Cindy Mitchell, a middle-school librarian and book blogger (www.kissthebook.com), says this: "Personally, I don't think the committees ever ask themselves if students will love the books when they make their choices. Maybe popularity isn't a perfect measure, but even a book that will stand up to the test of time and be loved by parents who pass that love on to their children and grandchildren would be preferable."
That's why The Salt Lake Tribune recently invited Wasatch Front teachers and librarians from a range of schools (public, charter and private) to ask kids to share which books they're actually reading. Here are their responses.
"Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is a fantastic social satire that also makes fun of every terrible pulp fantasy novel you've guiltily read under your duvet. Most books you read in high school are actually pretty great if you approach them with an open mind and take your time with them. Except Dickens."
"I read 'The Illustrated Man' by Ray Bradbury recently. I love this book because it's so unique. It's several short stories that all connect in some way and the stories are very imaginative and fantastical. I really enjoyed reading it."
"The Maze Runner series is a huge favorite of mine. I love the way James Dashner has created his world and the way he puts his characters into our sight. I like the dystopian feel to it and the technology he used in it!"
"I need to be emotionally attached to a book, and 'A Child Called It' by Dave Pelzer really did that. With the small towns we live in, we are sheltered. I loved this book because it showed me that life is not butterflies and rainbows. '[Expletive] happens' is the best way to explain it."
"'Illuminae' by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is really interesting and different. It's a bit harder to read, and it's way sci-fi, but it's worth it. The format is made up of a bunch of, like, text messages and hacked documents and stuff. And it's SO cool! The characters are all super complex, WAY complex, but they are also awesome. With such complex characters you really live the story with them because you can find something of yourself in all of them."
"I like historical books. I like to see how different it was compared to now. I also like rock 'n' roll biographies." Eli, 14
"I like realistic fiction. Richard Paul Evans and Nicola Yoon. Romance novels. I also like history books [like] 'Death Coming Up the Hill' by Chris Crowe."
"I really like to read two types of books: books based off of video games and books with a deep story that you might have to read twice to get all of it. Currently I am reading 'The Complete History of Nintendo.' "
"I like to read fantasy books: Fablehaven, Beyonders, Percy Jackson, books like those. I like to read them because they are full of things that aren't real fun to read not real life."
"I like books that I actually like and understand and challenge me, books with more complicated plots. Last year I read 'Eragon' by Christopher Paolini. It's, like, 700 pages! The author understood the fantasy world and what kids wanted at the time."
"I don't really read much, but I know what I like. I like poetry books. Those count, right? Oh, I liked 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' by Ransom Riggs. I also like horror books."
"I usually like graphic novels because they are comic books. They are different from normal books 'cause they are mainly pictures and words."
"So I like to read true stories anything that could actually happen in the real world. I find out what is really happening in the world that could happen to me if I wasn't living here. 'Into Thin Air' by Jon Krakauer, the Peak series by Roland Smith, and 'Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere' by Julie T. Lamana are books I liked."
"We like the Hazardous Tales books by Nathan Hale because they are funny but also history. We like graphic novels."
Henry and Chase, 11
"My favorite book is 'Nerd Camp' by Elissa Brent Weissman because of the connections between three individuals who are so different but have more that pulls them together than what pulls them apart."
"My favorite book is 'Ugly' by Robert Hoge. I love this book because it shows us that things can be very tough but we can make it through."
"'Guardian Herd' by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez is so beautiful. The Pegasus foal wants to be a healer. It makes me want to cry."
"My favorite book is 'Camel Rider' by Prue Mason. I like it because of the adventure and I am from the same area as Walid."
"I love 'Matilda' by Roald Dahl, because she loves to read."
"I like 'The Penderwicks' by Jeanne Birdsall. [The sisters] are always getting in trouble, but they are always able to fix it."
"'A Dog's Purpose' by W. Bruce Cameron is good because he protects his owner Ethan. It has adventure. I also like The Data Set books by Ada Hopper and Sam Ricks. They have cliffhangers to the next book."
"I love the Thea Stilton books by Elisabetta Dami because she talks about her friends and adventures. I like 'Emily Windsnap' by Liz Kessler because there is adventure and a scary monster of the deep sea. I like scary books."
"I like 'LeRoy Ninker Saddles Up' because he is a smart short man with his big fat horse, and it is funny."
"I love 'Emily Windsnap' because it's about mermaids."
"I love 'Bad Kitty' by Nick Bruel. He is really funny."
"I like American Girl books, especially 'Julie.' "
"I like books about insects. I love bugs."
"I like 'Dogman' by Dav Pilkey. I like the part with the army of hot dogs."
"I like 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe' and 'Charlotte's Web' because the animals talk."