Crossing Over

By Anna Lane

This week, I have a guest writer for Like, Literally! A big thanks to Anna Lane, the Coordinator of Library Media Service for the Glenn County Office of Education, and total babe-liophile.

Crossing Over

I admit it. I got sucked (pun intended) into the Twilight books. A guilty pleasure, I felt like I was 16 again, all teen angst and stuff. Next came The Hunger Games. My then 10 year old daughter really wanted to read that particular trilogy, but I told her I needed to read it first. After all, it’s cataloged YA (for Young Adult) in the library, which clearly she wasn’t. I couldn’t put those books down either. In later years she eventually read them, and has since turned me on to some other books. Gone are the days reading aloud books like Goodnight Moon and I Love You Forever (sniff, sniff), and later the highly predictable, but geographically educational Magic Tree House series. While I cherish the quality time reading those books to my kids, I admit that there was many a night that I just needed them to Go the ***K to Sleep (narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, and any parent of young children can relate. Watch it on YouTube). But I regress. I’m 43 and now voluntarily reading my preteen’s books, on my own, and with pleasure.

I work as a teacher librarian. As such, I am tasked with providing students with books that are current and relevant to their lives. A current trend, though not a new phenomenon by any means, is what we in the biz call crossover books; novels that appeal to both the younger readers, say middle to high school, and adults as well. While the Twilight and Hunger Games books may not be the most literary of works, they appeal to a broad audience. Their fast paced storylines and timeless themes and issues such as politics, social inequality, love, adolescent unrest, etc. keep both the younger and older reader engaged. Every reader comes to the table with a different mind set when approaching any novel. An adult is going to interpret a story much differently than an adolescent. Crossovers allow those with a range of ages, life experiences, and background knowledge to approach the story in a way that is relevant to them.

Author Meg Rosoff sums it up well, “…a good coming-of-age novel is about as classic a form as a good political thriller, or a good murder mystery…Because if anyone knows the feeling of being lost, alone and unlovable, it’s a teenager. Or a 50-year-old divorcee.”

Of course it’s not just the coming of age novels or the two well-known series above that are popular crossovers. Crossovers come in a variety of genres from fantasy (which fly off my library shelves) to science fiction, historical fiction and poetry. Here’s a very short list of some crossover novels from various library resource sites (I’m sure you readers have lots more to add). Keep in mind a good book is a good book, no matter it’s intended audience. Enjoy!

The More You Know…
California school libraries are underfunded and understaffed. Many depend on parent volunteers, but a true model school library should be staffed by a credentialed teacher librarian and support staff. Teacher Librarians collaborate with classroom teachers to work in tandem on class research projects, information literacy, and digital literacy. Sadly, that’s not really happening much in the North State. There are only a handful of credentialed teacher librarians in Butte County and just me in all of Glenn County. Those folks do a fabulous job with the budgets they have and numerous schools that some of them serve, but they are ultimately spread thin.

The community can support our school libraries by recognizing the important role they play on any campus. They can speak up on behalf of the need to employ professionals in the libraries, voice concerns when there are looming cuts, and volunteers are always welcome!

Alice Bliss, Laura Harrington
Among Others, Jo Walton
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, M.T. Anderson
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Divergent Trilogy, Veronica Roth
The Gemma Doyle Series, Libba Bray
Graceling, Kristin Cashore
His Dark Materials Series, Philip Pullman
Mr. Monday, Garth Nix
Pushing the Limit, Katie McGarry
The Red Necklace: The Story of the French Revolution, Sally Gardner
The Sweetest Dark, Shana Abé
Wild Magic, Tomora Pierce

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