On Sunday, October 13 at 2 PM the Metuchen Public Library will kick off Teen Read Week with A Visit with Paul Volponi. Mr.Volponi is the author of 11 Young Adult novels which confront issues that all teens face on their journey to adulthood—identity, tolerance, justice, courage and morality.
The focus of Volponi’s most recent title The Final Four is basketball and March Madness. In the novel, Volponi brings together four college players from different backgrounds to a single moment on the court. Part of the story is told through a series of flashbacks by which the characters’ lives and motivations are revealed. The action on the court is enhanced with newspaper articles, interviews and a play-by-play broadcast. In Crossing Lines (2011), the setting is the suburban Central High School, where one student (Alan) begins to explore his gender identity with clothes and makeup. But the novel is told from the point of view of Adonis, a varsity football player who strives to fit in with his teammates, then tries distancing himself from Alan, and is forced to make tough choices when the bullying escalates.
Paul Volponi is a writer, journalist, and teacher living in New York City, who from 1992 to 1998 taught incarcerated teens on Rikers Island. That experience informed the subjects of his critically acclaimed novels Black and White and Rikers High. From 1999 to 2005, Volponi taught teens recovering in drug treatment programs, inspiring his ALA award-winning novel Rooftop. But Mr. Volponi’s fictions are diverse and transcend labels such as time, place, ethnicity, race and gender.
The Author Visit is paid for by the Friends of the Metuchen Library. In anticipation of Volponi’s presentation, two English classes at Metuchen High School are reading Crossing Lines. At Saint Joseph’s High School, the Book Club will be reading The Final Four. Those students reading Volponi’s novels will be among the special guests at the event. The Friends and the Metuchen Municipal Alliance have paid for a class set of books for Metuchen High School and for the novels for St. Joe’s Book Club.
A Visit with Paul Volponi is a family event and all pre-teens, teens and parents are welcome to attend, along with teachers, all others who work with adolescents, sports fans and writers. The author’s talk will be followed by a Question and Answer session with the audience. Paperback books will be available for purchase and for the author to sign. Refreshments will be served, courtesy of the Alliance. For more information, write or call the Library on 732.632.8526.

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