If you're in education and if you're paying even the least bit of attention to the kids walking your halls, surely you know Stephenie Meyer and the Twilight Saga. The books, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn (my favorite of the four), are only the hottest set of titles since Harry Potter and most teenage girls either have read or are reading this series at breakneck speed. It seems like kids in every middle and high school in America are hooked on Twilight, especially the girls. Why wouldn't they be? Quirky Bella and Adonis-like Edward, who happens to be a vampire, are star-crossed wanna-be-lovers dealing with trivial things like parents, peers and evil vampires out to destroy everything they hold dear. When is the last time you saw teenagers devour 2,000-plus pages like reading had just been added to the "things that are now cool to do" list?
OK, so the books are teen lit. Before you dismiss them as merely the latest fad, however, let me give you some reasons why you, as an educational leader, should read these books. Seriously, you must read at least the first book if not all four. Why? Let me explain why every educational leader must read the Twilight Saga.
First, you should know what kids are into these days. Kids, especially girls, are into Twilight like nothing I've ever seen. What's all the fuss? Read them and find out.
Second, you know those girls in your school who don't really fit in with any of the cool kids, that march to their own drummer, that are quirky? You know the ones. When is the last time you felt at ease striking up a conversation with them about something they are interested in? Here's a secret for you. They've all read these books and they'd love to talk about them with you. Just ask them, "Which book is better, Twilight or Breaking Dawn?" Or, ask them, "What is the deal with Jacob?" Or, ask them, "Why would Bella be willing to give up being human to live forever with a vampire?" Instant conversation starter. Truth be told, most of the middle and high school girls, quirky nerds and popular cheerleaders, have read these books. If you want to get to know your kids and build relationships with them, meet them where they are and go from there.
Third, if you know a teenager (particularly a girl) who just really isn't into reading, say, "I know just the book for you. Try reading Twilight and let me know in a week what you think." This works. 100% guaranteed. I've recommended these books to a few kids, all of whom have read the entire series. Remember, these were non-readers. Girls like the books better than boys like them but I have known some guys who have read all four books, too.
Finally, when people start talking about adding the series to your school's library, you need to know the content so you can have an educated discussion and make an educated decision. In my library, I added the set to our holdings at the beginning of the school year and we can't keep them on the shelves. I've even known a student who bought the books, read them, then donated them to our library so her friends wouldn't have to wait to read them after the buzz dies down. How great is that?
"Nonsense," you say? "This junk isn't Joyce or Faulkner or Hemingway," you say? Again, I say, when is the last time you saw a teenager read over 2,000 pages and then get bummed when the reading is done? I see it all the time and I know why they're bummed... I've read them. You should, too.