By: Niamh, Leixlip Library
Authors Sharing Stuff
Sarah Crossan is posting live Instagram videos about poetry, don’t worry if you missed them you can take a look at the back catalogue here. Sarah reads poetry in these posts and breaks down poetry to give teens the tools to think for themselves when reading poetry for school and pleasure.
Also speaking through social media was YA author Holly Bourne who spoke to the bloggers of Loves Labours Watched who audio blog about love and dating for women today. Just to note that this blog and Holly herself are generally aimed at older teens, so perhaps listen yourself before giving to your teen aged below 15.
This is just a taste of what young adult authors are putting out there, so it’s no harm checking out the social media channels of your teens favourite authors.
Authors and Creative Writing Tips
Sarah Webb writes for both children and young adults and has been sharing all manner of activities for young people to do. Most of her ‘Creative Burst’ prompts have been aimed at ages 9 plus so are perfect for teens trying to study poetry or work on the creative writing part of English Paper 1. Writing poetry can also be fun. She’s running Zoom workshops as well that users can sign up for if they like the prompts so far.
While John Boyne’s short story competition has closed, there are others out there. The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2020 for example is open to all ages.
If you’re finding lockdown is affecting your teens ability to write, why not have them design a book cover instead for this competition from O’Brien Press and Children’s Books Ireland that’s open to all under 15 years old. https://childrensbooksireland.ie/the-obrien-press-design-a-cover-competition/
If your teen needs inspiration or help with writing stories for any of these competitions, there are lots of resources out there.
One of these is an old but useful list of things to write about by author Claire Hennessy
The author of The Hate U Give Angie Thomas is also posting some tips on her Instagram, such as this video about how you can create a plot to change your character to what you want them to be.
If your teen would like a full creative writing course, author David Lordan has a 13 unit course available on Vimeo for 13-24 year olds.
As the facilitator of a library teen group my advice would be to just write and see what comes out; there’s plenty of time for editing the writing into what you wanted later. Even use your recent experiences of a pandemic to start the next great dystopian story!
Other stuff for Teens to do online
While originally intended for children, meditation and mindfulness by Bressie is just as useful for teens, especially those troubled by the uncertainty around state exams. He is posting live fifteen-minute sessions three times a week on his Instagram story. Tune in Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 5pm.
While not directly from an author, the recent virtualization of the Harry Potter: History of Magic exhibition was likely okayed by children’s author JK Rowling. I’m suggesting this one for teens because I myself as a teenager became fascinated with the historic real-life philosophical theory and myth behind the subjects taught in the fictional school in the series, and this exhibit delves into just that. It’s possibly a bit more advanced than the books themselves so is very suited to ages 13 plus. The Google website artsandculture.google.com as a whole is very interesting with virtual tours of museums across the world.
In another indirect offering, Shakespeare plays are being screened by RTÉ in an attempt to aid students studying the playwright. These screenings start April 11th on RTÉ2 on weekend mornings at 11.25am. check out the full schedule here .
If your teen is interested in theatre in general, there’s an endless supply of streaming sites offering free trials at the minute from BroadwayHd.com to Shakespeare’s Globe . The National Theatre in London will be making their recorded shows available every Thursday via YouTube and while admittedly some might only be suitable for the parents in your home, but keep an eye out for some epic classics such as Treasure Island which is available now.