Our public library regularly hosts film festivals for teens, offering them a choice of a variety of movies and allowing them to decide which to view that evening. We provide snacks and some quality company. For Teen Read Week, we focused on movie choices that were stories that originated as novels, including I Am Number Four and Flipped (the latter title was a huge hit with summer reading this past year). The focus of the PICTURE IT Film Festival was to point out that movies and books are two different perspectives on telling a story. For many readers, stories are told beautifully with words that allow us to create our own scenery and become connected to characters in our own ways. For just as many viewers, stories are told through images, colors, actions, and emotions portrayed directly through our physical senses. The stories are the same, but the perspectives are often vastly different. Some readers (and viewers) simply enjoy a different method of storytelling over another. It’s up to the readers and viewer to internalize the story in their own way, whether it’s read, seen, or both!

Providing an opportunity for discussion following the PICTURE IT Film Festival really allowed for a conversation about storytelling to shine through, in addition to talking about and contrasting the actual content of the novel and movie. It also allowed for a wider variety of participation from the teens; we encouraged “non-readers” to attend and share their opinions, swapping out “I hate to read” for the more accurate “I love stories.” For teens, this discussion highlighted that different opinions, experiences, and interests allow for a greater scope of discovery.

Kate Vasilik, Piscataway (NJ) Public Library, Teen Read Week 2011 committee member

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