The Alex Project
The American Library Association (ALA) says: "The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year's publishing. The Alex Awards were first given annually beginning in 1998 and became an official ALA award in 2002." You can learn more on ALA's Alex Awards page.
Karol Sacca, our former Parachute Branch Manager, took this idea and ran with it. The result? The Alex Project.
The Alex Project is designed to build connections in our community using the power of a great read. Very simply, the project pairs a teen with an adult from the community. Each member of the partnership reads an Alex Award-winning title on their own and compares opinions when they meet, about a month later, at the Alex Project Celebration. For information on when the Alex Project is coming to your library, contact your local branch.
We hope you will find the experience of sharing a book to be rewarding. There are no real rules, however, here are a few guidelines on how it works and some tips to make this a successful experience for everyone involved.
1. Sign up for the Alex Project at your local library. By signing up, you are agreeing to read one book with a partner. Interaction between partners is only via email (until the celebration, that is! read on...) and the only personal information that we will release to your partner is your name and email address. Afterward you may sign up for another round or drop out. When you sign up, you'll indicate your top 3 Alex Award-winning titles (see eligible titles below). We attempt to match everyone with their top choice!
Remember, these books were published as adult books and contain adult themes and language. They were selected because they cross over in popularity to young adults.
2. When a partner match is made, you will be notified by email or phone. The book will be ready for you to pick up at the library, along with your partner's name and email.
Tip: Make contact! It's a good idea to send a quick email to your partner to make sure the email address works. Providing a brief introduction of yourself and perhaps why you chose the books you did is appropriate.
3. About a month later, come to the library for an Alex Project celebration! This is where you'll meet your partner, rate your book, share your thoughts with the group, hear about the books that other teams read, and sign up for another round, if you so desire.
4. We each have different schedules and read at different speeds. To accommodate this, it becomes critical that you and your partner agree on how and when you want to communicate, regarding the book. Some pairs like to communicate often, while others want to wait until the celebration meeting to share comments. Again, there are no rules - just decide what works best for your team.
Tip: If you and your partner are communicating by email, put the chapter(s) related to your comments in the Subject line. This way, the recipient does not open the email until they have read the chapter(s) in question. We don't want any "spoilers"!
The most important part of the Alex Project is YOU! Enjoy this opportunity to connect and explore different perspectives (and read a good book while you're at it).
Below is a list of the 2012 Alex Award Winners and a selection of past Alex Award winners to choose from, organized below by genre: Fiction ~ Non-fiction ~ Biography/Memoir. The Parachute Branch Library will be including several classic books as part of their Alex Project.
Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin
In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard
The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Robopocalypse: A Novel by Daniel H. Wilson
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston
The Talk-Funny Girl by Roland Merullo
As Simple As Snow by Gregory Galloway (2006 Alex Award)
At All Costs by John Gilstrap (1999 Alex Award)
Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff (2008 Alex Award)
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (2007 Alex Award)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (2004 Alex Award)
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (2001 Alex Award)
Donorboy by Brendan Halpin (2005 Alex Award)
Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card (2000 Alex Award)
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (2011 Alex Award)
Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (2001 Alex Award)
The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle (2008 Alex Award)
The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni (2011 Alex Award)
Imani All Mine by Connie Porter (2000 Alex Award)
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2004 Alex Award)
Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger (1999 Alex Award)
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (2011 Alex Award)
My Jim by Nancy Rawles (2006 Alex Award)
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (2005 Alex Award)
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel by Aimee Bender (2011 Alex Award)
Peace Like A River by Leif Enger (2002 Alex Award)
Plainsong by Kent Haruf (2000 Alex Award)
River, Cross My Heart by Breena Clarke (2000 Alex Award)
Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue (2011 Alex Award)
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz (2008 Alex Award)
Stardust by Neil Gaiman (2000 Alex Award)
Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon (2006 Alex Award)
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden: A Novel by Helen Grant (2011 Alex Award)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (2007 Alex Award)
What Girls Learn by Karin Cook (1998 Alex Award)
The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig (2007 Alex Award)
The Work of Wolves by Kent Meyers (2005 Alex Award)
To Say Nothing of the Dog; or, How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis (1998 Alex Award)
Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks (2002 Alex Award)
Eagle Blue: A Team, A Tribe, and A High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska by Michael D'Orso (2007 Alex Award)
The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander (1999 Alex Award)
Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley and Ron Powers (2001 Alex Award)
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in Boom-Time America by Barbara Ehrenreich (2002 Alex Award)
Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson (2005 Alex Award)
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (2004 Alex Award)
All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg (1998 Alex Award)
Almost a Woman by Esmeralda Santiago (1999 Alex Award)
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis (2007 Alex Award)
Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray (2011 Alex Award)
Counting Coup: A True Story of Basketball and Honor on the Little Big Horn by Larry Colton (2001 Alex Award)
Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year by Esmé Raji Codell (2000 Alex Award)
The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (2006 Alex Award)
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer (1998 Alex Award)
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (2008 Alex Award)
Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer by Lynn Cox (2005 Alex Award)
True Notebooks: A Writer's Year at Juvenile Hall by Mark Salzman (2004 Alex Award)
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Thanks to a generous donation from Spring Board, The Alex Project is expanding to all Garfield County Library this summer.