This week I read the novel Winger, by Andrew Smith. I won’t give the ending away, except to say it wasn’t what I expected. The novel has a 14 – year – old boy, Ryan Dean West, as the protagonist, and a lot of the book was funny, crude, and engaging. The voice of the main character seemed realistic and relatable, and I really enjoyed it. For those of you that have students that enjoy mixed media style books, this one does have a lot of graphic novel panels scattered throughout.
Then I got to the last section of the novel. It hit me hard, and I was finishing my reading in the auditorium, while supervising the students in the student – directed one acts. I had a moment where I actually pondered the fact that I had been sucker punched by a YA novel.
I probably would have cried had I been reading alone. What I did do was turn to a nearby student that I knew was reading books of off the same list as I was, and ask “Have you read Winger“? She had, and we had semi-whistpered, commiserating discussion about the novel, especially that ending. There were other students nearby, so we tried not to give any spoilers out, although later another student joined the conversation.
Upon later reflection, It was the type of moment that made me A) glad to work in a library setting B) happy to be reading from the Lincoln List. I work in Illinois, and our library supports both the Lincoln List and the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Award, both of which are sponsored by ISLMA (Illinois School Library Media Association). Because I knew students that were reading off of the list, and because they knew of my involvement, it gave us a shortcut to conversation. We have some books in common. The lists are another great tool in building reading community.