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The New York Public Library’s Publishes Its Recommendations of Best Books for Teens
The wait is over. Help for teenagers, educators, librarians and others needing guidance selecting good books has arrived in the form of The New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age, 2005. The Library’s Office of Young Adult Services has published its 76th annual mega-booklist of approximately 1000 recommended titles. The list has approximately 470 new additions in 61 subject sections as well as many enduring favorites. Teenagers 12-18 years old have a plethora of new worlds to explore -- whether mystery and suspense, romance, adventure, poetry, or arts, there’s plenty to choose from. The publication features cover art by Jonathan de la Rosa an art student at SoBRO, South Bronx Economic Development Corporation, and 12th grader at Mount St. Michael Academy, Bronx.

A ceremony celebrating the publication of the list was held on Saturday, March 19  and included authors James Lincoln Collier, author of The Empty Mirror (Bloomsbury); Kristen Kemp, author of The Dating Diaries (Push); Deborah Davis, editor of You Look Too Young To Be A Mom (Perigee Books); Todd Klein, co-author of The DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics (Watson-Guptill); Diane McWhorter, author of A Dream of Freedom (Scholastic Nonfiction); Gordon Korman, author of Son of the Mob: Hollywood Hustle (Hyperion); Walter Dean Myers, author of Shooter (Amistad/Harper Tempest); Carolyn Mackler, author of Vegan Virgin Valentine (Candlewick) Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler, co-authors of In Darkness, Death (Philomel) and Marilyn Singer, editor of Face Relations (Simon & Schuster).

Teen readers vary tremendously in interest, maturity and reading ability. To meet these varying needs, the chosen books differ greatly in difficulty and depth. Books are organized in five general sections: The Creative Spirit; Science; Here and Now; One World; and Action and Adventure. These are further broken down into subcategories such as Brain Food; Rap, Rock, Bach; Young Love; and Make Up Your Mind. More straightforward categories are also available, including Teen Novels and Short Stories; Mysteries and Suspense; and Horror. In addition, the List offers a selection of serious subject categories, including War and Peace; Overcoming Odds; LGBTQ: Being Gay; Drugs; Love and Sex; The Middle East; and Do You Believe?

Designed with original cover art, each double-paged spread incorporates one or two sidebars containing direct quotes of texts to heighten interest in top-notch books. With a variety of titles to choose from, teens have the opportunity to find a story they can identify with. In Who Am I Without Him, (Jump at the Sun/Hyperion) Sharon G. Flake writes “People say things about me. Bad things. Momma says I give ‘em reason to. That if I would just be a good girl...then things wouldn’t go so hard for me.”  And in Godless, (Simon & Schuster, 2004) Pete Hautman writes, “You don’t believe any of this, do you? Do you really think that I think the St. Andrew Valley water tower is the all-powerful, all-seeing ruler of all that-is?.... Chutengodianism is important to me. But that doesn’t mean I think that a big steel tank propped up on a few I-beams is omnipotent. I might be a religious zealot, but I’m not crazy.”

A sampling of the books that made this year’s list include: Seven Days of Possibilities (Public Affairs) by Anemona Hartocollis; An Invitation to Poetry (W. W. Norton) edited by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz; Be More Chill (Hyperion) by Ned Vizzini; The Sea of Trolls (Atheneum) Nancy Farmer; The Realm of Possibility (Alfred A. Knopf) by David Levithan .  

New titles are indicated with an asterix, and durable favorites from earlier lists carry through, as well. All the books on the list are displayed year-round at Nathan Straus Teen Central at the Donnell Library Center, 20 West 53rd Street. Every New York Public Library Branch includes books from the list in their collections. A list of Branch Libraries and addresses is included on the back page.

Beginning in the Fall season, young artists in grades 7 to 12 submit original cover art for the annual Cover Art Contest. Each year, Books for the Teen Age awards $250 to the winner.   

Books for the Teen Age 2005 is available from the Office of Branch Libraries, The New York Public Library, 455 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10016. Copies cost $10.00 each. On mail orders there is a charge for mailing and handling: 1 copy - $1.00; 2 to 5 copies - $1.25; bulk orders - $1.50.

Contact: Debbie Bujosa at 212-704-8658
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