What Can We Learn from Support Teen Lit Day?

Kara Powell | Apr 12, 2012

Regardless of whether you think The Hunger Games is abysmal or a triumph, there’s one thing that can’t be denied: teenagers are reading that series.

Today, on the U.S. Support Teen Lit Day, it’s interesting to note the following data about teen/young adult books recently:

Childrens/Young Adult physical format (aka print format) hardcover and paperback both saw strong double-digit growth (68.9% and 61.9% respectively) over the same period last year. Thats an impressive growth in sales, partly due to the crazy popularity of The Hunger Games and other book series such as Percy Jackson & the Olympians and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Most shocking? Ebook sales. According to the AAPs first monthly data on Childrens/YA eBooks, sales showed a massive +475.1% increase from 2011 to 2012.

It’s interesting to me that powerful stories seem to be capturing young people. Having read The Hunger Games myself, I did find it a page-turner (I read it in less than 24 hours).

This week in my Youth Ministry Communication class at Fuller, Michael Novelli joined the class via video conference. Michael is a very sharp, innovative thinker who’s written a number of books related to the power of storying.

As Michael shared, I could tell that my class of youth leaders was riveted by the recognition that much of Scripture is story (according to Michael, over 70% of the Bible is narrative) and yet we tend to teach in propositions, not narratives. So in Michael’s own youth ministry experience, he’s inviting students to really step into Bible stories with him. In particular, he uses four basic questions in a typical lesson (which in many ways remind me of Lectio Divina):

1. What stories have we told so far? (this is a review of previous lessons)

Then he introduces a new story and discusses with the students:

2. What if you were there in the story?

3. What stood out to you from the story?

4. How is this OUR story?

I cheer that more students are reading these days than previous years. And I’m so glad we have the chance to invite students to experience the ultimate story that can transform their own stories.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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