The Best Fiction (about) Young Adults Revolution

Photo by Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press

Photo by Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) awarded Kristen Pelfrey, a teacher at Foothill Technology High School, Ventura, Calif., the 2013 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens. The MAE Award provides $500 to the recipient and $500 to the recipient’s library and is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust.

Pelfrey created a program allowing her students to unplug from their digital lives and engage their imagination using the worlds found in books. The program, titled “The Best Fiction (about) Young Adults Revolution” has a simple goal asking students to read a book from YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Once teens finished their books, they wrote a thank you to the authors for the stories, experiences and worlds.

Students then went on to create posters for the books they read, using the graphic editing program Fireworks. They created text, incorporated imagery and addressed visual design standards. Their final project was to storyboard and create a book trailer for their book using Movie Maker. The students will work in cooperation with the film class, and possibly with the local television station, to promote their trailers. They will also be posted on YouTube and be made available via other student- and school-appropriate channels. This program truly brought together teens’ love for literature and technology.

“I believe that ‘unplugging’ is an essential twenty-first century skill,” explained Pelfrey in her winning application. “My goal is to have a school culture in which the norm is for all students and teachers to have a book for pleasure reading in hand at all times.”

The 2012 YALSA MAE Award Jury members are Mary Haas, chair, George Fox Middle School, Pasadena, Md.; Dawn Abron, Zion-Benton (Ill.) Public Library; Sarah Amazing, Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, Ohio; Laurie Amster-Burton, Seattle World School, Wash.; Priscille Dando, Fairfax County Public Schools, Springfield, Va.; and Chelsea Estes, Springfield-Greene (Mo.) County Library.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has worked to build the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve and empower teens. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail, (Source: YALSA press release Feb. 26, 2013)

Read an interview with Ms. Pefrey from YALSA



Freshmen learn of Angel Potato Revolution

TUESDAY, 09 OCTOBER 2012 18:26

WRITTEN BY MEGAN KEARNEY | The Foothill Dragon Press

Freshman gathered in Spirito Hall Monday morning for the introduction of a new project for all Education in the Digital Age students, the slogan of which is the “Angel Potato Revolution” The goal of this “revolution” is to encourage students to unplug themselves from technology.

Project creators Kristen Pelfrey and Connie Carr are asking their EDA students to choose three to five books to read for pleasure. The students will be choosing books from the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Top 100 Best Fiction for Young Adult lists.

Throughout the course of the project, students will be communicating with authors through email, blogs and posting on the author’s forum. To help with writing skills, students will be writing book reviews that will later be posted on online review sites like Barnes and Noble. Students will also be creating storyboards, posters and book jackets.

Freshman Odalis Perez is excited to finally get the chance to read books that are not assigned reading material.

“I will be looking forward to reading a good book of my choice,” she said. “I love reading.”


Angel Potato Revolution from The Foothill Dragon Press on Vimeo.

Students had the opportunity to talk with two authors in the media center during the project launch, both of whom donated their time to the students. Andrew Smith joined students to talk about what it is like to be a writer, and A.S. King also talked with the students via Skype.

“Sometimes as writers, we don’t get to do what we love to do most: read,” said Smith when asked about his favorite books.

King talked to the students about how they should not let go of their dreams.

“I had to write seven novels before I was published,” she said.

Perez was very happy that Smith and King encouraged her to not give up, even if it takes a couple of tries.

“It was nice to know that it is possible for people to reach their goals,” said Perez.

Perez is looking forward to reading a book published by one of the two authors that she met Monday.

Other rotations that the students participated in included carnival games and book reading, to help them narrow down what books they plan on reading for their project.

Pelfrey and Carr did not put on the rally alone; they had help from parent volunteers Linda Kopp, Karen Myring, Cheryl Shaw, and Martha McIntyre as well as former EDA students to organize activities and encourage students to read.

“It is a way to become reconnected with books and try to get students to broaden their horizons with reading,” said sophomore Manaila Woods who helped Pelfrey organize the event.

To close out the day students checked out books that they were interested in reading, and took them home so they could unplug and read.

Photo Credit: Megan Kearney, The Foothill Dragon Press

Contact FTHS Reading Revolution Director