Free Library of Philadelphia
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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 or 215-686-5372 for information about current opportunities to participate.
Spring 2016 Teen Author Series Events
Sharon Flake | The Skin I’m In
Sharon Flake’s debut novel The Skin I’m In follows an African American girl’s struggles with people who tease her about the color of her skin and her desire to fit in. Since then the two-time Coretta Scott King Award-winner and Philadelphia native has written the story collections Who Am I Without Him? and You Don’t Even Know Me, as well as a half dozen other bestselling young adult novels, including Money Hungry, Bang!, and The Broken Bike Boy and the Queen of 33rd Street.
Steve Sheinkin | Port Chicago 50
Praised for his engaging, cinematic takes on history for young readers, Steve Sheinkin is a Newbery Award-winner and a two-time National Book Award finalist. Most Dangerous (2015), is a “thoroughly researched, thoughtfully produced, and beautifully written” (School & Library Journal) study of the Vietnam War. Bomb (2012) tells of the race to build the first atomic weapon. His other books tell the tales of Lincoln’s grave robbers, Benedict Arnold, and King George III. In Port Chicago 50, Sheinkin reveals the story of the WWII-era segregated California naval base explosion that killed 300 sailors and led to a strike for better work conditions.
Asali Solomon | Disgruntled
One of the National Book Foundation’s 5 under 35 writers, Asali Solomon won a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for her first book, a story collection titled Get Down. In her debut novel, Disgruntled, she returns to the West Philadelphia of her youth with “a smart, philosophical, coming-of-age tale featuring a vivid protagonist” (Los Angeles Times). A poignant and funny portrait of place in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the book follows eight-year-old Kenya through a childhood and adolescence in which she becomes increasingly frustrated by her inability to find anyone or anything that feels like home.
Linda Sue Park | A Single Shard
Linda Sue Park won the 2002 Newbery Medal for A Single Shard, the unique tale of an orphaned potter in 12th century Korea. Frequently exploring Korean history and culture, as well as other elements of history contextualized in the present, her many other novels include Seesaw Girl, The Kite Fighters, and Project Mulberry. Park is also the author of several picture books and a volume of poetry, and is instrumental in a charity that brings water to villages in Sudan.
Randy Ribay | An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes
By day, Randy Ribay is a teacher, English department chair, and wrestling coach at a West Philadelphia all-boys charter high school. By night, he transforms into the author of An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes, a gently rendered multi-perspective look at four diverse friends united by their weekly escapist Dungeons & Dragons game quests as well as the all-too real problems that high schoolers face with family and relationships. Ribay also moonlights as a book reviewer and blogger for The Horn Book.
Becky Albertalli | Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
A clinical psychologist who claimed the privilege of conducting therapy with scores of amazing, smart, weird, and irresistible teenagers and adults, Becky Albertalli also led a support group for gender nonconforming children for many years. Her debut novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda presents a “stunningly three-dimensional, cliché-free world…that bursts with unforgettable characters” (Entertainment Weekly). In this National Book Award Longlist Title, Albertalli tells a uniquely contemporary coming-of-age and coming-out story in which a spotlight-averse gay high school student faces the pressures of being outed amidst the challenges of dating that all adolescents know.
Daniel Jose Older | Shadowshaper
Nominated for the Kirkus Prize in Young Reader’s Literature, Daniel Jose Older’s young adult fantasy novel Shadowshaper follows the increasingly strange omens that culminate in a young artist’s discovery of a magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. Older is also the author of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series and a story collection titled Salsa Nocturna. A musician and former New York City paramedic, Older also started a petition and was instrumental in changing the World Fantasy Award statuette to a bust of legendary African American sci-fi writer Octavia Butler.
I.W. Gregorio | None of the Above
I.W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day and a self-proclaimed “masked avenging YA writer by night.” Her debut novel, None of the Above, tells the groundbreaking story of a teenage girl whose seemingly ideal life is changed in an instant with the revelation that she’s intersex, and follows her subsequent public outing and struggle to come to terms with her new self. Gregorio is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books, a grassroots group devoted to promoting literature that reflects the diverse lives of all young people.
Julie Murphy | Dumplin’
Julie Murphy’s 2014 debut novel Side Effects May Vary follows a young leukemia patient’s bitter journey from a seemingly terminal diagnosis to an unexpected place of remission, hope, healing, and redemption. In her follow-up, Dumplin’, a feisty and fearless overweight young heroine who has always been at home in her own skin finds her self-assurance slipping when she meets a boy who likes her as much as she likes him. To gain back her confidence she enters her small Texas town’s beauty pageant to show her former beauty queen mom, her so-called best friend, and everyone else that she deserves to be on stage as much as any of her twiggy adversaries.
Matthew Quick | Every Exquisite Thing
Matthew Quick is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including The Silver Linings Playbook, his quirky 2008 book about mental illness and love that was adapted into the Academy Award-winning film. His young adult novels Sorta Like a Rockstar, Boy21, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock speak to—but never down to—teenage readers. He is also the author of Love May Fail and The Good Luck of Right Now. In Every Exquisite Thing, a dutiful daughter embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery and learns that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price.
The Field Family Teen Author Series is endowed through a generous grant from the family of Marie and Joseph Field.
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