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Read Across Lawrence for Teens 2015


Read Across Lawrence for Teens is a fun and unique way to get teens all over town reading the same book at the same time as well as participate in various activities offered through the library. Join us for Read Across Lawrence for Teens 2015 in the month of February! The #RALTeens book will be Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. The publisher recommends this for students age 14 and up.


About Where Things Come Back

where things come back coverWinner of the 2012 Michael L. Printz and William C. Morris Awards, this poignant and hilarious story of loss and redemption “explores the process of grief, second chances, and even the meaning of life” ( Kirkus Reviews ). In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter’s senior year of high school, he is forced to examine everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears. Meanwhile, the crisis of faith spawned by a young missionary’s disillusion in Africa prompts a frantic search for meaning that has far-reaching consequences. As distant as the two stories initially seem, they are woven together through masterful plotting and merge in a surprising and harrowing climax. This extraordinary tale from a rare literary voice finds wonder in the ordinary and illuminates the hope of second chances.


About John Corey Whaley

john corey whaleyJohn Corey Whaley grew up in the small town of Springhill, Louisiana, where he learned to be sarcastic and to tell stories.  He has a B.A. in English from Louisiana Tech University, as well as an M.A in Secondary English Education. He started writing stories about aliens and underwater civilizations when he was around ten or eleven, but now writes realistic YA fiction (which sometimes includes zombies…). He taught public school for five years and spent much of that time daydreaming about being a full-time writer…and dodging his students’ crafty projectiles. He is terrible at most sports, but is an occasional kayaker and bongo player.  He is obsessed with movies, music, and traveling to new places. He is an incredibly picky eater and has never been punched in the face, though he has come quite close.  One time, when he was a kid, he had a curse put on him by a strange woman in the arcade section of a Wal-Mart.  His favorite word is defenestration.  His favorite color is green.  His favorite smell is books.  He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Where Things Come Back is his first novelNoggin, his second novel, was released in April. (from


“How do I get a copy of the book?”

There’s no special sign-up to participate in Read Across Lawrence. Just grab a copy, start reading, and show up at activities – it’s that easy!  Here are a few ways to get a copy of Where Things Come Back:

  • Come to the Read Across Lawrence Kick-Off event on February 1st at 2:00 p.m. in the Auditorium.  We’ll have some snacks and talk about the amazing lineup of programs. Free copies of the book will be handed out at the event.
  • Come to the library and get a copy from the Welcome Desk after Feb. 1, while supplies last.
  • Check-out or reserve a copy from Lawrence Public Library.
  • Team up with somebody else who has a copy and share.  Enjoy talking about it afterward!



Teen Read Across Lawrence Kick-Off
Sunday, February 1, 2:00-4:00pm
Library Auditorium

Snag a copy of Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley, have some awesome snacks, and get excited about all the great teen Read Across Lawrence events.


Where Things Come Back Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, February 7, 3:00-5:00pm
Library Auditorium

Will you look for the Lazarus Bird or Gabriel Witter in this scavenger hunt of downtown Lawrence? Follow the clues to win a prize. Teens playing without guardians must have a signed permission slip. Pick one up in the Teen Zone or on our website.

Permission Slip – Scavenger Hunt


Papercut Art
Saturday, February 14, 2:00-3:30pm
Library Auditorium

Inspired by the cover of Where Things Come Back, artist Angela Pickman will teach us how to create our own papercut art.


WTCB Panel Discussion
Tuesday, February 17, 6:30-7:30pm
Library Auditorium

Dig in to the heavier side of the book with a panel of experts who will speak on suicide, abuse, and grief as it affects the characters in WTCB.


Skype with John Corey Whaley!
Friday, February 20
Library Auditorium

5:30-7:15 Pre-Skype Hair Styling

Come early to get your hair styled into the Lazarus cut from the book (a bright red faux hawk), or just to add a touch of red. Pick up a permission slip at the Teen Zone Desk or here: Lazarus Hairstyle Permission Slip

7:30-9:00pm Skype Session

We’ll keep the library open late for a Skype session with John Corey Whaley.  Ask at the Teen Zone in February to find out how to submit a question for our author. Don’t miss out on all the woodpecker, writing, and missing persons info!


Chocolate Fest for the Birds
Saturday, February 21, 4:00-5:30pm
Library Auditorium

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Come to the 4th annual chocolate fest and make chocolate nests and eggs in honor of the Lazarus Bird.


Trivia Contest
Wednesday, February 25, 7:00-8:00pm
Library Reader’s Theater

Prove how much you’ve learned about WTCB in a trivia contest. Come alone or with a group of 4-6 friends. The top 3 teams will win prizes!