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Put some thought into your summer: Read a book

May 28, 2002|BY KATE COLEMAN

Books are not dead.

Words on a page that evoke and provoke still engage readers.

Kids are reading for pleasure, says Donna Parks, head of children's services at Washington County Free Library.

And they are reading a wide variety of books.

Graphic novels - sort of a long comic-book are popular, especially "Pedro and Me," the story of the friendship between Pedro Zamora, the HIV-positive AIDS educator, and his MTV "The Real World" roommate, cartoonist Judd Winick.

"Teenagers especially seem to like poetry," Parks says.

Science fiction and fantasy are popular, as are nonfiction books - including books on sharks and Muhammad Ali.

Other books frequently checked out include "Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul III," "The Teen's Vegetarian Cookbook" and "High School Survival."

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For about a year the library has had a Teen Advisory Board - of more than a dozen members - that meets twice a month at the S. Potomac Street central library. The teens recommend books, CDs and magazines for their age group. They help create, plan and carry out programs, which have so far included opportunities for teens to share artwork, poetry, music and dance.

Here are some advisory board teens and their recommendations for reading:

Amanda Collis, 16: "The Silver Kiss," by Annette Curtis Klause; "Counterfeit Son," by Elaine Alphin

Luisa Romero, 15: "The Outsiders," by S.E. Hinton

Amy Ballard, 15: "Amy and Isabelle," by Elizabeth Strout; "Harley: Like a Person," by Cat Bauer

"I read a large mix of things," says Francis Byrne, who will be 16 tomorrow. Francis, a sophomore at Clear Spring High School, has been reading some books recommended on a Mercersburg Academy list, where he'll be going to school next year.

He recently read Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird."

"I thought it was really good," he says. He admires protagonist Atticus Finch "quietly standing by his morals."

For sheer entertainment, Francis recently turned to "Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Battle of Betazed," by Charlotte Douglas, Susan Kearney.

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