Dr. Val Keiper, Family Life program director and long-time Elementary Education professor at Concordia, has charged his students with sharing their reading recommendations for youth.

Hello, and welcome to the first edition of “Oh, for Keip’s sake,” a blog series dedicated to the sharing of books with people who care—books that are especially for people who work with adolescent readers. And maybe even a few adolescent readers as well.

I’m Dr. Val Keiper, and I serve as the program director of CUW’s Family Life master’s program and a professor in the Elementary Education Department. Throughout my years (and years and years!) of teaching, I have observed that reading has all too often become one of those things that adolescents “have” to, rather than “get” to do. And often, when we tell them they “have to,” readers of a certain age shut down. 

Which is a problem because, first off, reading IS genuinely fun! Not only that, we know that it is one of the single most important contributor’s to a young person’s academic growth. One of my personal passions is connecting with my (adult) students about their favorite adolescent reads. My classroom at Concordia has a floor-to-ceiling wall of shelves filled with YA books, and I love striking up conversations with students about some of their favorites.

Sometimes all it takes is a little positive peer pressure. Excitement is contagious, and I try to show my excitement for reading as often as possible. So for my Adolescent Literature course this year, I’ve charged my students with sharing their excitement for reading beyond the walls of Concordia.

So…here goes: books for you, shared by my adolescent students, in no particular order.

Want in?

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