Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Boot Camp 2013-2014

I'm continually inspired by my PLN. This idea is a direct result of the amazing librarians and teachers I follow. After reading this article about Teen Lit Boot Camp classes, taking part in the Shelf Challenge and following along with Donalyn Miller's Book Gap challenge, these three ideas morphed in my head to become the Middle Grade Book Boot Camp.


The Book Boot Camp is a combination of a book club and middle grade literature class. From July 2013 to May 2014 (with a December hiatus) participants will explore ten different book genres, one per month. We will read at least one book from a preselected genre list. Discussions will be held on Twitter using the hashtag #bookbootcamp on the last Monday of the month. We will share core titles in that genre for middle school, new titles, resources for the genre and ideas for promoting those titles.

Middle school collection development can be a real challenge. We want books that will interest and captivate our students, but it is difficult to meet that need without getting books that are too mature. As librarians we should be reading a large number of books to stay current and be able to made educated purchasing decisions and reader's advisory. However, I know many librarians need motivation to explore genres they do not personally enjoy. It is our goal for the Book Boot Camp to be that motivator. In addition to the obvious book focus, it is my hope that participants will be able to expand their own PLN through our online discussions.
I pitched the idea to my partners in crime, Kristen and Monique. With those two on board I started asking a few more of my South Carolina middle school librarian standouts to take ownership of one of the genres. I'm lucky to have so many close by.

This is the schedule:
July-Graphic Novels/ Manga with Tamara Cox
August-Mystery/Thrillers with Monique German
September- Historical Fiction with Kristen Hearne
October- Romance with Lorena Swetnam
November- Humor with Jennifer Tazerouti
January- Realistic Fiction with Michal Hope Brandon
February- Horror/Paranormal with Samantha McManus
March-Nonfiction with Tamara Cox
April- Fantasy with Randye Polk May-Science Fiction with Andi Fansher

Not only will librarians be exploring these genres together, but many of us are also adapting this to use with our faculty on a school-wide level. I already have a core group of faculty members in a book club so we will be participating in the book boot camp together next year.
I would love to see an elementary and high school version get started. If you are interested in starting one I will share more details about our planning process with you.

I'm really going to focus on recruiting as many South Carolina librarians as I can, but we welcome any and all that want to participate to join in the discussion. The more participants we have the stronger our list of resources will be.

I will be blogging about it here and will share links to other blog posts as we go through the months. I started a of the #bookbootcamp hashtag if you would like to subscribe here and a of the resources here. The hashtag isn't very active yet, but it will be.

In preparation for my July full of graphic novels and manga, I've been putting lots of links in the and getting the reading list ready. I've noticed there are lots of novels being converted to graphic novels. Here are a few of the most popular series in my library.
If you have any input or resources about graphic novels and manga, I would love to hear about it. I hope you'll join us for the Book Boot Camp this year. Mark your calendars and I'll be sharing more about it as it draws near. If you decide to host one at your own at school, please let me know if I can help.


  1. The pressure is on now! I think this will be so much fun! Thanks for keeping us on our toes!

    1. I'm really looking forward to getting started.

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  3. I'm excited about this! Now I can justify reading romances and chick lit for research purposes.

  4. I'm really looking forward to this. I'm a middle school teacher librarian but tend to read more YA, so this will help me focus. Thank you!

    1. I'm the same way. Some middle grade seems so babyish to me.

  5. Can high school librarians participate too? We certainly have lots of students who enjoy books designed for middle school.