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Teen Trend Summay Report - Books & Reading

Teens, Books, and Reading:  Students share insights into their reading habits, as well as stories about their favorite books and how those books positively impacted their lives.

Teens and Reading - StageofLifecom Trend ReportThis is the summary report from the StageofLife.com Teens and Books national survey and writing contest. 

  • 8,500+ teens and college students visited the Stage of Life student writing contest during the month's writing prompt (November 2012) from across the US (all 50 states).
  • 408 students completed the national survey on books, reading, and literacy.
  • 155+ student bloggers submitted a qualifying essay to the writing contest (see below links to the all of the book essays).

Background:  After years of asking teens to submit personal, inspirational essays about everything from their favorite songs to their favorite movies, surprisingly, we never asked students to write an essay about their favorite book.  For those of you familiar with StageofLife.com, you know we're one of the nation's leading teen literacy initiatives.  So it's about time we celebrate one of the foundations of literacy itself... books!

We asked teens to take a few minutes to think about all of the books they've read.  Then we asked them to consider the books that really stood out...

  • The book that inspired you to think differently. 
  • The book that most challenged your world view. 
  • The book that you simply couldn't put down. 
  • The book that first made you cry.
  • The book that gave you new insight into a part of your personality.
  • The book you could read again and again.
Out of this pre-work, we asked the students to pick one book, and in 500 words or less, write a personal essay that shares why that book is so important to them.  The students uploaded their essays to StageofLife.com (see below essay links).


PART I - TEENS & READING SURVEY RESULTS

Before submitting their essay, teens were asked to complete a survey about their reading habits and book buying behavior.  Interesting teen statistics from Stage of Life student reading survey include (see all stats in PDF download)...
  • Of the ways in which teens read books, the following forms were rated:
    • An actual book (paper): 98.0%
    • eReader (Kindle, Nook, etc.):  29.4%
    • Online:  16.4%
    • On my mobile phone:  13.5%
  • Statistics about teens' reading and buying habits77.7% of teens say they read at least one extra book per month for personal pleasure that isn't required for school.  Nearly a quarter (24.5%) read five or more books per month outside of school.
  • 84% of teens have been to a public library in the last 12 months
  • 34.4% of teens see their mothers reading more than their fathers; compared to just 12.5% of teens who see their Dads reading more. 
  • Sadly, nearly 30% of teens rarely see their parents reading.
  • On a more positive note, almost 28% of teens see BOTH of their parents reading frequently.
  • The majority of teens (63.5%) buy their books from big brand company brick & mortar stores like Barnes & Noble
  • 40.2% of teens have purchased a book online from web retailers like Amazon.com
  • 61.3% of teens say they've borrowed a book from their local library in the last year
  • Because of their ability to read books online for free or borrow them, 31% of teens state they spend $0 per month on books.
  • However, 1 out of 2 teens will buy 1-2 books per month out of their own money spending anywhere from $5 to $20 (per month) on books.  On the top end, 12% of teens are buying 3 or more books and spend $30+ per month on average
  • Teens are nearly split 50/50 on whether they label their friends as "book readers" and discuss books together
  • 3 out of 4 teens (74.5% to be exact) have had a parent, teacher, church leader or other older adult recommended an inspirational book to them in the last year
Teens and Books - Reading and Purchasing Survey DataTo read the full national survey results on teen reading and book buying habits, including a list of the 400+ books that the participating teens last read, click the PDF icon to download the StageofLife.com teen trend report.
 

PART II - TEENS & BOOKS ESSAY THEMES

After taking the survey, students submitted their book-themed essays to the StageofLife.com writing contest.  From the qualifying teen essay submissions, several themes and trends emerged about how students feel about books:

  1. Teen Reading Trends on StageofLife.comInspiration: The most common buzzword in this contest was “inspire.” These teens felt moved, bettered, and inspired by their chosen books. It’s clear that books are more than just a form of entertainment: books are a lifeline.

  2. Save: A surprising number of teens admitted that their book choice saved their lives. Depression and helplessness are not uncommon feelings during the tough-and-tumble teenage years; these books acted as guides or crutches for support during these particularly harsh moments.

  3. Help: Some teens praised these books for helping them fine-tune and hone in on their writing skills. Reading books is a great way to discover what kind of writer you are: in terms of narration, dialogue, and plot.

  4. Lessons: Many teens commented on the important life lesson they learned from these books: of life, death, kindness, and charity. These books touched these teens and taught them to be stronger and better people.

  5. Most Popular Book Choices: This month’s top book nominations include: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green, the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling, “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card, and “The Book Thief” by Mark Zusack.


PART III - READ THE INSPIRATIONAL TEEN BOOK ESSAYS

Immediately below, you'll find links to the StageofLife.com winning essay, our runners-up, semi-finalists and scores of other essays from college students and teenagers about books.  Please take a few moments to read an essay or two. If you have the time, make a comment on the responses you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their writing contest entry).

Stage of Life writing contest winnerEssay Contest Winner(s):

  • 1st Place:  My Favorite Book: “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger helped me realize that innocence is sacred by annika.lavina (Being a child is the most important part of your life)
  • 2nd Pace:  My Favorite Book: “The Prince of Tennis” by Takeshi Konomi inspired me to surpass self-limitations by rin_kuang (“Painting with a tattered brush is challenging, but not impossible”)
  • 3rd Place (Two Essays): My Favorite Book: “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling shaped me into the individual I am today by ccronin2006 (“Harry Potter is my light”) AND My Favorite Book: “Wreath” by Judy Christie inspired me to believe in myself by NicoleEmily (This teen was inspired to take control of her life)

Runners-Up (in no particular order):

StageofLife.com student essay writers - Runners Up
  1. My Favorite Book: “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss opened a world of words for me by jennyzhcl (This book helped this teen to learn English)
  2. My Favorite Book: “Hero” by Perry Moore dawned a new part of me by severalatoms (This teen’s “shell” was cracked)
  3. My Favorite Book: The novel “Hold Still” by Nina LaCour helped me to accept and comprehend my best friend’s attempted suicide by SHuss (This book helped her recover)
  4. My Favorite Book: “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan made me appreciate my mom even more (while short in length, this essay epitomizes the astounding effects of concision - how few words can convey so much meaning)
  5. My Favorite Book: “The Nature of Jade” by Deb Caletti inspired me to fix the way I treat people by RBrown201 (This teen found happiness in a sour mental state)
  6. My Favorite Book: “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte inspired me to do independent by krmurphy91 (Independence comes before marriage)
Semi-Finalists (in no particular order):
  1. StageofLife.com teen essay writers - Semi-FinalistsMy Favorite Book: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll inspired me to write my own stories by KorperTaco (This book was this teen’s first step into literature)
  2. My Favorite Book: “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque and Holding my Fire by maggiemoss (Learn to hold your tongue)
  3. My Favorite Book: “Cut” by Patricia McCormick: The White Rose Turned Red by Violet Angel (Cutting only creates a bigger problem)
  4. My Favorite Book: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green helped me learn to move on by artsygirl (“Time is fleeting, and we have to embrace every moment”)
  5. My Favorite Book: “Grim Tuesday” by Garth Nix got me to like reading by triciadeelicia (This teen loathed reading... until she found this book)
  6. My Favorite Book: “Halo: First Strike” by Eric Nylund inspired me to strive for my goals by Lennyyy (The popular video game series writes inspiring, meaningful prose)
  7. My Favorite Book: “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch reminded me of the ticking clock by Youngster (This book made this teen better)
  8. My Favorite Book: Reading “Mort” by Terry Prachett brought me more than just a favorite author by mimicats (At the very least, a book to cheer you up)
  9. My Favorite Book: “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway taught me to accept life’s difficulties by kb1002 (It is possible to overcome suffering)
  10. My Favorite Book: “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac forced me to accept reality by klobes (This teen saw himself in Sal)
  11. My Favorite Book: “Saving Francesca” by Melina Marchetta helped me conquer my insecurities by Inspired (It’s alright to be insecure)
  12. My Favorite Book: “This is Your Brain on Music” by Daniel Levitin Joined Black and White by sisilee (How could music and the cold world of science connect?)
  13. My Favorite Book: “Through My Eyes” by Tim Tebow gave me the confidence I needed by Rocco12 (This teen applied the book’s message to her life)
  14. My Favorite Book: “Warriors Don’t Cry” by Melba Pattillo by Synieshiea (This teen came to understand racism still exists today)
  15. My Favorite Book: “What Language Is” by John McWhorter gave me power over my words by jacqueline.feng (Her entire perception of language was changed my this book)
  16. My Favorite Book: “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card inspired my dark side of writing by Christisump (This teen works hard to make their characters seem real)


StageofLIfe.com writing contest submissionsAll Qualifying Teen Essays - Inspirational Books

The essays below were written by Stage of Life teen writers for the November 2012 writing contest and are listed alphabetically by book title:

700 Years of Classical Treasures

  1. My Favorite Book: “700 Years of Classical Treasures” by Jaime Almeida led me to love music by reedpiper33 (This teen fell in love with classical music)


A Child Called “It”


  1. My Favorite Book: “A Child Called ‘It’” by Dave Peltzer by brittneylynn2013 (Child abuse is serious)


A Doll’s House


  1. My Favorite Book: “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen inspired me to put an end to women segregation by sushimittal (Stand up for women’s rights)


A Short History of Nearly Everything


  1. My Favorite Book: “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson changed my view of science by aznxo (Science is an attempt to understand the universe)


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain inspired me to be an individual by michaelnguyen96 (It is okay to disagree with the majority)


Alanna the First Adventure


  1. My Favorite Book: “Alanna the First Adventure” by Tamora Pierce inspired me to trust myself and be independent by Pianochick (Alanna was a confident and strong role model for this teen reader)


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


  1. My Favorite Book: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll inspired me to write my own stories by KorperTaco (This book was this teen’s first step into literature)

  2. My Favorite Book: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll inspired me to use my imagination by Mimi (This teen imagined being with Alice)


All Quiet on the Western Front


  1. My Favorite Book: “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque and Holding my Fire by maggiemoss (Learn to hold your tongue)


Animal Farm


  1. My Favorite Book: “Animal Farm” by George Orwell by ashleyareopagita (This book brought her closer to her brother)

  2. My Favorite Book: “Animal Farm” by George Orwell has been the book with the most influence to me and my thought by GeorgeFitzwilliamIV (This teen enjoyed the mature and political writing)


Angels and Demons


  1. My Favorite Book: “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown for anything and everything by SnehaNagendran (This teen devoured this book)


Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret


  1. My Favorite Book: “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume—a book that helped me find myself by Rgonz97 (This teen related deeply to Margaret)


The Art of Racing in the Rain


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein inspired to try and be more optimistic in my attitude and writing by alligrea (Animals lovers will fall head over heels for this book)


The Bible


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Bible” gives me life by MarcusMontalvo (“When I read this book, it reads me”)

  2. My Favorite Book: “The Holy Bible”: The inspiration for my life by meganhug1996 (The Bible is not just a story)


Blueprints for Building Better Girls


  1. My Favorite Book: “Blueprints for Building Better Girls” by Elissa Schappell thrust me into feminism by NCpollyCA (“These [characters] are the women in my life”)


The Book Thief


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is probably the most important book I’ve ever read by 45toads (This book emphasizes the power of words)

  2. My Favorite Book: “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusack taught me about the extraordinary impact words and propaganda have by JennyC (Use words for the better)

  3. My Favorite Book: “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak by spoage (This teen was touched by the emotional and historical prose)

  4. My Favorite Book: “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusack showed me how good writing makes you feel real emotion by firefly (This teen went on an emotional rollercoaster with this book)


Bossypants


  1. My Favorite Book: How “Bossypants” by Tina Fey allowed me to let my freak flag fly by Rachel_Marcus (This teen was inspired to be herself)


Bridge to Terabithia


  1. My Favorite Book: “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson taught me that tears are noble by nikitasaha12 (“This book has helped me become who I am today”)


The Butterfly Effect


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Butterfly Effect” by Andy Andrews: You do matter by mcrunner (Everything that happens is important—you are important)


Cannery Row


  1. My Favorite Book: “Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck showed me that some happiness can always be found by Soccerchick55 (She loved the characters in this interesting book)


Captain Underpants


  1. My Favorite Book: “Captain Underpants” by Dav Pilkey by Just582 (This teen loved this book series)


Captive of my Desires


  1. My Favorite Book: “Captive of my Desires” by Johanna Lindsey changed my life forever by Jokergurl (This book inspired her to become a historical romance writer)


Catcher in the Rye


  1. My Favorite Book: “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger helped me realize that innocence is sacred by annika.lavina (Being a child is the most important part of your life)


Chinese Cinderella


  1. My Favorite Book: “Chinese Cinderella” by Adeline Yen Mah made me realize no one can ever bring you down by Eva Ren (This protagonist is a hero and a role model)


The Clique


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Clique” by Lisi Harrison by Daja413 (Bullying doesn’t have to be physical to hurt)


Cold Sassy Tree


  1. My Favorite Book: “Cold Sassy Tree” by Ann Burns gave me a deeper understanding about my faith by emilynielsen (This teen learned to have a deeper relationship with god)


The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe” by Fullmetal224 (This teen loved Poe’s tales of horror and humanity)


Crescendo


  1. My Favorite Book: “Crescendo” by Becca Fitzpatrick because it helped me through a difficult time in my life by sammirawrzyuh (This book helped her through a rough time in her life)


Cut


  1. My Favorite Book: “Cut” by Patricia McCormick opened me up by BeccaKathryn (Thios teen stopped self-harming thanks to this novel)

  2. My Favorite Book: “Cut” by Patricia McCormick: The White Rose Turned Red by Violet Angel (Cutting only creates a bigger problem)


The Da Vinci Code


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown questioned my Catholicism by EmmaLu (This teen questioned her faith after reading this famous novel)


The Devil’s Arithmetic


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Devil’s Arithmetic” by Jane Yolen inspired me to research the history of the Nazi takeover by kellypie7 (This teen learned a lot about the Nazi party and the Holocaust)


East of Eden


  1. My Favorite Book: “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck made me realize my life is in my hands by RxNZXP (This teen’s destiny is at her fingertips)


Ender’s Game


  1. My Favorite Book: “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card by Speaker Of The Dead. (Be compassionate to other people)

  2. My Favorite Book: “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card inspired my dark side of writing by Skrillex (A dark book about science fiction)

  3. My Favorite Book: “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card inspired my dark side of writing by Christisump (This teen works hard to make their characters seem real)

  4. My Favorite Book: “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card changed my view on life by friendzyfriend (This is a book this teen will never forget)


Every Soul a Star


  1. My Favorite Book: “Every Soul a Star” by Wendy Mass inspired me to make friends by santacanon (Intelligence isn’t a reason to avoid socialization)


Fahrenheit 451


  1. My Favorite Book: “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury made me realize the importance of having self-conviction by sydneydong (Individual must triumph over conformity)


The Fairytale Detectives


  1. My Favorite Book: The Sisters Grimm “The Fairytale Detectives” by Michael Buckley got me to like reading by vickitori (She learned that reading was not as frustrating as she once experienced)


The Fault in Our Stars


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green made me realize that if you love someone then no matter how much they by olivia.rose (This teen was touched by the emotional message in this novel)

  2. My Favorite Book: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green by gsheridan (This teen connected to the book)

  3. My Favorite Book: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green—the first book that made me cry by TheRaikster (This teen fell in love with relatable and unique characters)

  4. My Favorite Book: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green by sophiaruth92 (This book inspired this teen to become a writer)

  5. My Favorite Book: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green helped me learn to move on by artsygirl (“Time is fleeting, and we have to embrace every moment”)

  6. My Favorite Book: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green opened my eyes to inevitability by The Knife Master (Pain is an inevitable part of life)


The Five People You Meet in Heaven


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom Brings Heaven’s Message to Earth by riserthinking (“Miracles and meaning hide in small actions”)


The Giver


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Giver” by Lois Lowry by kfox1998 (This both liked and disliked this book)

  2. My Favorite Book: “The Giver” by Lois Lowry gave me hope and a new outlook on life by Chromo13 (“Life without choice is not life at all”)


The Glass Castle


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls inspired me to one day be the inspiration by Gattorina36@hotmail.com (“Don’t be inspired, be the inspiration”)


Green Eggs and Ham


  1. My Favorite Book: “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss opened a world of words for me by jennyzhcl (This book helped this teen to learn English)


Grim Tuesday


  1. My Favorite Book: “Grim Tuesday” by Garth Nix got me to like reading by triciadeelicia (This teen loathed reading... until she found this book)


Halo: First Strike


  1. My Favorite Book: “Halo: First Strike” by Eric Nylund inspired me to strive for my goals by Lennyyy (The popular video game series writes inspiring, meaningful prose)


Happy Face


  1. My Favorite Book: “Happy Face” by Stephen Emond with tears by EnglishStudent (This teen’s perception of reality has changed)


Harry Potter


  1. My Favorite Book: The “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling because they took my imagination to a whole new level by CrimsonQuill757 (This teen lives in the fantasy world of Harry)

  2. My Favorite Book: “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling shaped me into the individual I am today by ccronin2006 (“Harry Potter is my light”)

  3. My Favorite Book: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” made me crave adventure by potterchild (This teen was inspired to go out and do things instead of sitting around)

  4. My Favorite Book: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling TaylarMouton (This book inspired this teen to be a writer)

  5. My Favorite Book: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by J.K. Rowling and my First Fight with a Dragon by Swimmerwrites (This book inspired this teen to become a passionate writer and reader)


The Help


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett by13travism (This book made this teen want to stand up for what is right)

  2. My Favorite Book: “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett inspired me to do the right thing by haleighjames (This teen stopped caring what others thought)


Hero


  1. My Favorite Book: “Hero” by Perry Moore dawned a new part of me by severalatoms (This teen’s “shell” was cracked)


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams by MissAlacrity (This book made two young kids best friends)


Hold Still


  1. My Favorite Book: The novel “Hold Still” by Nina LaCour helped me to accept and comprehend my best friend’s attempted suicide by SHuss (This book helped her recover)


The Hunger Games


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins provided a strong, independent role model that I desire to resemble by julianaverhage (This teen was impressed with Katniss’s boldness and selflessness)

  2. My Favorite Book: “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins by Tara714 (This teen is proud to be an American)

  3. My Favorite Book: “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins inspired me to re-write my own story by riserthinking (This teen was inspired to continue her own script-format story with a kick-butt female protagonist)

  4. My Favorite Book: “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. Dynamite comes in small packages by SummerBurke00 (This book series inspired her to accomplish anything)


I Too Had a Love Story


  1. My Favorite Book: “I Too Had a Love Story” by Ravinder Singh for giving my life by SnehaNagendran (This teen found the bravery to tell the boy she loved)


Into the Wild


  1. My Favorite Book: “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer taught me how to live by obrienm216 (This teen was inspired to travel across the US on his motorcycle)


Ishmael


  1. My Favorite Book: “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn has inspired me to take a closer look at the world I live in and reflect on the life that I have by Gabie (Mother Earth will always win)


It’s Kind of a Funny Story


  1. My Favorite Book: “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini inspired me to live by anillegibelemess (“You choose to live, so live”)


Jane Eyre


  1. My Favorite Book: “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte inspired me to do independent by krmurphy91 (Independence comes before marriage)


The Journals of Rachel Scott


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Journals of Rachel Scott” by Beth Nimmo & Debra J. Klingsporn by steffyweffykins (A biography of a Christian teen who died in the Columbine shooting)


The Joy Luck Club


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan made me appreciate my mom even more by IamA14eliever (This teen learned to respect where she came from and where her parents came from)


The Last Lecture


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch taught me to overcome brick walls by Papples (You too can live out your childhood dreams)

  2. My Favorite Book: “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch reminded me of the ticking clock by Youngster (This book made this teen better)


Left to Tell

  1.   My Favorite Book:  "Left to Tell" By Immaculée Ilibagiza Left Me Speechless

Legend


  1. My Favorite Book: “Legend” by Marie Wu inspired me to live everyday like it’s my first by Carebear11033 (“Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything's possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time. -Day”)


Les Miserables


  1. My Favorite Book: “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo has helped me realize what I can do to help by 24601_Illusions (Give to others in need)

  2. My Favorite Book: “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo made me realize I’m not a bad person by Nijahp (Good can still come from bad people)


The Little Prince


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery inspired me to think by nshender (This book gave this teen the confidence to speak her own mind)


Lock and Key


  1. My Favorite Book: “Lock and Key” by Sarah Dessen, a book that presents hope by EmiliaCristy (She understands that her life is fortunate)


Looking for Alaska


  1. My Favorite Book: “Looking for Alaska” by John Green by barlagem13 (Peer pressure for teens is immense)


Lord of the Flies


  1. My Favorite Book: “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding taught me to stay sane even when in the toughest times by nguyner (Don’t give in to your “evil” side)


The Lucky One


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Lucky One” by Nicholas Sparks by GiannaG (Don’t judge anyone)


The Martian Chronicles


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury by jbelmonte521 (His passion for civil engineering came from reading science fiction)


Mary Ellen Bird and the Ever After


  1. My Favorite Book: “Mary Ellen Bird and the Ever After” by Jodi Lynn Anderson inspired me to perfect the tone in my writings by McKennaF (This teen is drawn to personable, narrative voices)


Mind Gym


  1. My Favorite Book: “Mind Gym” by Gary Mack by ryan87 (This teen was motivated by this book about sports)


Missing Pieces of my Forever Heart


  1. My Favorite Book: “Missing Pieces of my Forever Heart” by Janet Grosshandler made me a better person by samanthasg2 (Keep the people you love close to you)


Mort


  1. My Favorite Book: Reading “Mort” by Terry Prachett brought me more than just a favorite author by mimicats (At the very least, a book to cheer you up)


The Nature of Jade


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Nature of Jade” by Deb Caletti inspired me to fix the way I treat people by RBrown201 (This teen found happiness in a sour mental state)


Night


  1. My Favorite Book: “Night” by Elie Wiesel by JamesRed (This book encouraged him to open up and learn who he is)


The Nightmare


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Nightmare” by Lars Kepler because it made me connect with my career by Catalyst (A murder mystery a la Sherlock Holmes)


Nineteen Minutes


  1. My Favorite Book: “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult by kkzz16 (This teen loved the interesting points of view)


November Blues


  1. My Favorite Book: “November Blues” by Sharon M. Draper was the first book that made me cry by chelle.vines@aol.com (This teen was emotionally connected to this urban novel)


The Old Man and the Sea


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway taught me to accept life’s difficulties by kb1002 (It is possible to overcome suffering)


On the Road


  1. My Favorite Book: “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac made me want to travel by Kiersten (There is more to life than high school)

  2. My Favorite Book: “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac forced me to accept reality by klobes (This teen saw himself in Sal)


One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies


  1. My Favorite Book: “One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies” by Sonya Sones strengthened my relationship with my dad by ttasnim (Never judge a person until you know them personally)


The Outsiders


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton taught me how to stay gold by lgs125 (Stay yourself and believe in what you do)

  2. My Favorite Book: “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton by go.harper10 (Good guys and bad guys make good and bad decisions)


Palo Alto


  1. My Favorite Book: “Palo Alto” by the versatile James Franco by maggie (You can achieve your dreams with hard work and determination)


The Perks of Being a Wallflower


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky by missvictorzzz (This teen was moved by the inspirational quotes in this book)

  2. My Favorite Book: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky by Alloy7 (Always be yourself)


Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind


  1. My Favorite Book: “Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind” by V.S. Ramachandran gave me a new perspective by Leland (This teen was inspired to pursue a career in studying the brain)


Pollyanna


  1. My Favorite Book: “Pollyanna” by Eleanor H. Porter by Tutty (This teen was touched by “the Glad Game”)


The Prince of Tennis


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Prince of Tennis” by Takeshi Konomi inspired me to surpass self-limitations by rin_kuang (“Painting with a tattered brush is challenging, but not impossible”)


The Princeton Murders


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Princeton Murders” by Ann Waldron inspired me to be a writer by krmurphy91 (This teen was captivated by this mystery novel)


Rescuing Sprite


  1. My Favorite Book: “Rescuing Sprite” by Mark Levin inspired me to love by BrianaLopez (This teen was moved by the love for animals this author displayed)


The Righteous Mind


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Righteous Mind” by Jonathan Haidt made me realize why we are so convinced of our righteousness by Hannah M (This book on social psychology made her realize that truth about righteousness)


Sarah’s Key


  1. My Favorite Book: “Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosnay by AN14 (Do things you are scared of)


Saving Francesca


  1. My Favorite Book: “Saving Francesca” by Melina Marchetta helped me conquer my insecurities by Inspired (It’s alright to be insecure)


The Scarlet Letter


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne taught me about society by rportenti (This book speaks truths about society—past and present)


The Secret to Success


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Secret to Success” by Eric Thomas by Grayson Skarnulis (This teen followed this author’s advice and found a vast improvement in his life)


The Shack


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Shack” by William P. Young showed me God’s divine intervention transform’s one’s life by danika (God never gives up)


Soldier X


  1. My Favorite Book: “Soldier X” by Don L. Wulffson inspired me to make everything I write relatable by kenziemorgan (We all have a story to tell)


Soul Surfer


  1. My Favorite Book: “Soul Surfer” by Bethany Hamilton taught me how to overcome obstacles by kristin.edwards.13 (This teen learned not to care what others think of her)


Speak


  1. My Favorite Book: “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson made me face reality by ashleyebersole19 (There are bigger problems in life than what to wear)


Split


  1. My Favorite Book: “Split” by Swati Avasthi by Noornouser (This book shows the disparity of abuse)


Stargirl


  1. My Favorite Book: “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli inspired my writing style by Rose-wheaton (Little details make writing good)


Such a Pretty Girl


  1. My Favorite Book: “Such a Pretty Girl” by Laura Weiss because it helped me overcome a very tough situation by snooki1998 (This teen made the best of a terrible situation)


Tangerine


  1. My Favorite Book: “Tangerine” by Edward Bloor inspired me to be who I am, and no one else by Arjenee (This outcast didn’t feel so alone anymore)


Thank You, Jeeves


  1. My Favorite Book: “Thank You, Jeeves” by P.G. Wodehouse made me realize that there are more ways than I ever thought imaginable to use words by pineapplefrenzy (This teen has greatly improved their writing thanks to this book)


Thirteen Reasons Why


  1. My Favorite Book: “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher made me realize I’m not a crazy party-er by savedbythekell (This book inspired her to be nicer)

  2. My Favorite Book: “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher inspired me to stay alive by shaikha (This book inspired this teen to write her own novel)

  3. My Favorite Book: “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher helped me fight depression by patrickj115 (This wouldn’t have overcome his internal struggles with this book)


This is Your Brain on Music


  1. My Favorite Book: “This is Your Brain on Music” by Daniel Levitin Joined Black and White by sisilee (How could music and the cold world of science connect?)


The Three Musketeers


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas: a book that I pulled an all-nighter to read by jacobsong (This teen learned to love the classics and cherish his friends)


Through My Eyes


  1. My Favorite Book: “Through My Eyes” by Tim Tebow gave me the confidence I needed by Rocco12 (This teen applied the book’s message to her life)


To Kill a Mockingbird


  1. My Favorite Book: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee taught me the meaning of courage by AllyKolsky (“Courage is morality and individuality”)

  2. My Favorite Book: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee reminded me that I’m just as much a person as everyone else by jacobUgalde (All people have faults and flaws)


Travels With Charley: In Search of America


  1. My Favorite Book: John Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charley: In Search of America” gave me direction by jstutts13 (This teen will be a foreign news correspondant)


TTYL


  1. My Favorite Book: “TTYL” by Lauren Myracle taught me about friendships by Lifexlove (“Friends are family members you don’t share blood with”)


Tuesdays with Morrie


  1. My Favorite Book: “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom by SeJung Violet Park (“Death is a part of life”)


Twenty Boy Summer


  1. My Favorite Book: “Twenty Boy Summer” by Sarah Ockle taught me it’s okay to fall in love… again by EatingSkittles (She loves rereading this book)


The Twilight Saga


  1. My Favorite Book: “Twilight” by Stephanie Meyer: With a Blood-Sucking Twist by caitpence (This teen loves the men of this series)

  2. My Favorite Book: “Breaking Dawn” by Stephanie Meyer opened up my imagination by 14gilbergl (A forbidden love story with action and violence in between)

  3. My Favorite Book: “Twilight” by Stephanie Meyer by Gisell Aguirre (Twilight introduced her to YA Lit)


The Vincent Boys


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Vincent Boys” by changchongchris (Live your life for yourself)


Warriors Don’t Cry


  1. My Favorite Book: “Warriors Don’t Cry” by Melba Pattillo by Synieshiea (This teen came to understand racism still exists today)


What Happened to Goodbye


  1. My Favorite Book: “What Happened to Goodbye” by Sarah Dessen taught me it’s okay to be myself by Mykayla Jones (This book holds lots of strong lessons)


What Language Is


  1. My Favorite Book: “What Language Is” by John McWhorter gave me power over my words by jacqueline.feng (Her entire perception of language was changed my this book)


When I Grow Up


  1. My Favorite Book: “When I Grow Up” by Todd Strasser made me grateful for the life I have by EmmaCap (There are less fortunate people in the world—even America)


Where the Heart Is


  1. My Favorite Book: “Where the Heart Is” by Billie Letts showed me the purpose of love by Angelica (This teen was moved by a young mother’s love for her child)


Where the Red Fern Grows


  1. My Favorite Book: “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls by Awallen (The first book that made this teen cry)


Why the Caged Bird Sings


  1. My Favorite Book: “Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou by Asia Scott (No matter what you go through in life you can be resilient)


Wintergirls


  1. My Favorite Book: “Wintergirls” by Laurie Halse Anderson made me realize I wanted to be a psychiatrist by KaitlynEHensley (This teen always enjoyed helping others, but this book helped her realize a greater purpose)

  2. My Favorite Book: “Wintergirls” by Laurie Halse Anderson made me feel as if I’m not alone by katalexis66 (This book made her feel like she was not alone)


Wreath


  1. My Favorite Book: “Wreath” by Judy Christie inspired me to believe in myself by NicoleEmily (This teen was inspired to take control of her life)


Wringer


  1. My Favorite Book: “Wringer” by Jerry Spinelli helped me face childhood problems of friendship by solfa228 (This teen had a difficult time in seventh grade)


The Year I Turned Sixteen


  1. My Favorite Book: “The Year I Turned Sixteen” by Diane Schwemm helped me change my outlook on the world by springrose98 (“Do you know who you are?”)


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


  1. My Favorite Book: Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” inspired me to alter of the thoughts of the world by jdvorak2 (This teen enjoyed the philosophical connotations of this novel)



Resources:  

We gave these book lists for future reading and/or to help spur a memory as the students selected the book(s) to nominate in their essay...



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