Teens need books, too. So, we designed a program to reach teens through writing contests held at high schools across the state. Our goal? Encourage recreational reading, gather data on how teens view reading and to find out what books interest them. All participants receive new books to keep.
The program was first launched in 2012 in the Newark Public Schools with the “Are You Hungry for Books?” contest, in which 200 students took part, and was followed-up with a Winter 2013 contest at Keansburg High School, where 174 students took part. It has also been successfully launched in Lakewood and Trenton High Schools. To date, nearly 1500 teens across New Jersey have participated in the program.
The program is simple – students who fully complete a short online survey can select a new book from a list of current young adult titles that we compile here at Bridge of Books. Past titles have included: Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why, Tupac’s A Rose that Grew from Concrete and Ellen Hopkin’s Crank. Surveys are then reviewed by a group of educators, who will select anywhere from 10-2o students to receive an additional book of their choice. We then deliver all the books to the district and present the winners with both their books.
As we continue to offer this program in high school districts across the State, we will compare answers to see what, if any, trends develop. We are already starting to see one trend – kids think libraries are the best place to find books. More importantly, we will continue to engage high school kids in reading by offering them the chance to receive cool, high interest new books! If you would like your high school to be considered for this program, please contact us.