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Pop Culture

    Book Lists Readers' Advisory

    Pop Culture Reader’s Advisory:The Big Bang Theory


    Love it or hate it a lot of people are watching it and that makes it a great place to start for some reader’s advisory. Outsiders, science, and fandom ahoy. Just some ideas to jump start your lists, displays, and more!

    Finding Yourself for the Nerds, Geeks, and Gifted


    The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller


    Winger by Andrew Smith


    Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern


    Sleeping Freshman Never Lie by David Lubar


    The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga


    An Abundance of Katherines by John Green



    Feynman by Jim Ottaviani

    basherExtreme Physics by Simon Basher


    A Black Hole is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami Decristofano

    or for older readers


    Death by Black Hole by Neil DeGrasse Tyson


    Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share by Ken Denmerd

    Comics, Fandom, and Popular Culture


    DC Comics Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle 

    or any DK guide to comics or sci-fi.


    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


    For the Win (or anything else) by Cory Doctorow


    Star Trek and Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant

    Many of the “and Philosophy” books would work


    Redshirts by John Scalzi

    Readers' Advisory

    Pop Culture Readers’ Advisory: Switched at Birth


    Switched at Birth is and ABC Family drama about two teenage girls who discover they were switched as babies. Bay Kennish was raised by the wealthy family of a former professional athlete, while Daphne Vasquez lived with a struggling single mother. Despite an illness that left Daphne deaf at a young age she enjoys sports and cooking, while Bay’s art talents include both street art and more traditional forms.

    Books that will appeal to fans of Switched at Birth might include books with deaf or hard of hearing characters, books with teens adjusting to new or unexpected family situations, stories of false or mistaken identity, and non-fiction related to Bay and Daphne’s interests.

    Deaf or Hard of Hearing Characters

    five flavors

    Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John


    Read My Lips by Teri Brown


    Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby


    The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Burke


    New and Unexpected Family Situations, False and Mistaken Identity blacksheep

    The Black Sheep by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout


    The Lying Game by Sara Shepherd


    The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding


    The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal


    Non-Fiction Books Switched at Birth Might Spark an Interest In: 


    American Sign Language Dictionary by Martin Sternberg


     Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art by Carlo McCormick, Marc Schiller, Sara Schiller, Ethel Seno


    Street Knowledge by King Adz


    The Truck Food Cookbook by John T. Edge


    Frida Kahlo: 1907-1954 Pain and Passion by Andrea Kettenmann

    hopeIn These Girls, Hope is a Muscle by Madeleine Blais

    Book Lists Readers' Advisory

    Binge Watching? How About Binge Reading? Finished Series to Binge On.


    With DVD box sets and streaming services more and more people, especially young people, are binge watching. Binge watching is exactly what it sounds like: watching a lot of episodes of a show at the same time. Binge watchers will often watch an entire season of a show back to back.

    So, how do we harness this energy for books? By reading an entire series start to finish! You can use this idea for a book display, book list, lock-in, or even for book discussion if you have some hard core readers.  Here are ten finished* series to get you started.


    Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter


    Divergent by Veronica Roth


    Delirium by Lauren Oliver


    The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater


    Curse Workers by Holly Black


    Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness


    Hourglass by Myra McEntire


    Summer Series by Jenny Han


    Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach


    Jessica Darling by Megan McCafferty

    More binge reading?  Try Lauren Kate’s Fallen, Condie’s Matched, Dashner’s Maze Runner, Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Artemis Fowl, or if you have a few months Naylor’s Alice series.  There are a ton of great options for any kind of binge reader.

    *We all know that “finished” is a little questionable these days with e-novellas, companion books, and authors writing follow-ups ten years later, but we’ll go with it for now.

    Kid's Programs Programs

    The Land of Stories: Five Activity Ideas for Library Programs

    LOS1Chris Colfer's THE LAND OF STORIES

    Today the second book in the Land of Stories series, The Enchantress Returns, will be released.  I’m pretty biased when it comes to the author so instead of a review I bring you program ideas. This would be a great tween program as the audience for the book extends past it’s middle grade-ness.

    Versions of Fairy Tales

    Alex and Connor’s teacher talks about how the original versions of stories have been lost to modernization and Hollywood versions. Why not check your collection for various versions of the same story and have the kids compare and contrast? Do a little research and share the oldest version you can find as well. Sur La Lune Fairy Tales will get you started.

    Writing Activity:Fairy Tales from a Different Point of View

    “What the world fails to realize is that a villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.”

    Challenge students to write a version of a fairy tale from the point of view of the villain. You could share The True Story of the Three Little Pigs to get them thinking. How would the witch in Hansel and Gretel explain her actions? What about the tailor in the Emperor’s New Clothes?

    Fairy Tale Improv

    For a more active game get silly with favorite stories. Pick a couple of well known stories and several ways to perform them like fast forward, slow motion, super sad, cowboy style etc. Make a spinner with each of the styles and have participants spin the wheel and volunteer to act out the story in that particular style.

    Make a Map 

    Provide large sheets of paper and let kids create a map of their own imaginary world just like Chris Colfer did as a child. Here is the author’s childhood map of The Land of Stories and the professionally illustrated version from the actual book.

    Chris's map

    TheLandofStories_MAP (1)

    Fairy Tale or Literary Wanted Posters

    In The Land of Stories Goldilocks is a wanted criminal. Have students create a wanted poster for her or another literary criminal. This could easily extend beyond fairy tales to other literary bad guys like Count Olaf or Bellatrix Lestrange.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, my pre-order copy should be here any time.

    Programs Readers' Advisory

    Teens’ Top Ten and Connecting to Teen Readers with Fandom

    Last week YALSA announced the list of Teens’ Top Ten nominations for this year. That got me thinking about how these kind of lists are really helpful to librarians. If you are not familiar with it Teens’ Top Ten is a really neat program that lets groups of teens around the country get books before they are released and vote on their favorites. The nominations are then put up for an online vote with winners announced for Teen Read Week.  It’s a great example of youth participation and you can learn more about it here

    No teen librarian worth their duct tape is going to stop reading professional reviews and ordering a diverse collection because they see what avid outspoken (and largely white and female) readers put on the list.


     The value of the list to us is something a little different. Teens’ Top Ten is basically telling us what authors/books/series have a fandom, and that’s another another way for us to connect with teen readers. If John Green and Cassandra Clare’s fans can connect online to vote in an poll don’t you think at least a few of them in your community can be connected via the library?


    Okay, so what now?

    Lurk Online

    At the very least spend a little time online learning the basics so you can talk to teens about the titles. What do fans call themselves? What are the big ships? What are the big events for fans like cover reveals, new releases, movie announcements?

    fandom gif

    Reach Out With Social Media

    Follow the authors and some of the bigger fan sites if they exist. Retweet or Reblog things of interest to fans with your library media accounts as appropriate. Post your events in the right places and you might even reach fans who aren’t already library users.



    Talk about having a built in audience for a program. Here are just a few ideas:

    • General fan meet-up
    • Trivia Contest
    • Fanart Contest
    • Fanfiction Writing Group
    • Cosplay Event
    • Theme Party/Release Party
    • Movie Marathon
    • Book Discussion
    • Tshirt or Button Making
    • Fandom specific crafts (Try Pinterest!)
    • Fandom related Summer Reading Prizes
    • Watch fanmixes, parodies, and other related YouTube videos


    Readers Advisory

    These popular series can serve as benchmarks for reader’s advisory since they are so widely read.  That means even if you don’t have time to read all of them, or your copies are never available, you should still familiarize yourself with the appeal factors.  Lists and displays of similar titles are a great way to promote lesser known titles in your collection.

    Why stop there? Once you are familiar with the book or series you can do character based reading lists as well. What would Hazel read? How about Prince Kai? What kind of books would Tris like?