Forming Reading Habits Early: Young Readers' Books in the SDHC Lending Library

Book Clubs: Not Just for Adults

By Ashley Kosters
SDHC Intern

Editor's Note: This is the third post from our five-part series highlighting selections from the South Dakota Humanities Council Lending Library, which features books in a variety of genres for book clubs and other groups.

Did you know that book clubs aren't just for adults? The South Dakota Humanities Council's Reading Group Toolkits program also offers options for young audiences, who can now read and discuss books with an SDHC scholar.

This is a chance for schools, libraries, after-school programs, and youth book clubs to expand the literary horizons of the young readers in their programs.

Reading is a Learning Experience

Literature for young readers today takes on a wide range of genres, topics and literary forms. These books offer more than a means of entertainment; whether they are nonfiction or fiction, these stories offer learning experiences for their readers.

Literature's ability to engage its audience and offer them relatable characters is exceptionally important in the early years, when young people are trying to figure out who they are as individuals. Continually introducing young audiences to new literature also allows them to search for similar titles or genres with which they can connect.

Adventures on Deckawoo Drive was featured as the 2017 Young Readers One Book South Dakota. Illustrator Chris Van Dusen spoke about his work on the project as a featured presenter at the 2017 South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood.

"Adventures on Deckawoo Drive" was featured as the 2017 Young Readers One Book South Dakota. Illustrator Chris Van Dusen spoke about his work on the project as a featured presenter at the 2017 South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood.

The South Dakota Humanities Council, realizing the importance of helping young people develop enthusiasm for reading, started a Young Readers Initiative and Young Readers Festival of Books in 2014.

The initiative has provided more than 12,000 age-appropriate books to elementary students and brought their authors, including Newbery Medal-winning author Kate DiCamillo, to the Young Readers Festival of Books.

Read more about the initiative by clicking the link below.

Reading Group Toolkit Books for Young Readers

"Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him." – Maya Angelou

We encourage you to check out the numerous selections in our lending library that might catch the eye of the young reader in your life (in addition to bringing them to our annual Young Readers Festival of Books, held alternatively in Brookings and Deadwood every September).

SDHC's Reading Group Toolkits include many options for young readers, including the 2017 Young Readers One Book, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen (pictured to the right signing autographs at the 2017 Young Readers Festival of Books).

Here are a few samples from our library for different grade levels.

  • "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie
    (grades 7-10)
  • "Adventures of Deckawoo Drive: Volumes 1, 2 & 3" by Kate DiCamillo (ill. Chris Van Dusen)
    (grades 1-4)
  • "Andy Shane and Delores Starbuckle: 4 Books in 1" by Jennifer Richard Jacobsen
    (grades k-3)
  • "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" by Kate DiCamillo
    (grades 2-5)
  • "The Raccoon and the Bee Tree" by Charles A. Eastman and Elaine Goodale Eastman
    (grades preschool-2)
  • "Stink – Twice as Incredible" by Megan McDonald
    (grades 1-4)
Young Readers illustrator Chris Van Dusen signs autographs at the 2017 South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood.


Young Readers Title Spotlight: 'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian'

Young Readers Title Spotlight: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Sherman Alexie holds up a copy of the Festival Guide at the 2012 South Dakota Festival of Books. Alexie was featured at a Festival kickoff event in Brookings prior to the Sioux Falls event.

Bestselling author Sherman Alexie, who was featured as an author at the 2012 South Dakota Festival of Books, tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation, in his National Book Award-winning novel "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian."

Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the reservation to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, beautifully written, and based on the author's own experiences, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

Sherman Alexie's

Explore the SDHC Lending Library

With a diverse selection of literature, the South Dakota Humanities Council offers a packaged reading program for book clubs or other interested groups. Whether the events are organized by individuals or by organizations, the Reading Group Toolkit provides up to 30 copies of any title from the council's lending library and an SDHC scholar, if desired, to lead a book discussion.

For a $50 application fee, the group gains access to any of the council's 70-plus titles.

For more information on the application and requirements, visit the link below. Or browse the SDHC Lending Library directly.