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Quick Picks 101

Page history last edited by Joy Millam 10 years, 3 months ago

YALSA'S Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Guide for Nominations


The purpose of this page is to serve as a guide for library professionals who are interested in nominating a title for the Quick Pick list.  Copyright Dates for nomination (2011 list) are from July 1, 2009 - December 31, 2010.


Quick Pick Selection Characteristics 


Quick Pick books are for students who do not like to read therefore the books must grab their attention. Quality of the literature is not a large consideration when looking for appropriate books to nominate. Here are a few characteristics to guide you in your nominations. Big thanks to the great Rollie Welch of Cleveland Public Library for this succinct list of what makes a good Quick Pick book:


  1. The cover will draw them to the book.

  2. After examining the book, they open it.

  3. The beginning sentences and pages encourage them to read more.

  4. They finish the book!

  5. They share it with their friends. 


Notes on the Appearance/Cover:

  • The cover should attract readers to it.

  • Nonfiction should be very visual in nature.

  • Opening is enticing, within the first 10 pages something happens to make them want to read and/or know more.

  • Book should be shorter in length (150 pages or so), otherwise it might be overwhelming.

    • Notable exceptions: Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer,  and Ellen Hopkins' novels in verse such as Glass and Impulse

  • The book should be relatable to the teen world and what is at the moment, "hot."


Here are some great examples of good Quick Pick nominations from the past with appealing covers



Here are some examples of covers that do not appeal to reluctant readers:



These books with less than compelling covers are pretty good books, but the cover is the thing with the reluctant readers. This is not a statement of quality against any of these books.  In fact, Poison Ivy, is a great book that would have been a great pick for the committee, but with the bad cover it just wouldn't leave in the hands of RR's. Some of these books are being considered by Best Books for Young Adults; it is definitely not a quality issue.

Quality is not a huge consideration in the Quick Pick realm. Our ultimate goal is to get kids reading; they may start with something like PostSecret by Frank Warren, a gateway book, and move on to books with more text.  For some kids, just the act of holding a book is a foreign activity-- these "gateway" books will get them used to the act of holding a book and reading.


What's Hot

Right now, what is hot in teen lit is more urban in nature. Things that look rural or unsophisticated just don't move with the RR's. Look for some of the following titles and watch them go with your Reluctant Readers.






All images are courtesy of BarnesandNoble.com.


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