I love helping people find what they need. Thankfully my chosen profession is service-orientated so I get to do just that. At my current internship, I get to help out a lot at the Youth Services desk. I give out summer reading prizes, and help the kids find good summer reading books. One of my missions this summer is to get more experience with teenagers as I have more experience working with kids aged 5-12 from past jobs. This has been accomplished through helping with teen programs, such as my favorite which was a Percy Jackson party (as I had just finished the series a few weeks before) and watching the nerdy teen boys shoot their hands up in the air during the trivia contest because they knew all the answers. I don't have too much trouble talking to teenaged girls, but the boys are another thing entirely.
So I thought I would try to go out of my way and try to talk to them more and hope they open up to me. There was this one boy a few weeks back that was in the children's section with his mom and older brother looking for books. He had asked us at the desk where astronomy books where and I had shown him having remembered where they were the other day when another boy had asked me about books about radiation (which is basically around the same section). I noticed a bit later that he was milling around the searching computer trying not to look lost, so I asked him if I could help him. He wanted to know where a fiction book was and I could've pointed it out to him as it was only around the corner but he'd had trouble the last time I tried to point it out so I just showed him where it was. When he found what he was looking for, I asked if he liked the book and he said yes. Then I asked him what the series was about and he got all animated telling me about the alternate dimensions hidden behind these secret cupboards (the book was the second in the series and was called Dandelion Fire: Book 2 of the 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson). I smiled and told him that sounded really cool, which it did and I think I might try reading the series later. I tried to get another teenaged boy to read the series a few days later, when he was searching for something new to read. I was excited by the conversation because it is so hard sometimes to get more than a grunt or monosyllabic answers from teenaged boys at ties, if you get any answers at all.
I had another good conversation with a boy later that evening from a 13 year old boy during the reverse tie dye program we were doing with the teens. Most of the teens were in small groups after they finished their shirt but there was one boy standing off by himself. I asked him if he wanted to play Uno with two other teens and he said no. So I decided to talk to him myself. I asked him what kind of books he likes to which he replied "All kinds." So I asked him what was the most recent one he read, and he said "Harry Potter 7 and I liked it" to which I said that I liked it too even though it was very dark. He mentioned that he didn't have a whole lot of time for reading because he was too busy playing sports such as baseball and soccer. When he mentioned soccer, I lept on that hoping I could get him talking about the World Cup (which I had been watching). He finally piped up and said that he enjoyed watching the US, even if they played bad the first game and then we went on to talk about English Premier League and European League soccer and he told me his favorite team and players. It must've only been about 10 minutes long, but it was progress. Therefore, I now look forward to getting opportunities to talk to boys, and hope I can interest them in books.