The following is a love letter to librarians from Lizzie Skurnick, author of the recently published Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading, a sentimental look-back to the children’s and YA books we loved in our youth.
Who could forget Beverly Cleary’s Fifteen and Lois Duncan’s When the Bough Breaks -- books that dealt with the lives and dramas of adolescent girls on their own terms, in their own worlds?
Shelf Discovery is a funny look at these important and, for many adolescent girls, life-changing books. It includes essays from other writers on their favorite well-and little-known teen books and authors, in-depth essays about the leading teen authors, a cover gallery, “extra credit” reading lists, plus an online component with Q&As from famous YA authors featured in the book, vintage cover art, a “plotfinder” section, recipes for unforgettable meals from YA books (Harriet’s tomato sandwich, anyone?), book club guides, and a place for readers to post their own memories and insights.
So…to the lucky first 25 who reply to this post, we will send a complimentary copy of Shelf Discovery. We’d love to hear what you think of this trip down memory lane, so send in your reviews and we’ll gladly post them. Happy Reading!
I can still remember the exact cover of the book (pink plastic dust jacket, fraying) and where it was shelved (fourth bookcase on the right towards the back, middle of the second shelf from top). The spine had long since been rubbed to illegibility, and, looked at from the side, the crumbling pages were jagged, like teeth. The condition of the book may have been due to the fact that my grade school library in Englewood, NJ simply was in dire need of funding. But I suspect I inflicted much of this damage personally—since for a period of some months, that copy of Louisa May Alcott’s An Old-Fashioned Girl was, twice a week, the only one I ever stamped out.