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.

Fall 2016 Teen Author Series Events

Renée Watson | This Side of Home

Renée Watson is the acclaimed author of the picture books Harlem's Little Blackbird (2012) and A Place Where Hurricanes Happen (2010), as well as the middle grade novel What Momma Left Me (2010). Her teen debut, This Side of Home, offers “an intriguing look at how families and young people cope with community and personal change” (Kirkus) when identical twins Maya and Nikki find themselves at odds with each other as their neighborhood rapidly gentrifies. Watson is a team member of We Need Diverse Books and on the Council of Writers for the National Writing Project.

John Lewis | March: Book 1

John Lewis-congressman, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient, and Civil Rights icon-began his graphic novel memoir with the bestselling and award-winning March: Book 1 (2013). March chronicles his experiences as a young man, from a segregated schoolhouse to the March on Washington, and serves as a "must-read monument… As Rep. Lewis continues to carry the civil-rights flame, this graphic achievement is a firsthand beacon that burns ever relevant today" (Washington Post).

E. R. Frank | Dime

All 14-year-old Dime wants is someone to love her, and when an older girl introduces her to a mysterious man called “Daddy,” she thinks she’s finally found her family—but it comes at a price she never imagined she’d being willing to pay. In Dime, “a tremendously affecting novel” (Kirkus), clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and acclaimed author E. R. Frank explores the devastating reality of teenage prostitution and human trafficking. Frank’s other books include Wrecked (2005), Friction (2003), America (2002), and Life Is Funny (2000).

Andrea Davis Pinkney | The Red Pencil

Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of more than 20 books for children, including Bird in a Box (2011) and Martin & Mahalia (2013). Her novel The Red Pencil is a Junior Library Guild Selection, a School Library Journal Best Book, and an NAACP Image Award nominee. In this “soulful story that captures the magic of possibility, even in difficult times” (Kirkus), Pinkney shares the struggles of a 12-year-old Sudanese girl who wants nothing more than to go to school, until a militia attack on her town forces her family to flee.

Ilyasah Shabazz | X: A Novel

Ilyasah Shabazz, third daughter of Malcolm X, is an activist, producer, and motivational speaker, as well as the author of the critically acclaimed Growing Up X (2003) and Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X (2014). Her first book for teens, X: A Novel was co-written with author Kekla Magoon and received the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Youth/Teens and was named a 2016 Coretta Scott King Honor Book. A fictionalized account of Malcom X’s teen years, X provides an “eye-opening look at an important historical figure” (School Library Journal).

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