Teens’ Top Ten is a â€œteen choiceâ€ list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year. Each day during the month of May, The Hub will feature a post about Teens’ Top Ten. Be sure to check in daily as we visit past winners and current nominees!
I’ve been looking at the list of the past eight years of Teens’ Top Ten and there is definitely something to notice. Series play a role in what gets on the list. Now I know that this isn’t shocking news to you, however, it is an interesting opportunity to look back at the series that have consumed readers over the past many years and consider what their inclusion tells us about teen reading. For example series on the list over the life of the list includes:
- In 2003 and 2005 Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books were on the list.
- Harry Potter appeared in 2004 and 2006
- Maximum Ride titles appeared in 2005, 2007, and 2008
- 2006 was the year that Twilight appeared on the list with New Moon on in 2007, Eclipse in 2008, and Breaking Dawn in 2009.
- In 2009 the Hunger Games appeared with Catching Fire on the list in 2010. The 2011 nominations include Mockingjay. Can one predict that it will be on the list for 2011?
Those are only a few of the series that appear over the life-time of the Teens’ Top Ten.
So, it’s clear, popular series are popular with teens and series in general are popular with teens. That’s a no-brainer. Are there trends in the series that demonstrate something about teen reading and publishing in just under a decade? The list includes one series that is realistic and the rest all have something fantastic about them; from living in a dystopian future, to going to school with wizards, to living with vampires and werewolves.
Yet, while many of the titles are fantastic in one way or another, it’s pretty clear that certain themes resonate no matter what the series. Take a look at that list of repeating series. Any of them not include a strong thread related to family and/or friend relationships? Any of them not include a story of teens trying to find their way in the world? Or, what about the theme of fighting to survive in a world that doesn’t quite get who you are? They all include those universal themes and storylines and that’s a key aspect of their draw.
Of course, one of the things that is great about Teens’ Top Ten is that teens get to choose the titles, again a no-brainer. But, along with that, looking at the series on the list it’s pretty easy to see why they make it year after year. While adults might lament the popularity of Twilight and other series with teens, there really can’t be a question of why they are popular. And, since it’s important that teens get a say in what they read and what libraries make available, series have to be recognized and appreciated. Fantastic series are obviously integral to strong collections. Just look at the Teens’ Top Ten and you can’t think anything else.
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Linda W. Braun
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