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Libraries alive with middle-school readers, who reveal book trends

By BY KAYLA BELL AND ISABEL MCCAN - KBELL@VICAD.COM
Jan. 14, 2012 at midnight
Updated Jan. 14, 2012 at 7:15 p.m.

Randall Gregory, eighth-grader at Howell. Book: "The Roar" by Emma Clayton. "I like it because she's very good when she describes things. It's full of action, drama and suspense and full of things you wish you could do, but you can't."

TOP BOOKS

  1. Graphic novels "Naruto" by Masashi Kishimoto and the "Bone" series by Jeff Smith

  2. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

  3. Rick Riordan series, including: "Percey Jackson and the Olympians," "The Kane Chronicles" and "The Heroes of Olympus"

  4. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series by Jeff Kinney

  5. "Warriors" series by Erin Hunter - a pseudonym for writers Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, Victoria Holmes and Tui Sutherland

TOP TRENDS

Fantasy, particularly zombie and vampire characters, and kids with super-human powersGraphic novelsAction mixed with romance (not the "mushy" kind)SeriesBooks turned into movies

WHAT THE BOOK WORMS HAD TO SAY

A few students picked their favorite books - a difficult task for the avid readers - and explained why they like them.

"The adventure and the romance part of the story is so interesting. You want to skip the pages and be like, what happens?"

Ashton Maughan, sixth-grader at Patti Welder

Book: "Shifting" by Bethany Wiggins

"I prefer no romance in books because it's annoying. Definitely suspense and mystery."

Keeley Salinas, eighth-grader at Cade

Book: "The Agency: A Spy in the House" by Y.S. Lee

"I guess my favorite ones are the ones I haven't read yet."

Anna Sciba, sixth-grader at Cade

Book: "Hunger Games" series by Suzanne Collins

I like "all of the books because you learn different things from each one."

Matthew Parsons, seventh-grader, who along with his brother Marshall are regulars at the Cade library

Book: "Warriors" series by Erin Hunter

"I like reading because I want to go on my own adventures, but I can do it any time with a book."

Erin Hearne, seventh-grader at Stroman

Book: "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" by Rick Riordan

"Reading is a tradition in my family. We all do it ... You learn something you wouldn't normally learn."

Tyler Johnson, sixth-grader at Stroman

Book: "Ranger's Apprentice" series by John Flanagan

"It keeps me reading and keeps me interested."

Samantha Townsend, eighth-grader at Howell

Book: "Mocking Jay" by Suzanne Collins

"There's so much manipulation. It blows your mind how amazingly he portrays it throughout the book."

Faith Fortner, eighth-grader at Howell

Book: "The Red Pyramid" by Rick Riordan

"The writer does a really good job of writing the story to where you don't want to put it down, and you can't wait for the second and third."

Carmen Leos, eighth-grader at Howell

Book: "The Lost Hero" by Rick Riordan

"I like it because she's very good when she describes things. It's full of action, drama and suspense and full of things you wish you could do, but you can't."

Randall Gregory, eighth-grader at Howell

Book: "The Roar" by Emma Clayton

There's an ancient oasis - a place where ideas flow and minds meet in shared craze.

It's not silent - not at all - as lore would suggest. Rather it swells with discussion, debates and kids at the edge of their seats, unable to stop from interrupting each other as they reveal plot twists that have them on an imagination high.

It's the middle school library.

There are plenty of regulars at Victoria's four middle school libraries, who recently gathered to chat about the books and genres that keep them turning pages.

They're having at least as much fun as the librarians, who serve as enthusiastic shepherds to the kids' reading experience.

The librarians at Victoria's middle schools - Phyllis Malone at Patti Welder, Darla Fox at Cade, Clyde Beyer at Stroman and Jeanne Frontz at Howell - said they keep an ear to the wants of their students, which means constantly being on the lookout for interesting books and collaborating to rotate series through each of the schools.

With students bursting to discuss stories and characters with their friends, it's not surprising that a few trends have caught on in Victoria.

Of course, the "Twilight," "Harry Potter" and even the 20-year-old "Goosebumps" series are popular with students. Books turned into movies and scary stories are some of the most commonly requested, in fact.

But in the last few years, graphic novels have also caught on. Fantasies - whether it's zombies or kids with super-human powers - are a favorite, too.

Non-fiction? Not so much, unless it's "Guinness World Records," "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" or sometimes biographies.

Books that are part of a series particularly keep drawing students back into the library, which leaves librarians with a somewhat welcomed dilemma.

Take, for example, the "Bone" series of graphic novels.

"These never stay on the shelves. Kids like to read them in order, so they come in going 'Where's No. 4? Where's No. 9?'" Fox said.

That reminded one of her avid readers at Cade Middle School, Marshall Parsons, who chimed in.

"Mrs. Fox, I'm kind of looking for No. 7," he said.

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