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What Are You Reading, France?

2013 November 14
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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. 

France is a country of 66,000,000 people.  Its capital and largest city, Paris, has a population of 2,200,000 who live in the city limits. If you count all the people living in the suburban read around Paris that’s nearly 12 million people.  (France) About 19% of the people in living in France are 14 years old or younger so that’s a lot juvenile and teen readers. What’s really amazing is France has a near 99% literacy rate so all these young readers will grow into lifelong book lovers.  Which makes me wonder: what are all of them reading? 

Thank you to Celeste Rhoads who has the answers.

  • Where did you work?

The American Library in Paris (Paris, France – a private, non-profit library founded by the ALA in 1920)

  • What are the most popular titles for teens at your library right now?

House of Hades by Rick Riordan, anything by John Green or Sarah Dessen, the CHERUB series by Robert Muchamore, Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth, Leviathan

French Translation of Die for Me

French Translation of Die for Me

Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld and the Revenants trilogy by Amy Plum, just to name a few. Amy Plum is local and has done a few workshops for us, so she’s got a fairly large fan base at the American Library in Paris. Manga and graphic novels are especially popular with many of our teens, including anything by Gareth Hinds, and then of course, Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto and Bleach by Tite Kubo.

  • What genres are most popular with your library’s teens?

I would say dystopian fiction, fantasy and sci-fi are our most popular genres, and probably in that order.

  • What languages are the books in your teen collection?

Books are nearly exclusively available in English in our collection, with very few exceptions. For example, in the Children’s Library we have a small collection of 20 Caldecott award winners and honor books that have recently been translated into French. The French public libraries do a great job, but they really don’t offer much in the way of English language literature. We provide a really special role in the expat and English-speaking community as the largest English language library on the continent.

  • Do your teens prefer to read print novels or ebooks?

When asked (and we actually asked many of them during a recent survey), most teens said that they prefer reading a print novel. Many of our teens do read and enjoy e-books though and often talk about the ease of carrying an e-book in their bag when traveling.

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.  To learn more about what teens are reading in Russia, check out my previous post What Are You Reading, Russia? and What Are You Reading, Ukraine?

- Laura C. Perenic, currently reading The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (a current nomination for the 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults list)

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