town & the loneliness & isolation that sometimes brings teens that age to a point of engaging in risky behavior in an attempt to simply belong. It sounded great and like the kind of book that needs to exist much more in the world.

Again, though, the book was actively horrible. It painted poz (HIV-positive) characters out to be anywhere from a jovially irresponsible older man to a young almost-cult-leader type kid who (spoiler alert) literally stabs someone. It paints the kid who is lonely & looking for somewhere to belong as a hopeless case. And, in the one moment where the book had an obvious window of opportunity to at least provide some useful information by informing readers about PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis, kind of like a morning after pill for HIV exposure that they most certainly don’t tell you about in sex ed and about which most adults don’t even know), the author totally drops the ball & sweeps it under the rug, arguably giving inaccurate information about how to deal with an actual HIV exposure. The book was bad. Awful.

Once again, a book which had received this award that is supposed to give librarians access to a few books that are safe to recommend to LGBTQ teens without really closely reviewing them or being knowledgeable about LGBTQ issues has succeeded in being actively bad in a way that I actually fear will hurt teenagers. At this point, I’m not just mad at the authors and their publishers, I’m fuming at the ALA’s GLBT Roundtable, which is probably made up of a bunch of well-meaning librarians who are actually not very knowledgable of LGBTQ issues but who, by virtue of being on this committee, position themselves as experts in the field and put their seal of approval on books that actually hurt the LGBTQ youth who really need them.  I decided to set my sights on becoming a member of the book selection committee within the next few years and also wrote a letter to the chair of the committee expressing my concern.

But as a reader, I was left feeling really disillusioned. Much like happened a year ago after reading Almost Perfect, I have been going through a bit of a period of reluctance to being a reader at all since finishing With or Without You. I just feel frustrated with the publishing industry that it’s set up in a way that the kinds of books that need to be out there (like the books I was hoping for when I cracked the spine of Almost Perfect and With or Without You) don’t get published (because we all know they are being written–the people whose life experiences would lead them to write these kinds of books are vibrant and creative people who are writing amazing books that the world will never see! This is why independent publishers such as Topside Press are so important!) and I figure that if the media I consume is being censored even when it comes in the form of literature, I might as well sit around watching bad reality television instead.  At least “Dance Moms” has never tried to trick me into thinking it provides important or useful information.

I’m sure it will pass soon, I will find a book that’s completely outside of the realm of things I normally read and reaffirm my love as a reader, but for now, I am feeling let down by not only the publishing industry, but by members of my own profession who actually have the power to give a voice to lesser known books that do something great for LGBTQ youth and instead choose to honor books that are sure to make life a little harder for those LGBTQ teens who could really have used the friend they seek to find between the pages of a book the most.

As a youth services & primarily teen services librarian who happens to be a man the issues of what a professor dubbed “the boy problem” has sort of fallen into my lap as a strong professional interest. I am not a particularly masculine man and more often than not, if I’m wandering the streets of a small town, it’s teen boys who find it incredibly clever and funny to harass and make fun of me for the way I look (teen boys are, of course, great at making fun of pretty much everyone, so it’s no skin off my back). When I got into youth services, I thought this might be something that impeded my ability to connect with boys in the library, but it has actually been quite the opposite. In any library where I’ve worked, I’ve been one of so few male librarians that, while in my personal life I have a hard time being read as anything but gay, people are so unaccustomed to seeing men working in libraries at all they have no one with whom to compare me, so somehow my perceived sexuality and lack of overt masculinity has never come into play in my work in libraries. In fact, libraries are one of the few places in the world where I feel people’s perception of me as a man far outweighs their perception of me as gay.

This has created exciting and unexpected opportunities to embody the literate male role model that experts in parenting, education, child development and emergent literacy amongst boys complain so rarely exists amongst teachers, librarians and other adults who work with children. When I took an interest in running the “Guys Read” book club at one of my libraries, I was welcomed with open arms to take over for another librarian who reluctantly ran the book due to lack of other male librarians willing to run it. By simple virtue of being a young-ish (and even younger looking as I am blessed and cursed to look about ten years younger than I actually am) man with gauged earrings (a regretful & relatively irreversible decision I made as a teen that has surprisingly been the number one thing teens compliment me on and often the thing which allows me to quickly gain their trust) who picks up on enough youth cultural references to seem like the cool older brother they’ve always wished they had, I somehow possess this ability to influence teen and tween boys in this way that so many educators and youth service librarians can only dream of.

me+skippy

Me with one of my teens in the library–used with permission

Given this unique position and my passion for encouraging active literacy amongst youth, how could I resist developing a profound interest in discussions of “the boy problem?” Although, as an advocate for literacy amongst boys, I would argue that the boys themselves are not the problem and perhaps the real problem is, among other things, both the men who fail to model the role of literacy in their own lives to those boys and the North American culture & education system’s limited conceptions of literacy.

So, as a man who has access to youth in one of the most literature focused environments, I am so thrilled to get the opportunity to un-do some of these cultural ideas surrounding reading and boys. As someone who reads fiction for pleasure, I have gotten the opportunity to share this love with boys through book clubs and through personalized fiction recommendations, often hidden within jovial conversations where boys are so absorbed in the topic of conversation that they don’t even realize that I’ve just convinced them to read a book. But one of the problems often raised when discussing “the boy problem” is that reading fiction for pleasure simply does not fit into the types of reading a lot of boys are drawn to doing.

In a lecture given by one of my professors, the line “Reading don’t fix no Chevys” really stood out to me. It struck me because one of the random resources I remember helping patrons with on the reference desk so often was the Chilton’s guides which, for those unfamiliar, are model-specific guides for different makes of cars that literally do inform users on the inner workings of Chevys (and Fords and other cars). While the act of reading them does not necessarily fix the car itself, these resources are pretty necessary maps that give someone with a certain automotive knowledge the tools to translate their knowledge to specific makes and models of cars.

One of the papers that I wrote when I took my Reference class based upon a reference observation was actually based on a reference interview concerning a Chilton’s manual. The library did not happen to currently have a print-version of the manual in question, so the interview turned into an extensive discussion of all the databases to which the library subscribed–including Chilton’s and Alldata, another similar resource, but also so many of our other databases. I got to observe a patron who probably never knew the library offered access to subscription databases walk away really excited about an entirely new set of resources he did not know had been at his fingertips the whole time and that he was excited to use.

I think about boys not having male role models in terms of literacy and wish this gentleman had had his grade school aged son or nephew with him to witness this instance of a relatively gruff, working class man becoming so excited about the ways in which literacy and his library’s resources could help him do one of the most stereotypically manly activities of fixing a car.

These instances in which literacy occurs during our daily lives are not exclusive to men or women or to such stereotypically masculine activities as auto repair, but also occur when we look up recipes in cookbooks or online, when we look up movie reviews & times, when we try to learn a new skill, such as crocheting, and so many other times in the instances of people of all genders and ranges of interest. In fact, in the age of the Internet, we consume instructional information in our daily lives more than ever before.

In imagining the man discussed above (or any other man or woman, for that matter) letting his child help him fix his car, having the child hand him wrenches and other small tasks (though I have done basic car maintenance out of the type of necessity created by poverty, fixing cars is not a skill or interest I possess, so I really can’t elaborate on the details of what minor tasks an adult role model would allow their child to help with while fixing a car, so please use your own imagination), I imagine that there is some piece of literature–the car’s manual, a Chilton guide (either electronic or print) or some other resource present & being used as reference. And I wonder whether the dad or mom or aunt or uncle, who may be the type of adult role model who reads novels to their kids or not, is referencing this Chilton’s manual themselves before asking for that wrench or if the adult is asking the child to come read over their shoulder and tell them what comes next.

Even as an adult man who reads a tremendous amount of fiction for pleasure, I would guess that most of the reading I do over the course of a day or a week, even in my leisure time, is for information. Reading is so incorporated into all of our daily lives and that is why literacy is such an important part of development. But when we talk with youth–particularly those who struggle to enjoy reading fiction–about literacy and reading, do we talk about all those other times in our daily lives when reading comes up? I know that I rarely do and I think this is primarily because reading is so integrated into my life that I scarcely recognize myself doing it when it serves some purpose beyond the purely indulgent act of reading a novel. I think it’s important, especially as a role model to young people, to expand my conception of the act of reading. I think, though, that by being more aware of the ways that literacy impacts our daily lives, we can be more intentional of the kinds of examples we set as literate adults. Introducing the children in our lives to the joys of fiction (and non-fiction) pleasure reading is important and we should continue to do so, but perhaps if we also read to them from our cook books and automotive manuals and some-assembly-required instruction manuals, we will succeed in making readers of those children, particularly boys, who look up to us more for the tasks we accomplish than the stories we tell them.

MLABooklist-LiteratureOUTLoudToday I gave a workshop at the 2012 Michigan Library Association Annual Conference called “Literature OUT Loud: A Guide to Young Adult Literature for Trans Teens.”  The workshop went spectacularly and I plan on writing about it in greater depth soon, but I had some requests that I share the book list I gave out and discussed during the workshop so I thought I would make a quick post sharing it.  It says this on the book list, but I’d like to just reiterate that this list is not meant to be a list of the best young adult literature for trans youth, it is a list on the existing young adult literature for trans youth and there are some titles on there that I cannot or would not endorse.  This is derived from a list I created on GoodReads which I have added to over time and which has also grown via crowd-sourcing over the year+ since I created it.  Some titles are omitted from this list but I tried to omit titles on the basis of them either being a) not teen/ya books or b) not featuring trans characters, rather than based on quality, but the list on GoodReads is ever expanding so I would recommend checking that out too.

I encourage readers to please feel free to use this list however you would like (I would prefer that you use it for good), but I ask that you please try to credit me if you use it when possible/appropriate.

Book List: Literature OUT Loud: A Guide to Young Adult Literature for Trans Teens

*Edit: the link has been updated to include the correct author for Being Emily by Rachel Gold (see comments below)

It’s been ages since I’ve updated my blog and this is not because I have been lacking in interesting things to write about, but rather because I have had too many interesting things to write about that I have been busy doing instead of writing about.

A short, completely incomplete update would tell you that I have moved to Toronto and subsequently left both of my previous library internships and begun a new one that is tied to my last term of grad school.

In my current internship, I’m working on a project involving the topic of introducing new technologies into the Teen Zone.  I am doing projects involving the forthcoming integration of Smart Boards, iPads and a video gaming room (called the Game Cube) into the library.  The bulk of the work associated with this project involves a lot of research surrounding the educational/developmental value of video gaming.

Now, I am not of the mindset that materials need to have educational value to have value, nor that public libraries should have to justify the value of materials we select.  It is our job to select a well-rounded collection of resources that will benefit the needs of the community.  It is the community’s job to find the value that each resource brings to their own lives.  We would never feel the need to justify the educational value of a book we have selected, that value is probably there but it would seem almost condescending to the community to prescribe value to the resources we are making available to them with their money.

The fact is, video games in the library have become popular, particularly amongst teens.  As someone who has run lots of teen programs centered around video gaming, the value in gaming at the library is so obvious to me.  It’s obvious when teens who may have been sitting at home playing video games alone are suddenly spending time socializing with other teens while video games happen to be the center of that social activity.  It is obvious to me when showing up for a gaming program opens the door for community involvement and spending a large percentage of their leisure time at the library with they types of teens who hang out at the library.  And it’s obvious to me when gaming programs cause teens to naturally step into leadership roles through helping newcomers feel included, teaching people how to play games, setting up the gaming equipment because they are infinitely more adept at quickly knowing what gets plugged in where than the adults in the room and taking the initiative to plan and execute gaming events they’d like to see happen.  The educational and developmental value the same value that comes through being really involved in and committed to something and if the thing that teens are interested in being involved in is gaming, then we are creating educational opportunities by planning the type of programs in which teens actually want to be involved.  So the educational and developmental value in the actual games themselves was never something I had spent much time pondering.

So that said, I definitely get why the library is putting effort into justifying the educational value of the games we are selecting.  Although gaming-related library programs have been a big thing for some years, the Gaming Cube we are installing is not a library program, but rather a space for gaming that patrons can use at their own convenience, which is a relatively new thing (I know of one other library that offers something like this) and I think when you propose something like this for the first time, you can expect to have to cover a few more bases as you implement it so you can blaze a trail for those that follow your lead.  Library patrons love to complain about teens (I think this is a universal truth, not just in libraries, it’s my personal opinion that they seriously envy teens’ youth and the possibilities ahead of them and are just bitter,) so having a bunch of teens playing video games in a room visible from the study room intended for teens but often taken over by seniors is a perfect opportunity for adults to complain about the fact that we have games in the first place (“in my day…”)  So having a written justification for the educational value of the games and gaming in general is something of a convenient way to help librarians spend our time helping people find books and other exciting resources instead of justifying our programs to grumpy patrons.  Kind of like that one time a patron showed up to the library with no pants on and didn’t understand why we wanted her to leave–we could have spent a bunch of time arguing with her about why it was not okay to hang out in the children’s section of the library with no pants on, or we could hand her a copy of the code of conduct making her aware of the library’s policy (then it’s out of the poor librarian on desk’s hands, if she really doesn’t agree with the policy, she can take it up with the library’s board of directors.)  So although I for sure do not believe we should have to justify our use of video gaming, I think that doing so, especially for something so new, is a smart way to stand behind something we actually believe in.

I was not allowed video games as a kid and thus just don’t have the same aptitude for them as other people of my generation.  My parents didn’t allow (or rather did not invest money in) video games at home because they said they would rot my brain.  And on a personal level, I do agree with them to some degree and will probably not allow console gaming in my home if I ever do raise children–let them go to the library and be force to be around other people and daylight if they want to play video games!  On a professional level, though, I of course see the value in video gaming and when it is in a library or other social contexts I think it can actually be a great thing.  So it is interesting to approach this research from the point of view of a non-gamer (I’m sure there’s some degree of creepy “here we see the typical gamer in her natural habitat” vibes to my research, oops.)

I’m actually finding that I’m really having a great time nerding out about this research.  I’m coming to care about gaming as a valuable library program even more than I already did and coming up with new ideas for the possibilities of really fun gaming-related library programing that has secret hidden educational value for teens.  It’s very sinister.  I’m also getting excited about possibly even playing some of these games (playing them very poorly, that is–side effect of having a game un-rotted by video games as a child is that I am horribly inept at playing video games as an adult)!

One thing I’m particularly excited about is the OUYA, a new gaming system that is fairly cheap (under $100) and runs Android, so it’s completely open source.  As you may recall from earlier posts (particularly those from the summer of 2011 if you don’t recall and are digging around in my archives), I am a huge fan of open source software and the free software movement and I get really excited about ways that open source software can be used in library programs.  Beyond the fact that OUYA (or more likely whichever gaming system that is spawned from the concept of OUYA wins out) is a really exciting addition to 8th Generation console gaming and could create some really neat changes in the gaming world, I think there are some specific possibilities for its use in the library about which I’m really excited.  The biggest being that, because it is open source, it makes it possible and relatively easy for people to make games they design available to a wide audience of gamers, meaning that it will be possible to talk about supporting a local economy when it comes to gaming.  I love the idea of bringing in local game designers to give talks the way that authors might come in to give talks but I also love the idea of having workshops where teens learn to design their own games, possibly even having game design competitions.  This adds several extra dimensions to the educational value of gaming in the library and I’m so excited about it (and about so many other cool things I’ve found while researching console gaming)

So this post is getting long and I should probably end it for the sake of my readers, but I wanted to share this brief article called 10 Truths About Books and What They Have To Do With Video Games by James Paul Gee.  I liked this article for librarians (especially those who are non-gamers like me,  trying to get up to speed on teen gaming in the library) in particular because Gee frames his discussion about the value of video gaming through talking about some of the things gaming and books have in common.  He turns the discussion around and gives some points discussing the value of books as well and as a pseudo-English major, forcing myself to question the inherent value of literature was a helpful tool in the context of reframing my understanding of the value of video games.  Check it out!

So this summer for our summer reading wrap-up party, we’re doing a giant after-hours lazer tag party in the library that is Hunger Games themed. Pretty awesome, right? Only teens who have completed the summer reading program are invited to come–it was loads of fun last year (and it wasn’t even Hunger Games themed then, just laser tag after hours in the library) so the fact that they don’t get to come if they don’t do summer reading is a huge incentive for a lot of teens to read.

We’ve rented a giant inflatable laser tag arena to set up in the auditorium (I know, doesn’t just renting the laser tag guns and having it be a free-for-all in the entire libraries with everyone hiding between the stacks sound like the most fun? But considering that this is at the library I’m pretty sure that our insurance company would not be too happy with that, plus the basic fact that letting a billion Mountain Dew-feuled teenagers run around the library after hours with laser tag guns through the entire giant library is a horrible idea. However, the part of me that is not a responsible adult disagrees.) Since only ten or so teens can play laser tag at once, we have a bunch of other things going on too. Some of those things are Hunger Games-ified versions of stuff we did last year but we’re also trying to come up with some new ideas.

We’ve just decided we are going to do this thing that involves having the teens make bows out of popsicle sticks and rubber bands and using q-tips as arrows to shoot some sort of target. They will win candy for hitting the targets (because Katniss hunts with a bow and arrows to feed her family, right?)

We’re also going to have a cupcake decorating station which will be Peeta’s family bakery. Peeta does all the cake decorating for the bakery so there’s the Hunger Games tie-in. Last year we did cupcake decorating and prior to that I spent the entire day baking a billion cupcakes using this just-add-water cupcake mix. It was fun and all but I think we’re going to purchase pre-made plain cupcakes this time.

We’ve been talking about other ideas though. I found this list of games, most of which are probably not that cool and geared towards younger kids, but there’s one that I think sounds really fun. It’s called “Tracker Jacker Sting” and is basically like tag, only 3 people are tracker jackers and 3 people have the anecdote to tracker jacker venom. From what I can tell, when you get tagged by one of the tracker jackers, you have to spin in circles. Then the people with the antecdote come find you and hand you some leaves (the antecdote) and you are then immune from being stung. I’m not quite sure what the goal is once you’re immune but the spinning around part sounds kind of fun. Another one I found on the same list of games involves accomplishing some sort of obstacle while pretending to have a broken leg (like Peeta does at some point) which sounds kind of interesting.

We’ve also got a polaroid camera and a ton of film and are getting a bunch of costumes and face paints and other stuff so that people can dress up like they’re from the Capitol and take pictures. A lot of teens are coming dressed up as characters from the Hunger Games so this will be a good opportunity to get fun pictures of their costumes. The teens have decided that I have the option of dressing up as Seneca Crane or Cesar Flickerman. I have told them that I wish I was talented enough at growing facial hair to have Seneca Crane’s beard but that I’m just not. They offered to draw it on my face with a Sharpie and I told them they are not drawing on my face with a Sharpie. They are now obsessed with the Cesar Flickerman idea. I guess this is all they know how to do to process the fact that they think I’m probably gay (I’ve never told them one way or another because I tend not to want to make my interactions with them about me, although I am outspoken enough about LGBTQ stuff and I also just can’t really turn off the fact that I’m really effeminate so I think they just know. I have told teens who have said they were LGBTQ themselves so maybe everyone knows but doesn’t say anything about it.)

We’ve talked about doing some sort of edible plant identification but all we’ve really come up with for that is putting out a glorified vegetable tray so that idea needs some work. I also think it would be neat to put out a bowl of blueberries or something and label them “Nightlock” but I’m not sure whether that would be giving the teens the message that it’s a good idea to eat poison (?).

Does anyone have any other cool ideas for a Hunger Games themed after hours teen party at the library?

Yesterday we had a giant program at one of my libraries to celebrate the upcoming release of the Hunger Games movie.  It was at the library where I run my Guys Read book club but had not otherwise gotten much chance to bond with the teens.  I definitely got my first chance to bond with these teens en masse and they are so awesome!

The program was really successful and also tons of fun, so I want to write a little about how we ran it.  I definitely cannot take credit for the ideas except that it was my idea that we should have goat cheese as one of the foods because Katniss’s sister, Prim, has a goat in the books and makes and sells goat cheese.  I also wanted to find a simple recipe in the Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook and make it with the teens, but we didn’t end up doing that which was fine.  But here’s what we did do:

  • We had one of our librarians who is really into doing makeup doing cool/crazy makeup on the teens to look like the tributes and/or the extravagant people in the Capitol.
  • We had a craft table where we had supplies for people to make mockingjay magnets, buttons and necklaces.
  • We did a group-wide trivia thing–we had a powerpoint presentation with questions from the books and the teens all sat down with paper and answered the questions, keeping score as they went–they actually all sat down and paid attention and were really into it when we did this.  I think this was the initial part where I started to bond with the teens I didn’t know because I was asking the questions and it was really clear by the way I was asking them that I was as into the books as them, which they liked.
  • Finally, we did this really cool game involving a “Cornucopia Challenge”.

You can find the full instructions we used for the Cornucopia here.  When I first read the instructions and the teen librarian planning this tried to explain it to me, it seemed really complicated and weird and I didn’t really understand how it was going to work out, but it was actually quite simple and really fun!  We put a bunch of stuff in the center of the room (the stuff listed in red–we had a sling shot, a tarp, twine, “anti-venom”, a bow & arrow, matches, a knife, beef jerky, a book on edible plants, water bottles, etc.  All the weapons were fake, of course, and the matchbox was empty, which the teens were disappointed about.  They were really into the jerky.) and that was the Cornucopia.  All the teens were swarming around it trying to figure out what it was before it started, so I told them they couldn’t go near it because there was a forcefield around it.  They promptly reminded me that it was landmines protecting the Cornucopia, so I told them we had both.

We divided the teens participating into two teams and placed them equidistant from the Cornucopia on opposite ends of the room.  We then did this sort of relay race thing where one person ran into the center and grabbed something, then tagged the next person who ran and got something.  I am definitely in favour of games that make teens run and get out a little energy and this definitely did that, but I will say I kind of wish we had come up with a better way to make the game accessible since as it stood, we ended up letting the teen who was in a wheelchair designate one of his team members to run into the center for him and he advised the kid he chose about what his top choices of items were, so it ended up working out alright anyway.  We encouraged the teens to choose items based on how useful they might be in the actual Hunger Games.  One thing we should have discussed a little more was when it ends–does it end when each person has one thing, or do they get to keep going back and getting more things until the cornucopia is empty?  We did not discuss this before and different teams had different interpretations, so we had to have them all put whatever the second item they got back to be fair.  This was actually kind of fun because it meant there were items in the center that no one had taken and everyone was kind of wishing they did as we learned their usefulness.

So then we had them all sit on either side of the Cornucopia with their team.  This was when we read the story in the instructions above that details what happens in the arena each day.  As the story progresses, they can get points for having items listed that will help them with what is going on in the arena.  I read the story while the other librarian kept tally for the teams on an easel.  This was really fun and the teens loved it.

As the story went, they had some really creative ideas of how they could use the supplies they did have in place of ones they didn’t, which I thought was really awesome.  Unfortunately, the game did not have anything built in to reward this, so I kept saying, kind of jokingly, to the teens “Sorry, creativity will not be rewarded in this game,” but then when I heard them start repeating that, I ensured them that creativity would be rewarded in every situation outside of the game so they shouldn’t let me squash their creativity.  If I was doing this again, I think I would have come up with a system where the teens could make a case for how they would use something they did have to fulfill the function of something they didn’t (like if they didn’t have a knife and needed to cut meat but came up with a plausible system to use the wire to cut it or something).

I also might write my own story about what happens in the arena each day–not because this one was not good, but just because I think I’d only want to use that story once.  It worked out really unbalanced for us–one team got a billion points and the other hardly got any and they both had useful stuff.  But that was okay, everyone was having fun and were all good sports about it.

Anyway, it was a very successful program and I think I had as much fun as the teens.  We all talked about the Hunger Games a ton which was a blast.  I also recruited a ton of new teens for my Guys Read book club.  Only problem is that somehow we ran out of books for the book club a couple days ago (we normally give them each a paperback to keep) so I had to run grab whatever copies we still had checked in–I think I could have gotten a few more teens if I’d had more books, but that’s okay.

It was a very successful program, though, and a lot of fun.  We had been so worried that no one would come because as of earlier this week, there were only 2 people signed up, but we ended up with more than 20 teens and every one of them was having a great time!

To any other teen or youth librarians who have done Hunger Games programs (if you’re reading this)–what activities have you done?  How did they go?  If you haven’t done Hunger Games programs, do you have any ideas for cool ones?