What are we reading?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Those of us who work at the front desk of the library know that the books being requested most over the last few months are the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer. We seem to have requests at least 3 – 4 times each day for one of the books, and although we have several copies of each, there is usually a waiting list.  And even though we are aware of the excitement over these young adult books, it is interesting to note that they have been the top 4 books requested over the past three months, according to the stats on our library catalog website.

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It seems that the teen vampire series has struck a chord with our readers and they can’t get enough.  Of course, these books are aimed at Young Adults, but many adults have been reading them as well.  Meyer decided to try her hand at an adult novel after this series, and The Host has become almost as popular.

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Many people have written about the success of this series and the author, who has successfully become the “next J. K. Rowling”, and it makes me wonder if someone shouldn’t be starting an adult series right now.  The kids who read Harry Potter are the same ones who are now reading Twilight, so maybe they are a generation of series readers?  What’s next for these teen readers?  I think they’ll need a fresh voice, a new series to charm them and a breakout author.  Who will it be???

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Children are taking over the world!

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It all seemed to start about 10 years ago with Harry Potter. Children everywhere began reading the book and the world changed.  Suddenly, children were setting the demand for books.  J. K. Rowling became instantly wealthy and the Harry Potter series spawned games, movies and much more, all from a “simple” little book.  Authors were now scrambling to get their youth-aimed books published for the generation who could make or break their careers.  Tweens were no longer the only ones who had money to spend and ideas on where they wanted to spend it.  Children were trend-setters.

Over the past few years, children’s literature has seen many new series, some which have done well (Eragon by Christopher Paolini) and others which have faltered, trying to be what every child wanted (there are too many books about wizards, dragons and magic to name.)  Recently, the craze has shifted again with the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.

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The Twilight craze is something we are dealing with at our library right now, and although this is aimed more at the young adult generation, these are the same readers that began with Harry Potter.  We can’t keep the books on our shelves and I’m sure it’s the same in most libraries, especially since the movie was released.  Vampires are the theme this time, another fantasy, but at least it gets kids reading.

I started thinking about children being the driving force of the economy lately after reading a ridiculous article in Forbes Magazine about Hollywood children.  The article was announcing the Most Influential Child under the age of 5.  (Suri Cruise won, by the way.)293cruisesurilc110708

I just found it ridiculous that someone could assume a child who isn’t even three years old yet will be the future of the entertainment industry, just because her parents are famous.  No one ever assumes, for example, that a child born to the head salesman at an insurance company will one day be the head of all insurance companies everywhere.  It is almost as though “regular” children don’t have the same potential.  But I guess that is another argument for another day.

So if children are the ones who are choosing what they want to read, watch, wear and listen to, and some of the most powerful industries are predicting the rise of children to the top, what is happening to the rest of us?  Are we just blindly following what our children are asking for or do we have a say in how the world moves as well?  What do you think?



39 Clues

Harry Potter was such a sensation in children’s reading that it is hard to imagine anything else even coming too close.  Right now, young adults have the Stephenie Meyer Twilight series to keep them occupied, but what about the younger set?  A new series is about to burst onto the scene and Scholastic is hoping that it will explode with a four-pronged attack.

The 39 Clues is going to encompass more than just a series of books.  But unlike Harry Potter which was picked up in movie format as the series became so popular, The 39 Clues already has many things in the works.  There are 10 books planned, all written by different poular authors who normall write for children, a series of collector’s cards that kids will trade and hunt for, an online game that will provide more clues and finally, and here’s the big draw…..prizes worth $100 000! So will these books actually draw in the kids?

The 39 Clues is about a boy and a girl, Amy and Dan Cahill, and their search for the source of their family’s great power.  The clues are scattered throughout the world, which will hopefully introduce a bit of geography to the young readers as well as intruige.  The books were devised by Scholastic about three years ago, when the publishers were not seeing anything on the horizon for kids.  So they came up with the idea of a treasure hunt, devised the ending and THEN asked writers to fill in the story.  Using multiple writers will supposedly keep readers from following the predictability that might come from a single vision.

You can read an interesting article about the 39 Clues here and then visit the official website here when the first book is released on September9, 2008.  We are expecting our own copy in the library as soon as our fall order arrives, so keep watching our online catalogue to get your name on the list.