(Editor’s Note: As part of the Summer Blogger Promo Tour, I’m so thrilled to introduce Erin from The Hardcover Lover, who will be sharing some insight with you today. Read her interview about teaching below, leave some comments, and be sure to pop on over to her blog to say hello!)
Tell us a bit about your blog, The Hardcover Lover.
I started my blog, The Hardcover Lover, in July of 2014 for a few different reasons. One was boredom – I was posting all these reviews on Goodreads, and I felt like they just died. I felt like what I had to say mattered more than just to the people on my friends list.
I also kind of fell in love with young adult literature when I was in college. It was a requirement to take a YA literature class if you were an English education major, and so I found myself there, with literally no young adult reading experiences in my past. It’s safe to say that I was the black sheep because everyone had already read so many YA books, and the only one I’d really read was The Perks of Being a Wallflower. By the end of the class, I felt inspired, and I thought I’d try to write a YA book. That still hasn’t happened (but I do have a few synopses prepared just in case).
You’ll find a lot of YA book reviews on The Hardcover Lover, but I also review some middle grade. I’ve reviewed one new adult book and a few adult fiction books on my blog, but I mostly stick to YA because I really just enjoy it the most. I also participate in a few weekly memes, and even have one of my own – Soundtrack Saturday. Another feature I have is called Hardcover Lover Confessions where I confess something to my readers and it works as my idea of a discussion post.
You told me you have a certificate in English education. That’s so cool! What’s your favorite part about teaching?
I do! I really love connecting with kids. The best part is seeing the look on their faces when they finally understand something.
My favorite part of teaching is getting to teach pieces of literature. When I did my student teaching, I was lucky enough to be able to teach The Crucible by Arthur Miller, and it’s been my favorite experience thus far. I actually had them enact the play. It was just awe-inspiring to see the connections my students were able to make to the present day. Oh, and them running to class to start every day to get a “good part” really helped make me feel like a real teacher.
Being around pre-teens and teens, you must be “in the know” when it comes to reading trends. What sorts of books do you find students reading?
Being that I’m a substitute and get to go to different buildings each day really helps me out here because you’re going to get a multi-layered answer.
I’ve seen a lot of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders with copies of Harry Potter. I was at one elementary school for three weeks straight, and not one day went by when I didn’t see a kid with a copy of one of Rowling’s books. I spent a lot of time with some fifth graders this year, and they all had to read Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and even though it was required reading, the kids loved it. A lot of them bought the companion book, and many of them even read the e-novellas.
In the middle schools and junior highs, I’ve seen a lot of dystopian literature, and I don’t blame them. Popular titles they carry include The Selection books by Kiera Cass, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. The Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard is still going strong too, probably because of the immensely popular show, but I see girls with those all the time. John Green is also hugely popular at this age group.
Now to high school… They are a little more difficult to nail down, and I understand. I was young once too, and I kept my books in my backpack. A few students who I have talked to admit that John Green is one of their favorite authors. A lot of the young men have moved on from YA and have started to read adult fiction. I’ve seen quite a few teenage boys with mysteries and science fiction books.
What do you find most enlightening in your discussions with young people about books?
To be honest, you get the most out of the middle schoolers. They are just so enthusiastic about what they read. I recently went on a seventh grade field trip, and a few of the girls found out that I was not a fan of one of their favorite authors. They kiddingly kicked me out of the dinner table!
When there’s time, it’s fun to be able to openly talk to them without the pressure of assignments. Many of them even remember, and they’ll come up to me just to ask me what book I’m reading.
What’s your stance on the big issue: Is it okay for adults to read YA literature?
Yes! A million times yes! As a teacher, I read YA so that I can be able to give a recommendation to a student, but I think it’s also important for adults (and especially parents) to read YA because it’s a different world. So much has changed since I was in high school, and it hasn’t even been a decade since. It’s a difficult world, and if adults are able to see that through the eyes of a teenager, I think they will be able to understand the kids of today.
Finally: if you could make one book required reading in school, what would you choose and why?
Oh boy! You know what… I’m going to go with a challenged/banned book for my answer because that’s just how my mind works. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky should be required reading for high schoolers. I just think there’s so much in it that kids can learn from reading it. Even though it was published in 1999, I think a lot of the themes are things that kids today are dealing with now more than ever.
(Erin – thanks again for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this installment of the Summer Blogger Promo Tour. Check back every Sunday in July and August for another post from a fellow book blogger. Be sure to visit the other bloggers involved in the hop; there are so many cool conversations happening!)
Erin (The Hardcover Lover) is a twenty-something-year-old book blogger from Pennsylvania and substitute teacher. When she’s not substituting, she’s reading the latest books and coming up with new bookish ideas for her blog, The Hardcover Lover. She loves collecting beach glass and bookmarks. She has two cats – Lizzie and Luna.