We celebrated Teen Literature Day on April 17, 2014 by praising and giving thanks for the wonderful work of The Abraham Lincoln Award and the Read for a Lifetime Reading Program committees.
Illinois teens are so fortunate in having two lists that promote reading. At the Niles Public Library, these lists are crafted into colorful brochures each spring and are handed out to teens with summer reading logs. Any high school student interested in participating in both reading programs please contact Mary Miller, Teen Librarian, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The lists will also be available in the Teen Underground in the late spring. All teens reading four books from each list receive prize books from the next year’s ABE and Read for a Lifetime lists.
Jeanne Urbanek of the Illinois Secretary of State Office oversees Read for a Lifetime with an excellent website that contains all participation, reporting and annual lists. Book Selection for the list is done by a 10-12 member Read for a Lifetime Book Club of public and school librarians, teachers, administrators and parents. The deadline for reading the books is usually in the middle of April. All high school students who read four or more titles from the list receive a certificate from Secretary of State Jesse White. During the first 15 years of the program 17,450 students and 123 adults from more than 500 high schools and public libraries throughout Illinois have read 78,500 books.
The Abraham Lincoln Award committee is under the supervision of the Illinois School Library Media Association Board. The committee also maintains an excellent website with voting and registration information. The ABE committee is fortunate to have a high school student reader panel that participates in the selection day process. All titles selected by the students are noted on the yearly list. The deadline for posting votes for the ABE award is March 15th of each year. In 2014, 150 public and school libraries participated in the ABE reading program with a total of 3451 high school voters.
Both lists coordinate well. The Read for a Lifetime list includes more classic and non-fiction titles along with contemporary young adult fiction while the ABE list mostly includes recent popular young adult fiction. There was a rule in the past that all books on the ABE list had to be paperbacks but that has changed in recent years to include hardcover books. The 2014-2015 lists have only one title (Eleanor & Park) on both lists.
Happy Teen Literature Day!