What Are You Reading, Russia?
I belong to a book club where we do a role call to see what everyone is reading. I am always interested to know what other people are reading or waiting to read– but just knowing what is popular in Ohio or the whole United States no longer satisfies my curiosity. I want to know what teens are reading all over the world.
Russia is a country of 143,500,000 people. Its capital and largest city, Moscow, has a population of 12,000,000. (Russia) About 27% of the people in living in Russia are 24 years old or younger, so that’s a lot juvenile and teen readers. Which makes me wonder, what are all of them reading? Here are some answers provided by Jessica Lind, fellow Hub blogger. You can learn more about her life in Russia from her Hub post, From Russia with YA.
*These views are Jessica’s own and not those of the school, or of any person or organization affiliated or doing business with the school.
- Where do you work?
I am working in Moscow, Russia right now. I work at the Anglo-American School of Moscow and this year I am primarily in the library for middle and high school students. My title is Library Assistant. We are a school library, but in many ways we also function as a community library since Russia is not the most English-friendly country. We order materials suited for students, parents, and staff, including a large DVD collection.
- What are the most popular titles for teens at your library right now?
Schoolwide (pre-k to grade 12), we have students representing over 60 nationalities. Our school is sponsored by the American, Canadian, and British embassies, though, so thanks to the internet, the interests of the students are fairly in line with what you would expect from students in these countries, I think. John Green is huge with our high school students this year; we cannot keep his books on the shelf. Popular series such as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, and Delirium by Lauren Oliver circulate very well. There are a few series that may circulate more here because we are in Europe, including Sophie McKenzie’s The Medusa Project since she is a British author. We also get high circulation on books by Brandon Mull, Sophie Jordan, and Curtis Jobling because of recent author visits to our school.
- What genres are most popular with your library’s teens?
From what I can tell when doing readers’ advisory, fantasy seems to be one of the most popular genres. Contemporary life, realistic fiction is probably a close second. We recently had a number of students express interest in booktalks about sci-fi and steampunk, so I hope to see a rise in these genres in the coming months. We have a few classes that are focusing on historical fiction and students in that class seem most interested in stories stories from WWII or the time of the last Russian tsar. While they are not selecting historical fiction on their own, they are selecting the time period.
- What languages are the books in your teen collection?
Our collection is primarily in English. We have World Language collections, the largest of which are in Russian, French, Korean, and Spanish, but they are no where near the size of our English collection. Steps have been taken to grow both the Russian and Korean collections recently as they are two wide-spoken languages in our community. Between our two libraries, I think the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling can be found in at least four languages.
- Do your teens prefer to read print novels or ebooks?
As for ebooks vs. print, it’s difficult to say. Sometimes if we do not have a book available and I offer to place a hold, the student will tell me that it’s not necessary because he or she will just download it on Kindle. Other times, though, when we have an ebook version of a title available, but the print copy is checked out, the student will say they would rather wait because they want the physical book. I never know what to expect, so I always offer as many options as possible.
I hope to learn and share about teen reading around the world. If you or someone you know lives overseas and works as a teacher or librarian with teens, please message me so I can do a post about the country they live in.
-Laura C. Perenic is reading To Be Perfectly Honest : a Novel Based On An Untrue Story by Sonya Sones (author of 2002 Best Books for Young Adults title, What My Mother Doesn’t Know)