Field Family Teen Author Series

The Field Family Teen Author Series promotes a lifetime love of reading by creating a personal connection between author and student. In addition, students get to know their local Free Library branch, an essential public resource for academic enrichment, recreational reading materials, cultural opportunities, and internet access.

The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Field Family Teen Author Series is one of the best in the country.

Walter Dean Myers

Philly’s Free Library has created a teen program that would make Oprah envious.

“Star Power” School Library Journal

How it Works

The Teen Author Series operates in partnership with Philadelphia high schools and middle schools—public, charter, magnet, and diocesan—and is open to classes in grades 7–12. Participation is by invitation only.

  • There is no cost to schools or students!
  • Each student receives a FREE copy of the visiting author's book to keep!
  • The Teen Author Series Outreach Coordinator will visit your classroom to talk about the author's book and deliver copies for each participating student to read in advance.
  • Students meet the author at their local Free Library branch for a one-hour presentation, Q&A, and book signing.

Get Involved!

Teachers and school administrators can contact the Teen Author Series Outreach Coordinator at teenauthors@freelibrary.org or 215-686-5372 for information about current opportunities to participate.

Spring 2017 Teen Author Series Events

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin | Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin (Grades 9–12)

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin were thrust into the national spotlight after the tragic shooting of their son, Trayvon, in 2012. Their new book, Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, provides “galvanizing testimony from parents who channeled their sorrow into action” and “offers a deeply humanizing perspective on the crisis propelling a national movement” (Booklist).

Alexandra Diaz | The Only Road (Grades 7–9)

In this “powerful and timely” novel (Booklist), author Alexandra Diaz shares the story of 12-year-old Jamie, a promising young artist. But when his best friend is murdered by a local gang, Jamie and his 15-year-old cousin, Angela, decide to risk everything and make the treacherous journey from their tiny village in Guatemala and across Mexico to the one place they know they’ll be safe: the United States. Diaz is also the author of When We Were (2010).

E.K. Johnston | Exit, Pursued by a Bear (Grades 9–12)

E.K. Johnston, the bestselling and award-winning author of books for teens including The Story of Owen (2014), Arabian Nights (2015), and Star Wars: Ahsoka (2016), has been called “the Meryl Streep of YA” (The Globe & Mail). In Exit, Pursued by a Bear, Johnston offers “a beautifully written portrait of a young woman facing the unthinkable” (School Library Journal). Star cheerleader Hermione Winters has her senior year planned out… until someone slips something into her drink, and everything goes black. As Hermione pieces her life back together, she knows one thing for certain: She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

Patricia Hruby Powell | Loving vs. Virginia (Grades 7–12)

In Loving vs. Virginia, author Patricia Hruby Powell provides “a powerful and riveting account” (Kirkus) of the landmark 1967 civil rights case. Before Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter changed the course of history, they were two teenagers who fell in love. In this “immediately relevant” book (School Library Journal), The Loving’s story comes alive through verse, photographs, illustrations, and news clippings. Powell is also the author of the award-winning Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (2014).

Angie Thomas | The Hate U Give (Grades 9–12)

After 16-year-old Starr witnesses the death of her unarmed friend during a traffic stop, she has one plan: move on. But suddenly Khalil’s name is everywhere: spoken on the news, whispered in the hallways at her fancy prep school, and shouted during protests. Starr has to decide what’s more important: staying quiet—and safe—or finding the courage to tell the world what she saw that night. In The Hate U Give, debut author Angie Thomas delivers a “heartbreakingly topical” (Publisher’s Weekly) and “inarguably important” (Booklist) novel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Jennifer Latham | Scarlett Undercover (Grades 7–9)

In Scarlett Undercover, debut novelist Jennifer Latham “brings a fresh hard-boiled tone to the field of teen mysteries” (Kirkus). Sixteen-year-old detective Scarlett has a new case: to help Gemma find out if her older brother had anything to do with his best friend’s suicide. She doesn’t expect to uncover ancient secrets and a conspiracy spanning continents, especially one that involves her Muslim heritage and the unsolved murder of her own father.

Colum McCann | Letter to A Young Writer (Grades 9–12)

Colum McCann won the 2009 National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin, a tale of 1970s New Yorkers marveling at a tightrope walker’s death-defying feats. His other novels include Song Dogs, This Side of Brightness, and the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted TransAtlantic. He teaches at the MFA program in Hunter College. His new book, Letters to A Young Writer, is a collection of essays featuring advice to new writers.

Zoraida Córdova | Labyrinth Lost (Grades 9–12)

In Zoradia Córdova’s new book Labyrinth Lost, “a magic-infused, delightfully dark story” (Publisher’s Weekly), Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation, who wants nothing to do with magic. When she wishes her powers away during a ritual, she accidentally banishes her entire family, too, and has to embark on a journey to a dangerous otherworld in order to save everyone she loves. Córdova is also the author of the Vicious Deep trilogy.

Tara Sullivan | The Bitter Side of Sweet (Grades 7–12)

Tara Sullivan is the award-winning author of Golden Boy (2013). Her new book, The Bitter Side of Sweet, has been called “heart-wrenching” (Publisher’s Weekly) and “a tender, harrowing story” (Kirkus). Fifteen-year-old Amadou and his younger brother Seydou have spent the last two years as forced labor on one of Ivory Coast’s cacao plantations. Amadou keeps his head down and focuses on one thing—staying alive. But when a girl arrives at camp and refuses to fall in line, Amadou starts to wonder if escape is possible… and if he’s brave enough to try it.

Claire Legrand | Some Kind of Happiness (Grades 7–8)

Claire Legrand offers a “layered, thoughtful exploration” (Kirkus) of family, depression, and the power of imagination in Some Kind of Happiness. Finley Hart doesn’t want to talk about the fact that she’s spending the summer with family she’s never met, her parent’s impending divorce, or her blue days, when life feels overwhelming. She escapes through writing, until a real-life mystery and her stories collide, and Finley must find the courage to confront her growing sadness.

Alex Gino | George (Grades 7–8)

In George, a “brave and necessary” book (School Library Journal), debut novelist Alex Gino introduces the world to Melissa, who knows she’s a girl, even if her friends, family, and classmates all see her as a boy named George. When she isn’t allowed to audition for the role of Charlotte in her classroom’s production of Charlotte’s Web, Melissa comes up with a plan to let everyone know who she really is, for once and for all.

Meredith Russo | If I Was Your Girl (Grades 9–12)

Meredith Russo’s novel If I was Your Girl has been praised as “an illuminating debut guided by hope and overwhelming kindness” (Publisher’s Weekly). In this “necessary, universal story” (Kirkus), Amanda is ready for a fresh start at a new school where she can live openly as her true self—not the boy named Andrew she used to be. She’s determined to keep her secret forever, until she finds herself falling in love and must decide if the truth will set her free, or cost her everything.

The Field Family Teen Author Series is endowed through a generous grant from the family of Marie and Joseph Field.