Earlier this week a teen at the library saw me with an arm full of Orca Soundings books and asked if I’d recommend them. As I wrote about in a previous blog post, I told her I wasn’t sure yet, and had an interesting conversation about teen fantasy/romance instead. Now that I have read a couple Orca Soundings books however, I feel like I should have an answer ready for her question: “Are those any good?” Would I ever recommend an Orca Soundings book, and what kind of reader would I recommend them to?
Based on the reading level, it’s clear (and confirmed by the Orca Soundings website), that these stories are for “reluctant teen readers.” Or perhaps for older children preparing to transition into high school. My initial reaction when I think of reluctant or struggling readers is that it’s going to take an awfully motivating appeal factor to get this book off the shelf. Well according to the reviews on the Orca Soundings site…that appeal factor is “coolness.” Teachers and media specialists claim that once a student tries Orca Soundings they just can’t get enough.
One other huge benefit to these stories is the clear moral dilemma presented in each. Sure, they can get a bit cheesy and heavy-handed. But Orca Soundings are written in such a way that the process of reading the book mirrors the process of wrestling with the same moral issue as the character. You can’t help but imagine yourself in the same situation as the character.
Orca Soundings was an important reminder to me that not every teen coming through the doors of a library is already a “converted” reader. Teens who just want a quick, escapist, high interest/low reading level book will find what they’re looking for with Orca Soundings.