YALSA, readergirlz and Guys Lit Wire celebrate Support Teen Lit Day by distributing books to U.S. pediatric hospitals

Contact: Stephanie Kuenn
YALSA Communications Specialist
(312) 280-2128
skuenn@ala.org

NEWS
For Immediate Release
March 31, 2009

CHICAGO Teen patients in pediatric hospitals across the United States will receive more than 8,000 young adult novels, audiobooks and graphic novels next month as readergirlz, Guys Lit Wire and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, celebrate the third annual Support Teen Lit Day on April 16.

In its second year, Operation TBD (Teen Book Drop), puts books donated by 18 book publishers into the hands of many teens in need of escape, inspiration and a sense of personal accomplishment. Books with exceptional characters and fabulous stories can provide just that for teens and their families dealing with difficult, long-term hospital stays.

At a time when philanthropic giving is down, readergirlz co-founders have been inspired by overwhelming industry support for Operation TBD. “readergirlz is always looking for innovative ways to connect teens with literature, “ said Dia Calhoun, co-founder of readergirlz and acclaimed young adult author. “We’re honored that publishers have supported this goal by giving so liberally this year.”

Operation TBD also aims to encourage all teens to choose reading for pleasure as a leisure activity, over other entertainment options. Inciting the broader teen community to participate in Operation TBD in its drive to spur reading on a national scale, readergirlz has launched a trailer on YouTube ( http://www.youtube.com/readergirlz) inviting teens and YA authors to leave a book in a public place on April 16. When visiting www.readergirlz.com, participants can download bookplates to insert into the books they will leave behind, which explain the surprise to the recipient and tell them to read and enjoy.

“This event is such a special one, because it not only raises awareness about teen literature, but it also truly helps those teens most in need. Teens facing illnesses will be able to find an age- appropriate new book to read while in the hospital — teen books matter and not just any old book will do,” said Sarah Cornish Debraski, YALSA president. “Our thanks to the publishers, readergirlz and Guys Lit Wire. It’s wonderful to unite with these organizations to forward this cause.”

Participating book publishers who have donated books or audiobooks include Abrams Books, Bloomsbury/Walker Books, Candlewick Press, Full Cast Audio, Hachette Book Group, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hyperion, Milkweed, Mirrorstone Books, Orca Book Publishers, Peachtree Books, Perseus Book Group/Running Press, Random House, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, Soft Skull Press & Red Rattle Books, TOKYOPOP and Tor/Forge/Starscape/Tor Teen.

“Putting the right book into the hands of a teen can turn that teen into a reader for life, “ said Suzanne Murphy, vice president and group publisher, Scholastic Trade Book Publishing. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to help Operation TBD show teens firsthand just how much fun reading can be.”

Pediatric hospitals that have signed up to receive books include Phoenix Children's Hospital (Phoenix, Ariz.), Rady's Children's Hospital (San Diego, Calif.), Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Children's Hospital and Research Center (Oakland, Calif.), All Children's Hospital (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Children's Memorial Hospital (Chicago), UM C.S. Mott Children's Hospital (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics (Kansas City, Mo.), The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Children's Medical Center in Dallas, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital & Health Center (Tacoma, Wash.) and Seattle Children's Hospital.
“Our teen patients here at Seattle Children’s loved the books donated through the Operation Teen Book Drop last year,” said Kim Korte, Child Life Manager, Seattle Children’s Hospital. “Books are a wonderful avenue for our patients to be distracted from the pain and stress of hospitalization. We are always in need of books and greatly appreciate the generosity of the publishers who donated.”

Everyone who participates in Operation TBD is invited to celebrate at the TBD Post-Op Party at 6 p.m. PDT on April 16 on the readergirlz blog: http://readergirlz.blogspot.com.

About Support Teen Literature Day
For the third consecutive year, YALSA’s Support Teen Literature Day will be celebrated April 16 in conjunction with ALA’s National Library Week. Librarians all across the country are encouraged to participate in Support Teen Literature Day by hosting events in their library. The purpose of this celebration is to raise awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens. Support Teen Literature Day also seeks to showcase award-winning authors and books in the genre as well as highlight librarians’ expertise in connecting teens with books and other reading materials. YALSA also offers tips for serving sick or homebound teens at the YALSA Support Teen Literature Day Wiki, http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/Support_Teen_Literature_Day#Operation_Teen_Book_Drop.

About YALSA
For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audiobooks for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, visit www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or email, yalsa@ala.org.

About readergirlz
readergirlz is the foremost online book community for teen girls, led by five critically acclaimed YA authors—Dia Calhoun (“Avielle of Rhia”), Holly Cupala (“A Light That Never Goes Out”) Lorie Ann Grover (“Hold Me Tight”), Justina Chen Headley (“North of Beautiful”), and Melissa Walker (the Violet series). readergirlz is the recipient of a 2007 James Patterson PageTurner Award.

To promote teen literacy and leadership in girls, readergirlz features a different YA novel and corresponding community service project every month. For more information about readergirlz, please visit www.readergirlz.com and http://readergirlz.blogspot.com, or contact divas@readergirlz.com.

About Guys Lit Wire
Guys Lit Wire brings literary news and reviews to the attention of teenage boys and the people who care about them. Working to combat the perception that teen boys aren’t as well read as teen girls, the organization seeks out literature uniquely targeted toward teen male readers in hopes of bringing attention of good books to guys who might have missed them.