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Episode 17 — Teens as Writers


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Text Messages: Recommendations for Adolescent Readers

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Grades 6 – 12
Podcast Series Text Messages: Recommendations for Adolescent Readers
See all episodes in this series

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Duration 14:50
Original Air Date Published August 01, 2009

Music in this podcast is courtesy of Scott Andrew.


Teens as Writers


Teens as Writers

If you talk with many teens, you'll soon become aware of the remarkable variety of writing they produce in their everyday lives.  Whether it's blog entries or a diary, letters or emails, essays or rants, teens today are writing for their own purposes, both in and out of school, in ways that are personally important to them.  In honor of NCTE's National Day on Writing, tune in to hear about the growing number of books featuring teens who write.  

After listening to this episode, be sure to print out this list of recommended titles to take to the library or book seller.

Recommended Books featuring teens as writers

  • Peeled by Joan Bauer (Putnam, 2008)
    (teen journalists in ethical competition with local paper)
  • Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught (Bloomsbury, 2008)
    (teen columnist for her school newspaper)
  • Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson (Scholastic, May 2009)
    (essays for English class and personal)
  • Hold Still by Nina LaCour  (Dutton, October 2009)
    (personal journal of suicide victim)
  • Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nichols (Arthur A. Levine, 2008)
    (dying boy keeps a journal)
  • Punkzilla by Adam Rapp (Candlewick, May 2009)
    (letters to a family member during a road trip)
  • Red: The Next Generation of American Writers-Teenage Girls-On What Fires Up Their Lives Today edited by Amy Goldwasser (Hudson Street Press, 2007)

Books with teen writers featured in other podcasts

  • My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger (Dial, 2008)
    (school reports, letters, emails, instant messaging)
  • Paper Towns by John Green (Dutton, 2008)
    (Online omnictionary entries)
  • Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Harcourt, 2006)
    (survival journal)
  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (Tor, 2008)
    (emails rallying teens to political action)
  • Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Pena (Delacorte, 2008)
    (letters to an absent father)
  • The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis (Bloomsbury, September 2009)
    (science notebook filled with diagrams for inventions)

Older YA titles featuring teen writers

  • Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar (Dutton, 2005)
    (personal journal written during and after school)
  • Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas (Simon & Schuster, 1996)
    (long personal essay for a counselor)
  • Out of Order by A.M. Jenkins (HarperCollins, 2003)
    (the agony of school writing for some; the pleasures of personal writing for others)
  • The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin (Dial, 2006)
    (letters to a sibling)
  • Monster by Walter Dean Myers (HarperCollins, 1999)
    (screenplay about a courtroom trial coupled with journal entries)
  • This Is All by Aidan Chambers (Amulet, 2006)
    (pillowbooks, a Japanese form of a journal)
  • Feeling Sorry For Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty (St. Martin's Press, 2000)
    (post-it notes and other wacky short messages)
  • I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005)
    (anonymous messages that create a mission for the narrator)
  • Letters from the Inside by John Marsden (Houghton Mifflin, 1994)
    (letters between pen pals who aren't who they say they are)
  • It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (Miramax, 2006)
    (hand-drawn maps representing the uniqueness of different people's brains)
  • Before I Die by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books, 2007)
    (list of things to do)
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Razorbill, 2007)
    (audiotapes explaining a teen's reasons for committing suicide)