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Lawrence Memorial Library

101 East Laurel
Springfield, IL 62704

Great Stories CLUB

Great Stories CLUB
(Connecting Libraries, Underserved teens and Books)

The Great Stories CLUB is a reading and discussion program that targets underserved, troubled teen populations. The program reaches teens through books that are relevant to their lives, inviting them to read and keep the books, and encourages them to consider and discuss each title with a group of their peers. It seeks to show that reading can be a source of pleasure, a tool for self-exploration, and a meaningful way to connect to the wider world. Its ultimate goal is to inspire young adults who face difficult situations to take control of their lives by embracing the power of reading. YALSA's Outreach to Young Adults with Special Needs Committee selected "New Horizons" as the Round III - 2009 Great Stories Club theme.

The Great Stories CLUB is organized by the American Library Association Public Programs Office (PPO), in cooperation with the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), and major funding for the Great Stories CLUB has been provided by Oprah's Angel Network.

The Lawrence Memorial Library is one of the hundreds libraries chosen from across the nation to receive this award. Students are encouraged to participate in this program, and they will be allowed to keep their book upon successful completion of the program.

Interested students can come to the Lawrence Memorial Library, Room 109, to check out a copy of a book for discussion. The student will then be responsible for participating in a book discussion in order to keep their copy of the book. There is a ten student limit for each title.

Listed below are the titles chosen (by Oprah). The discussion dates are also listed. Students must participate in the discussion in order to be able to retain their copy of the book.

Round III

2010 Theme and Reading List

The Round III theme is "New Horizons". When we challenge ourselves to go beyond our familiar surroundings, we can often discover new horizons and strengths within ourselves. New horizons also present themselves when we are willing to explore a larger universe.

These stories are about teens who discovered new horizons in their lives and in the world.

* The Afterlife by Gary Soto
Book discussion date March 11, 2010
A senior at East Fresno High School lives on as a ghost after his brutal murder in the restroom of a club where he had gone to dance.

* Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
Book discussion date April 15, 2010
Seventeen-year-old Matthew recounts his attempts, starting at a young age, to free himself and his sisters from the grip of their emotionally and physically abusive mother.

* One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones.
Book discussion date February 4, 2010
Fifteen-year-old Ruby Milliken leaves her best friend, her boyfriend, her aunt, and her mother's grave in Boston and reluctantly flies to Los Angeles to live with her father, a famous movie star who divorced her mother before Ruby was born.

Round II

2009 Theme and Reading List

Breaking Boundaries. Boundaries can take many forms in life. They often make life difficult by dividing us and preventing us from seeing the essence of one another.

These stories are about teens who overcame the boundaries in their lives:

* The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Book discussion date: February 26, 2009
Thirteen-year-old Junior is a budding cartoonist who leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend a "mainstream" school where he is the only Native American, other than the school mascot.

* Black and White by Paul Volponi
Book discussion date: April 23, 2009
Marcus is black, Eddie is white. The two high school seniors are close friends everyone refers to as "Black and White." When they get involved in an armed robbery with tragic consequences, the wrong one is charged. Will his friend come clean?

* Luna by Julie Ann Peters
Book discussion date: May 14, 2009
Fifteen-year-old Liam is a transsexual who is able to live as a girl named Luna with the help of his sister Regan. When Liam announces his plans to live as Luna full-time, Regan dreads what will happen.

Round I

2008 Theme and Reading List

Choices: Life is full of choices. One choice can lead to another. Some can take us down the wrong path, and others can lead us to glory. Our background leads us down a road that is chosen for us, but eventually we choose our own path.

The following titles that relate to the theme "Choices" have been selected for the 2008 Great Stories CLUB reading list:

April 30, 2008
Tyrell by Coe Booth
Tyrell can't get a break. He is living in a shelter with his mom and little brother, his father is serving time in jail, and his girlfriend is supporting him. He is desperate to find a way to make money to get himself out of this slump.

May 14, 2008
Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos
The author tells how he was able to rise above an arrest for smuggling drugs and doing time in jail and become an acclaimed writer for teens and children.

May 28, 2008
Sold by Patricia McCormick
Thirteen-year-old Lakshimi is sold into prostitution in Calcutta when her Nepal village is hit by a monsoon. Drugged, raped, and beaten, she must find a way to escape.