Young Readers Center

In the Young Readers Center, children, teens, and their families are invited to read together and to participate in hands-on activities related to the Library of Congress and its collections.

Young Readers Center Teen Board 2019—2020

Our Mission

Teen Board members act as ambassadors from their schools and respective communities to the Library, and also help connect the Library of their schools and larger education community. They learn first-hand about the resources and departments of the Library of Congress, and in turn advise the Library on teen related issues including collection-building, social media, and how to heighten the awareness of Library resources and opportunities for teens.

Who We Are

Four local schools are participating in this year’s program: Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts, Stuart Hobson Middle School, Dunbar High School, and Roosevelt High School.

October 10th Meeting: Introductions, Tour and Books

This was our first meeting of the 2019-2020 school year. Students from Stuart Hobson Middle School, Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism, and Roosevelt High School attended the meeting along with their school advisors. After a quick moment of introductions, the students had a very special tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building, conducted by Kahîn Mohammad, Head of Professional Visitor Programs at the LOC. The tour was a wonderful chance for both returning and new students to understand and appreciate the history of this building. Students were able both to see parts of the building open to tourists and dignitaries, plus have a glance at some behind the scenes areas. As these students are considered ambassadors back to their home schools and communities, this gave them a wonderful introduction to the LOC. Following the tour, students and staff talked teen books, and learned about how their reading of teen books, in advance of their publication date, would be helpful to the Young Readers Staff, as they consolidate and enhance their collection.

November 14: Insider Look at the recently opened LOC Exhibition: Comic Art

Graphic novels, comics, both in print and online, are favorites with the teens. So it was a special and exciting time to view Comic Art: 120 Years of Panels and Pages. The tour was led by Megan Halsband, a curator of the exhibition and a librarian in the Serial and Government Publications Division, and Betsy Nahum-Miller, the exhibition director. Teens enjoyed seeing this chronological display of comics starting with the subject matter of “yellow journalism” and progressing through such known and loved comics as Gasoline Alley, Peanuts, to comics depicting more recent events such as 9/11. Of course, the original Final Four and Superman comics were a big hit with the teens. Equally interesting was the discussion of collection development including purchasing and preserving. The teens left the exhibit ready to spread the word to family and friends.

Looking Ahead

Teen Board has exciting plans for the rest of the school year. In January, they will learn about the Library’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and gather insight into the Library’s innovations in sharing its collections online. Looking ahead, the Teen Board members will engage with staff working in various divisions within the Library. Stay tuned to learn more about Teen Board’s learning experiences!

Library of Congress Teen Board Book Reviews—December 2019

A Place at the TableA Place at the Table
by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan. Clarion Books, May 12, 2020.
Reviewed by Autumn, Stuart Hobson Middle School.

A timely, accessible, and beautifully written story exploring themes of food, friendship, family and what it means to belong, featuring sixth graders Sara, a Pakistani American, and Elizabeth, a white, Jewish girl taking a South Asian cooking class taught by Sara’s mom.

Autumn’s review: “This story shows that it is fine to be different and to be yourself and not change yourself for anyone else. I enjoyed the different points of view that show the different characters’ feelings. Not just one character’s point of view. One of my favorite parts is the last lessons of the cooking club before the International Festival when they come to Sara’s house. A part I liked, but made me feel bad was when Maddy was being friendly to Sara, but when they went to the Mall, she became racist toward Sara. I did enjoy the friendship of Sara and Rabia, even after they went to different schools. Also, how David made a homemade ice-cream maker by using Justin’s bike and other supplies.

This book made me think about that not everyone is from America and people are different and it’s fine to be who [you are].”

Maya and the Rising DarkMaya and the Rising Dark
by Rena Barron. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 5, 2020.
Reviewed by Aidan, Stuart Hobson Middle School.

In this highly anticipated contemporary fantasy, twelve-year-old Maya’s search for her missing father puts her at the center of a battle between our world, the Orishas, and the mysterious and sinister Dark world. Perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and The Serpent’s Secret.

Aidan’s review: “This book has your heart pounding and you feeling super scared for the characters. It was a very suspenseful book. Overall it was a great read.”

You Call This Democracy? How to Fix Our Government and Deliver Power to the PeopleYou Call This Democracy? How to Fix Our Government and Deliver Power to the People
by Elizabeth Rusch. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 21, 2020.
Reviewed by Aidan, Stuart Hobson Middle School.

America is the greatest democracy in the world…isn’t it? Author Elizabeth Rusch examines some of the more problematic aspects of our government but, more importantly, offers ways for young people to fix them.

Aidan’s Review: “I liked the book because it is written well for all ages. This book really surprised me with the information in it. I was particularly interested in chapter 4, which is about lowering the voting age to 16, This would allow me to vote in the 2024 election. A bit of criticism: Most solutions for the problems presented in the book cannot be done in DC. I loved how the information was some times put in charts. I also liked how the important info was written in bigger text. Overall, I loved the book and learned a lot from it.

I would [recommend it] because it has stuff that will soon affect or is already affecting people of my age.”

The Gilded WolvesThe Gilded Wolves
by Roshani Chokshi. Wednesday Books, January 15, 2020.
Reviewed by Aidan, Stuart Hobson Middle School.

From New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi comes The Gilded Wolves, a novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change—one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires…

Aidan’s review: “This is a rich story full of diverse characters. While I was reading it I really felt like I was watching everything through the characters’ eyes. I loved how diverse the characters were, they all came from different backgrounds and had different interests. A bit of criticism I have for this book is sometimes it does not have enough detail. Over all, I thought it was a great story and I recommend it to others who like adventure.

I would [recommending this book] because it is a book where almost anyone can relate to at one of the characters. Characters are so diverse.”

WildfireWildfire: A Novel
by Roman Philbrick. Scholastic, September 2019.
Reviewed by William, Stuart Hobson Middle School.

Newbery Honor author Rodman Philbrick sends readers straight into the nightmare of a raging wildfire as 12-year-old Sam is trapped by explosive flames and deadly smoke that threaten to take his life. Can he survive?

William’s review: “This book was very exciting and interesting. It always had me thinking about what is going to happen next. The author did a great job of explaining what it was like to be in the fire. My favorite part of the book was when he found the Jeep. I liked how the author’s attention to detail at this point, especially the main character’s joy about finding it. I think this book has a great concept and is very interesting to read. Especially with all the news from California on wild fires.

[I would recommend it]. The author does a great job of describing what the fire was like, while making it fun and exciting.”

Pretty RevengePretty Revenge
by Emily Liebert. Simon and Schuster, July 2019.
Reviewed by Charles, Richard Wright Public Charter School.

The name of the game is revenge—no matter the cost—in this emotionally charged thriller. Exploring just how far someone will go for vengeance, Pretty Revenge is a riveting, compulsively readable novel bursting with twists and turns and plenty of suspense.

Charles’s review: “The book had an interesting blend of comedy and tragedy. I remember laughing at certain parts early in the book that dealt with the clever wordplay and sharp critique of materialism and the tension in later scenes as the protagonist world slowly unravels. If there was one thing to criticize, I would say the ending, while emotional, was anticlimactic.

[I would recommend this book] because the book is an interesting story that examines the world of upper class New York.”

Lovely WarLovely War
by Julie Berry. Viking, March, 2019.
Reviewed by Taylor, Richard Wright Public Charter School.

Read the novel New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network Kate Quinn called “easily one of the best novels I have read all year!” A critically acclaimed, multi-layered romance set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II, where gods hold the fates—and the hearts—of four mortals in their hands.

Taylor’s review: “This book sent me on an emotional rollercoaster as I was so captivated by the characters and their stories. The author merges two worlds in such a lovely way and describes these romances with so much depth and beauty. Addicting. Definitely reading this again!

This book is written with grace and charm even though it’s set in the midst of WW1 chaos. This perfect mix of [G]reek mythology, romance, humor and tragedy would be perfect for teens and adults alike. Great book. Highly recommended.”

Love and Lies of Rukhsana AliThe Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali
by Sabina Khan. Scholastic, January 2019.
Reviewed by ShaDonna, Richard Wright Public Charter School.

With a welcome mix of humor, heart, and high-stakes drama, Sabina Khan provides a timely and honest portrait of what it’s like to grow up feeling unwelcome in your own culture.

Fight for love. Fight for family. Fight for yourself.

ShaDonna’s Review: “I would recommend this book because it expresses mental refinement, forgiveness, love and adaptation. These are some things this world lacks, so if more people read this book then maybe the reader will take inspiration from this book and learn to lead not follow. In order for the human species to adapt to the modern world and new social norms we have to be mentally evolved and listen to understand instead of respond.”

Young Readers Center Hours

The Young Readers Center is currently closed. To find activities for families from the Library, visit our families page.

Video from the Grand Opening celebrating the Saturday schedule

Young Readers Center
Thomas Jefferson Building
Room LJ G29 (ground floor)
10 First St. S.E.
Washington, DC 20540

The Young Readers Center is currently closed. To find activities for families from the Library, visit our families page.

Interested in volunteering or interning with the Young Readers Center?
Follow these links to find out how you can be a part of our team!