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Book Club for Kids is a podcast where middle school readers discuss the books they love with host Kitty Felde. The author answers questions. A celebrity reads from the book.

Tips for Creating Lifelong Readers

Tip #64: Create a Fad

Kitty Felde

Tuck Everlasting readers

For me, it was white lipstick. Everybody in 8th grade was either wearing it or talking about it and I had to have it. Oh, sure, it made you look half-dead. Call it early Goth. It was a fad.

Kate Funderburk says reading fads can turn an ordinary book into the “must have” accessory of the school year. Kate is the librarian at Codman Academy Charter School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She says all you have to do is think back to the “Harry Potter” mania that spread through schools around the world. Kate says she sees a similar demand surge for anything by Raina Telgemeier. “You get one kid to read a book,” she says, “and get excited about it and start talking about it, and all of a sudden your whole class wants to read it.”

And then there’s “Eloise.”         

The 1955 picture book by Kay Thompson and illustrator Hilary Knight was one of Kate’s favorites when she was a kid. After reading it to a group of third graders, Kate says it suddenly became “the” book of the year. For some reason, Kate says, the kids were fascinated and horrified by the tale of the sassy little girl who lived at the Plaza Hotel – though not for the reasons you’d think. “Does she have a phone?” the kids would ask. Kate says she had to explain the ancient technology known as a land line. The kids were particularly shocked that the nanny was smoking cigars indoors. Kate explained that back in the dark ages, people didn’t know much about the dangers of smoking. “Well, did they do it in cars?” they asked and on and on. Kate couldn’t keep the book on the shelves. She says any book can start a fad, particularly if it’s “kind of wacky and fun and you push it the right way.”

Here’s a wonderful blog post about “Eloise.”

Of course, if "Eloise" doesn’t work, maybe you can find your own fad book. Or perhaps this new generation would be fascinated and horrified by that white lipstick you still have in the back of your makeup drawer…

Did you see this article about kids and reading? It’s full of statistics that we already instinctively knew: that one in three teens do not read for pleasure. But 82% percent of high school seniors do find the time to check out Facebook, Twitter and Instagram every day. It’s why we’re all trying to instill the habit of reading for pleasure early in life. If you have suggestions or tips about how to get a kid to pick up a book, please share it with us.