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Vol. 2 No. 8        August 2007

Editorial                                      The sun shines on; in a circle of chairs
                                               (1 less than the number of people in the
Welcome to the August edition of TLM!          group) someone stands in the middle and
This month's newsletter focuses mainly on      makes a statement such as “the Sun
events and ideas for Teenage Reading           shines on any one wearing red”. Everyone
Groups; this information has been              wearing red has to get up and change
provided by Liz Rose of Croydon Library        seats, leaving one person left in the middle
Services. She describes her group as           to make another statement in order to sit
being for years 7-9. They are quite quiet      down.
and shy and like biscuits!
                                               The fridge game; tell everyone to choose
I would like to encourage all subscribers to   something they would find in a fridge that
the newsletter that run Teen Reading           starts with the same letter as their first
Groups to share their ideas and success        name i. e. 'Claire, Cake'. Then they go
stories to help encourage those that may       round the circle saying their names,
not be too sure where to start and to          however, each person must say all the
enlarge the idea pool for events.              previous names before they say their own.
                                               (The lead worker should always finish
Also included is some Meg Cabot                last!)
information as well as some website links
that may be popular with teens. There are      These three name games can also be
also two competitions this month (more         changed to include books. In the ball
information at the end of the newsletter)      game they can substitute their names for
and this months author interview is with       their favourite book or magazine. In the
Derek Lawrence author of Skaters,              fridge game they can substitute their
Trekkies & Cool Dudes reviews of which         names for books they would recommend.
are available on the website.                  In “The sun shines on” you change the
                                               category to reading anything from novels
                 *                             to street signs i.e. “The sun shines on any
Teenage Reading Groups                         one who has read Harry Potter” (everyone
TRG Games
                                               Library games
Games are an important and interactive
way for young people to learn, they can        Libraries are not commonly associated
also be used to initiate a constructive        with playing games with young people, yet
discussion. No matter what the subject is,     they supply CD ROM’s and Playstation
games are designed to be fun, so there is      games that are targeted at them. These
no reason why games and activities based       games are rarely educational, involve little
around books can not be equally as             reading and no dialogue with staff. But
enjoyable.                                     when active games are used in the library
                                               there are many opportunities to get young
Introduction games                             people discussing books with you. It all
                                               depends on what you want to discuss and
When working with a new group of young         how loudly you want to discuss it.
people the easiest way to break the ice is
by playing a name game such as:                For games that will utilise the space in
                                               libraries you can play Charades, only
The ball game using a balI around a            using books, or Concentration using
circle, the person with the balI says their    different genres. For the more ambitious
name first and then the name of the            libraries there are word and book hunts
person the ball is going to before they        where participants are given clues or titles
throw it to them.                              of books and then search for them in the

For more stationary games you can play         library! )Then we moved on to alliteration;
Chinese whispers with different groups in      the thrower (for example) said ‘wild’ and
order to make up a story between them.         the catcher “wombats”. Then the thrower
You can also use games such as                 said a line (e.g. there was a frog) and the
Pictionary, Taboo and Trivial Pursuit.         catcher has to say a line which rhymed
These all involve an element of reading        (who ate a dog). This last one has a
and could be changed to include more           tendency to go a little off track as you
topics around books.                           might imagine (there was a duck who had
                                               a.... and so on!) All the others worked
Tip: It is a good idea to look out for the     really well though.
latest book crazes and plan competitions
and games around them. Look out for            With these ball throwing games it is helpful
anyone else doing the same, e.g. after the     to establish a throwing order at the
success of the film Lord of the Rings          beginning, e.g. you always throw it to the
there was a game workshop which uses           right of the person who threw it to you,
characters from The Fellowship of the          ensuring that everyone is equally included.
Rings. It is played in small groups and        This takes a little effort to establish but
encourages young people to talk about the      getting it wrong can be fun and in the end
books as well as read them.                    it's worth it.

25 words or less                               Consequences

A game to show the importance of brevity       Each person was given a piece of paper
and to widen reading. Each young person        and then wrote a sentence at the top.
involved has to write an enticing              They then folded the paper to hide what
description of his or her favourite book       they had written and passed it to their
onto large postcards. No title or author       right, this person also wrote a line hid it
must be mentioned in the description.          and passed it on and so on until the paper
Each description is placed on the              was full. Then we all opened the piece of
wall/poster board of the library. The          paper we happened to be holding and
participants must then choose one book         read out the abstract poem written there.
(not their own) from the postcard              This may sound odd but the result is often
descriptions. Once they have chosen they       hilarious, sometimes beautiful. (Best to
are given the book. They have to read the      state at the beginning that no personal
book before the next meeting when they         comments about others in the circle are
can compare their own response to the          allowed!)
book with the original advocate's.

Virtual games                                  Other suggested activities

Remember games and competitions do             Help choose books for the library
not always have to be on paper. There is a
steady increase of young people using          Recommend books to each other
mobile phones and the internet, so games
that use email and text messaging (short       Do you agree or disagree with what
messaging system(SMS)) are another             Amazon says about books ?
accessible way to get young people talking
about books.                                   Balloon debate

An idea could be to describe a book or a       Read/discuss books that have been
character and condense it into text form,      banned.        More         info     here:
then using a text messaging facility on the
internet, send each message to one phone       ek/bannedbooksweek.htm
per group and see which group gets it first.
                                               Non-fiction/music/film reviews
These are games from one of the other
Croydon TRG's:                                 Discuss most hated books and why they
                                               are disliked by group members
Ball Game
We did a language game in a circle
throwing a ball; the person throwing the                        *
ball said a colour (e.g. green) and the        What does the Mummy do when he goes
person catching had to say an object that      to the library?
was the colour (e.g. frog) . Next round the
thrower said any adjective (e.g. amazing)      He gets all wrapped up in a good book.
and the catcher had to say a noun (e.g.
Manga News                                         CSN News

Avalon High (2): Coronation                        A new briefing by Phil Jones has been
                                                   published on the CSN website.           This
Fans of Meg Cabot’s Arthurian novel,               briefing discusses the third report from the
‘Avalon High’ will be pleased to discover          policy review of children and young people
that her work has been adapted and                 which was set up to inform the 2007
continued into manga format (albeit                Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).
Western-style) and published by none               It considers how the Government can help
other than the mighty Tokyopop.                    all young people, particularly those in
                                                   deprived areas, to take part in enjoyable
A self-confessed comic-book geek, Cabot            and purposeful activities in their free time
actually graduated with a BA in Fine Arts          which can help them develop new
and originally worked as a free-lance              skills and raise their aspirations. The
illustrator before turning to writing. Here        report focuses on a strategy to
she uses both her literary and creative            transform     leisure-time     opportunities,
skills, together with popular artist Jinky         activities and support services foryoung
Coronado (Banzai Girl), to create an               people in England over the next ten years.
unusual approach to graphic novelisation.
                                                   More of this briefing at:
‘ #1 The Merlin Prophecy’ is the first book
in a three-part sequel to the original novel,      detail.jsp?&id=1572&md=0&section=briefi
which, with its focus on romantic fantasy,         ng
seems to adapt easily into this popular
style. All of the familiar characters from the                          *
original novel are present and although it
has received some mixed reviews (no                Competitions
doubt objections have been raised by the
‘Manga-Traditionalists’…),       these    new      This month there are two competitions
publications are definitely worth a try and        running side by side – the first is on the
will keep the die-hard Meg Cabot fans very         main page of and
happy indeed.                                      gives you the chance to win one of five
                                                   signed copies of Cassandra Clare's new            novel City of Bones. The second
onhigh2.php                                        competition is to win one of two signed
                                                   copies of Skaters, Trekkies and Cool
                      *                            Dudes by Derek Lawrence.

Websites                                           To win a copy of City of Bones go to the
                                                   main page of Teen Librarian to enter. To (check out links                win a copy of Skaters, Trekkies & Cool
page on this too)                                  Dudes       send     an      e-mail    to
                                          with the                                    title of the book in the subject line.
                                                   Winners will be drawn at random.
                                                   If anyone would like to submit an article or                  idea for inclusion in the newsletter, please
                                                   send it to

    Editor: Matthew Imrie
    Contributors: Liz Rose, Jennifer Price, & Matthew Imrie
    Special thanks to Derek Lawrence for giving up his time to answer the eight questions.

                     Eight Questions with… Derek Lawrence

Q1. What made you decide to write for           there are the characters themselves. Like
Teenagers?                                      a great many people who have read
                                                Skaters, Trekkies & Cool Dudes, I have
Well, with 2 teenage daughters of 18 and        become quite fond of the gargoyle
16 in the house, and a son of 17, I guess it    Embram Ferret Frightener, he is a
was inevitable that I would end up writing      character that seems to grow on you more
for that particular age group. But with the     and more as each chapter passes.
gap between what type of book teenagers
now read, and what adults are reading in        Q5 Do you ever read the works of other
the sci-fi and fantasy field, narrowing each    Teen/YA authors? If yes what can you
year, it has given authors like myself a far    recommend?
broader choice as far as material is
concerned.                                      Yes I do, and there are some excellent
For example, in my early teenage years it       authors out there writing for the teen
was Dan Dare on Radio Luxemburg, and            market. Personally I like the work of Garth
comics such as The Victor, Eagle, or            Nix, Terry Pratchett, GP Taylor, Anthony
American Marvel magazines, but now              Horowitz, and of course the brilliant Eoin
teenagers mature far quicker these days,        Colfer.
and the type of book they now demand
has matured with them.                          Q6 Are any of your novels based on
                                                personal experiences?
Q2. How do you get into the heads of
your characters?                                Boy I hope not! As far as I know, Embram
                                                Ferret Frightener is still just a figment of
Well I’m not sure I would like to get that      my vivid imagination, but the ‘Captains
deep into the head of Embram Ferret             Log’ is based on a Star Trek/Cult TV shop,
Frightener, let alone Archangel Gabriel…        owned and run by a very good friend of
but to answer the question, I just picture      mine during the early 90’s.
them in what ever situation they are in as I
write. Everything comes directly from my        Q7 What are you working on at the
imagination to the keyboard, with a lot of      moment?
cut and paste on the way. I try to picture
the scene as I write, imagining how each        At this point in time, (June 2007), I am part
character will react in any given situation.    way through the early chapters of book
It works for me so I go with the flow.          two in the ‘Divine Cock-Up Trilogy’, which
                                                has been initially entitled ‘Skaters,
Q3 Do you know instinctively what will          Witches & Lost Keys’. Once again we find
appeal to Teens or is it more a hit or          Gabriel and Embram teamed up on a
miss process?                                   mission, but this time it necessitates the
                                                pair travelling back to Worcester in the
The answer to that is simple; I use my own      17th century, in order to rescue a certain
built in teenage critics, and also utilise      friendly witch we met briefly in book one.
their friends as well. I tend to bounce ideas
off them, so if they give an idea a thumbs      Q8 Do you ever do Library visits to
down, I place those on the back boiler. It      Teen Reading Groups? If yes, what is
seems to work, so why change it.                the best way to get into contact with
                                                you or your agent about it?
Q4 What is the most satisfying part of
the writing process for you?                    Funny enough, I have just been asked by
                                                one of our local libraries to do such a visit,
That has to be the story itself, and the        and I’m really looking forward to it. As far
multitude of ways it nudges its way into my     as I’m concerned, the most important
life away from the keyboard. For example,       person to an author’s should be the
I get sudden flashes of inspiration while       reader, the person who buys the book.
out shopping with Tracy my wife. We could       Their views, good or bad, are paramount
be half way down the frozen food section        to improving not only the quality of the
of our local super-market, when an idea         writing, but also the authors ability to
will pop into my head, causing me to stop       produce what people want out of literature.
and smile.                                      As far as getting in touch with me is
Or I will wake up at 3am with an idea for a     concerned? Well you can either contact
future chapter, or an answer to a problem       my              publisher             direct,
I’ve been having with the story line. Then
(, or drop me an e-
mail at


Visit Derek's website and blog here: