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Teen Program Idea: Library Art Trading Cards

This past Saturday, my co-worker showed our Teen Advisory Board how to create library art trading cards in the spirit of Post Secret. This was a very original idea she thought up. I just showed up and participated in the craft. This is not something I would have done on my own. Whenever I actually do crafts, I enjoy it, but graphic arts were never my strong point. My artistic side comes out in my singing and acting. I love a crowd! But now that I have made a few cards and watched others do the same, I would do this again in a heart beat.

If some you are saying, "huh?", then I apologize. It seems that a lot of people are familiar with Post Secret, so I am assuming many of you will know what I am talking about. This Frank Warren guy came up with this brilliant idea to have anonymous people mail in their deepest secrets on a decorated postcard. It can be decorated in whatever style (painting, collage, drawing, glued objects). The only requirement is that it has to be a secret the creator has never told a living soul before. He originally posted the cards on a blog/website. Then, he started compiling cards into book collections. I have read 2 out of the 3 books Warren compiled. Many of the card artists said this was a liberating experience for them. To release their secret and know that someone finally knows can be like purging painful memories from the past. I think the Post Secret idea is great, but it also makes me really sad whenever I read the cards. Some of these secrets are so painful, and to know that someone has held onto this alone seems unbearable. Many of the confessions show the deep holes some people have in their hearts. They try to fill it, and it doesn't work. I am filled with love for these people. Okay, so going back to the program . . .

So, her idea was to use the same concept as a way to recommend books to teens. This Post Secret idea really seems to appeal to teens. You can use an index card instead of a postcard and decorate the card as a graphic booktalk. The idea would be to have teens check out a book and find the card which might lead them to another book. We added labels to the back of the cards that instruct readers to either leave the card in the book or keep the card. If they keep the card, though, they need to create a new card to replace the one they took. Here are some examples of cards I made.

This one is for An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. See review here. I covered the card with craft paper that had what looked like a dictionary page on it to show Colin's love for words and anagrams. The girls were all from the same magazine ad. Then I just cut off their heads to show that they broke up with them. One girl has green glitter paint on her head.

And this one is for London Calling by Edward Bloor. See review here. I used a page of an old book to show the idea of history or the past. The model is from the 1940s, indicating it takes place during World War II. The pink thing on the side is supposed to be the vintage Cathedral radio that was used to travel through time. I cut a piece of sheet music into a comic book dialogue bubble shape to show that music was coming from the radio. The word "beer" was added to show how the protagonist's dad was an alcoholic.

This was super easy to put together. You provide index cards, art supplies, old magazines, etc. You can glue things on the card. The teens came with their book titles in mind. The last step is to put the finished cards inside of books. Put them inside a read-alike. The idea is to recommend a new book to them they would like. I can't remember what books I put mine in now, but it made sense at the time.


jules said…
That's a great idea. Thanks for sharing that . . .
dark librarian said…
It was so much fun! I knew I could pull some artsy crafty stuff out of you!
The next step... making our shelf talkers like this!
MotherReader said…
I'm late to comment to this, but what a fun concept! I may steal this for our teens. I L O V E, crafty collage stuff.
Jackie Parker said…
Ok, this is awesome. So stealing.
Very cool! How fun to put together a classroom collection of the library ATCs!

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