Many happy childhood readers find themselves disenchanted with reading when they reach adolescence. It is an especially rough time to lose touch with the solace of reading because young adolescents often feel alone and alienated. Lucky young readers encounter an adult like Teri Lesesne, who well understands both the mindset of early adolescents and the myriad of books written for that age group. Lesesne examines obstacles that divert tweens from the company of books. She begins by looking at the psychological needs of adolescents, making helpful book suggestions that might target these needs. For example, Lesesne sites the work of Kantrowitz and Springen, who compiled a list of qualities essential for adolescent development called the Five Cs (competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring). Lesesne matches books with each of these qualities. Competence, for example, is matched with Chasing Vermeer, Love That Dog, Drawing Lessons, Matchit, and Sparks. This insightful connection between appropriate psychological development and specific young adult titles is one of the elements that makes this book essential for middle school teachers and librarians. Most of the book is targeted toward teachers, with numerous ways to prescribe reading assignments and suggestions for motivating students. But anyone with an interest in connecting tweens with literature will find inspiration here. Lesesne really knows her books. A lengthy appendix includes approximately 200 books suitable for middle school students, with annotations. Lesesne's zeal for her subject is highly infectious, making it a must-read for anyone working with tweens.
Lesesne uses the attention-grabbing term of the title to describe the sheer joy that reading brings to some individuals but not to others. The succinct text wastes no time in painting a portrait of tween readers (a definition expanded to include those students in grades 4-8) and conveys why it's crucial to engage them at this stage. Grounded in research (both the author's and notable others), the book offers concrete solutions to reading resistance by highlighting a baker's dozen of strategies that require little time or money to implement. Highly motivational for teachers frustrated by emphasis on the assessment of reading ability rather than reading passion, this title reads like a heart-to-heart chat with a trusted colleague. While it may be most helpful for reading professionals, it is accessible to anyone concerned about the future of reading. Filled with various lists of kid-appealing titles, including an appendix of "100 Great Books for Tweens," this volume presents books appropriate for every stage of the target audience's development. An inspired choice for any professional collection.-H. H. Henderson, Heritage Middle School, Deltona, FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.