Young Readers Center

Open a book and you open the door to a new world. The Library of Congress welcomes children, teens and adults to the Young Readers Center, a place especially designed for young people.

Join the Young Reader's Center Summer Maker Activities!

little girl holding up her project

Come check out the exciting new Maker Activity space at the Young Readers Center! The Maker Center features hands-on projects that spark innovation and inquiry-based learning. Going beyond a mere craft space, the Maker Center encourages visitors of all ages (preschool, elementary, teen and adult) to design, create and experiment in exciting new ways. Supplies are provided. Project themes alternate every two weeks throughout the summer, and relate to Library of Congress exhibitions and collections.


maker activity room

Come check out our current Garden Maker activity!

Our Garden Maker project is featured in the main room of the Young Readers Center and open during normal operating hours Monday-Saturday 9am-4:30pm. Please make sure all children are accompanied by an adult 18 and over. Inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s vegetable garden at Monticello and patriotic War Gardens from World War I, the Maker project connects STEM based inquiry with America’s historic heritage. Visitors are encouraged to plot their own garden space while strategically planning for sufficient sun and water needs. Be sure to enrich your Maker experience by looking through our primary source booklet and visiting the War Gardens displayed outside on the grounds of the Jefferson building. You can also lose yourself in reading one of our many garden-themed picture books at the Young Readers Center, such as Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation by Peggy Thomas and Stacy Innerst.

Welcome to the Maker Center at the Young Readers Center. A summer of curiosity and exploration awaits!

Young Readers Center Introduces a Teen Board

The Young Readers Center (YRC) of the Library of Congress Teen Board has just completed their third year.  Three schools participated in the 2016-2017 program:  Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts, Stuart Hobson Middle School and Cesar Chavez Public Policy Charter School, Capitol Hill.  A total of 42 students participated from these schools.  School advisors from each of these schools selected participating students because of their interest in reading, and their demonstrated leadership skills.  Eight monthly meetings were held.

Teens on the Board were welcomed to the Board by Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden and other members of her staff, at the first meeting, October 2016.  She challenged them to read critically and get to know the Library of Congress resources.  She requested feedback from them as teen representatives to tell the LOC how to best include teens in their programs. 

In subsequent meetings, the teens met author Monica Hesse (Washington Post journalist and author of The Girl in the Blue Coat) and received a tour of the Library of Congress, plus a preview of the special exhibit on World War I. 

At all monthly meetings the teens enjoyed access to newly published, and advance copies of books written for young adults.  At each meeting, new books were discussed, and students were encouraged to select books of interest to read and review. Teen reviews of these books are posted on the YRC website (below).  At each meeting, students gathered in small groups, led by YRC interns, for more intimate book discussions.  The year has ended, but students will continue to review books over the summer, for website posting.

Plans are underway already for the 2017-2018 school year, with an added focus of exploring the resources of the Library of Congress. 

Below are some excerpts from their current reads:

Girl Mans Up
by M-E Girard. Harper Collins, 2016.
Reviewed by Jacqueline, Richard Wright Public Charter School.

Sixteen year old Pen is facing gender identification issues. She's looking for respect from her peers and finds that some of her current friends are not there for her.

From Jackie “My favorite aspect of the book was when Pen came to the realization that she shouldn't change herself to be friends with someone. I liked the book, but wished it had been a bit more realistic and deep.”

The Friendship Experiment
by Erin Teagan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, November 2016. Reviewed by Kayla, Richard Wright Public Charter School.

Having and keeping friends in middle school can be difficult. Maddie’s missing her best friend who transferred to another school, and dealing with the death of her grandfather and illness in her family. She’s also a budding scientist, but finds out that sometimes kindness can win over science.

From Kayla – “[The] cover grabbed my attention because it was colorful. As I read it, it reminded me of my middle school experience and problems adjusting. An entertaining read.”

Royce Rolls
by Margaret Stohl. Freeform Books, April 2017. Reviewed by Jae’la, Cesar Chavez Public Policy Charter School, Capitol Hill.

Royce has it all, a family reality TV show, money and private school. From Jae’la – “This book started with the end, and then took you back to the beginning. My favorite part of the book was the way they structured the story. The cover really catches your attention too.”

Frost Blood
by Elly Blake. Little Brown, January 2017. Reviewer Zahkura, Cesar Chavez Public Policy Charter School, Capitol Hill.

Fantasy with two worlds, one led by the evil Frost King, who wants to kill all rival Firebloods, including Ruby. Ruby tries to learn to control her powers and get rid of the Frost King.

From Zahkura: “I loved the cover, and want to read more to find out what happened to the evil darkness.”

The Star Touched Queen
by Roshani Chokshi. St. Martin’s Press, 2016. Reviewer Zahkura, Cesar Chavez Public Policy Charter School, Capitol Hill.

A world of fantasy, based on Indian mythology. Maya, a young princess, is forced to drink poison and save the kingdom by dying. She ends up in the Otherworld.

From Zahkura: “My favorite part was when Maya won her love back because of the journey that she took to get to him. I’d love to read more of these stories.”

How to Make a Wish
by Ashley Herring Blake. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2017. Reviewed by Jamie, Hobson, MS.

The story of three teens, talented in the arts, growing up with each other for hope and friendship, while their parents for the most part are not able to supply that support.

From Jamie: “This book was awesome. I was not disappointed with anything. I loved the way it was written, the descriptions were amazing. It captured the beauty of the characters.”

Eight Rivers of Shadow
by Leo Hunt. Candlewick Press, 2016. Reviewed by Lysette, Hobson, MS.

Luke is a necromancer and is forced back into that world while trying to help new friend Ashley. Of course Luke still has the help of his dog Ham from the earlier book.

From Lysette: “Trouble seems to always find Luke. He trusts this random girl [to] bring her sister back from the die [sic]. Everything about this girl is a lie. I love how things can still catch you by surprise.”

by E.M. Kokie. Candlewick, September 2016. Reviewed by Jasmine, Richard Wright Public Charter School.

Bex comes from a family who questions her masculine appearance and sexual orientation along with her interest in a doomsday survivalist community.

From Jasmine: “My favorite aspect of the book appears in the first paragraph of the story because the main characters words are so explicit and undeterred of their strong emotions toward what they believe. But my main concern is the contradiction of statements of Bex’s concern for her family and how they change from hatred to real concern.” To the author, she says, “I really did enjoy the overall storyline so thanks so much for writing this book, and giving me this opportunity to enjoy it.

by Lamar Giles. Scholastic, March 28, 2017. Reviewed by Edward, Richard Wright Public Charter School.

A mystery set in Las Vegas, with main character Nikki trying to run the family business with her father in prison, and later cope with his death, and find out who did it.

From Edward: “I liked the cover because it relates directly to the book. It let’s [sic] you know what’s going to be in the book and how interesting it’s going to be. My favorite aspect of the book was really going deep into the casino life and finding out what it’s like to do it on a day to day basis and thrive in it. I liked the book because it was exactly what I wanted to read.”

Boy Robot
by Simon Curtis. Simon and Schuster, 2016. Reviewed by Terrell, Richard Wright Public Charter School.

Isaak is thrown out of his house by his adoptive mother, and soon finds that he is actually a robot, made to supply missing body parts to soldiers in combat.

From Terrell: “This book was not as good as I thought it would be when I selected.”

The Sun is Also a Star
by Nicola Yoon. Random House, 2016. Reviewed by Charlotte, Hobson, M.S. A story of one day in the lives of two teens that will change their lives forever. One wants to avoid following the education track dictated by his parents, and the other is trying to avoid having her family deported.

From Charlotte: “This book is a fabulous story of love and it all takes place on the same day. It keeps you guessing and kept my interest the entire time. A beautiful story. FABULOUS!”

The Memory of Things
by Gae Polisher. St. Martin’s Press, 2016. Reviewed by Charlotte, Hobson, MS. 9/11 has just occurred and two teens find each other and try to deal with the trauma.

From Charlotte: “I was really excited about it, but I didn’t even end of [sic] finishing it. But it was well written.

Making Bombs for Hitler
by Marsha Skrypuch. Scholastic Press, February 2017. Reviewed by Jackie, Richard Wright Public Charter School.

Historical fiction set during World War II in a German labor camp. Lida is Ukrainian, and along with her sister she is sent to the camp. Her sewing expertise saves her, but for a horrible task – making bombs for the Germans.

From Jackie: “The cover is full of symbolism, which I love. It shows a young girl in red standing in the middle of a swastika made out of bombs. It really drew me to the book. A favorite part of the book for me was when she was separated from her little sister because it showed me that as a person yu [sic] don’t really care about a person till you lose them. The sister really showed us the sisters’ agony, and how they did everything to survive for each other. This part of the book really stood with me. It was one of those ‘let me reconsider my life’ moments.”

by A.G. Howard. Abrams, Publication Date of Jan. 2017. Review by Zahkura, Cesar Chavez Capitol Hill Public Charter School.

If you liked The Phantom of the Opera, this is the book for you. When Rune sings, everyone listens with enthusiasm. But singing only weakens her.

Reviewer Zahkura: "Loved the part when Rune got her powers under control! Can't wait to read another book by this author. Rune with the voice of an angel, but may be used for evil. I love the whole book."

Things I Should Have Known
by Claire LaZebnik, HMH, Publication date, March 2017. Review by Jae'la, Cesar Chavez Capitol Hill Public Charter School.

A story of autism, sisters and love. Reviewer Jae'la felt that it was okay, but it took a long time for something exciting to happen.

by E.M. Kokie, Sept. 2016, Candlewick. Review by Heaven, Richard Wright PCS. And Jackie, also R. Wright PCS.

Bex has a fascination with survivalist groups and guns and becomes involved with a local group that is both homophobic and racist. She starts to explore her sexuality and world view, but still longs to protect her family. From our reviewer Heaven: "The cover of the book made the story seem like a mystery. I for one really enjoy mysteries and that is why I chose this book."

From Jackie: "Bex has to take initiative to protect herself and her family. She struggles to find out who she is as a person, and it gets harder when she questions her sexual preference and also why she's trying to protect people that don't care about her."

Holding Smoke
by Elle Cosimano, Hyperion, 2016. Review by Varonica, Richard Wright PCS.

"Smoke" is imprisoned after rebounding from a severe beating from his father, and getting into a fight with a fellow student, which results in the student's death. Smoke was himself in a near death condition, which results in his ability to move almost as a ghost, in and out of his prison and into the community. From reviewer Varonica, "The cover gives a mysterious vibe, and draws you into the book."

The Crystal Ribbon
by Celeste Lim. Scholastic, Jan. 2017. Review by Zahkura, Cesar Chavez Capitol Hill Public Charter School.

Fantasy mixed with historical fiction tells the story of Jing, a young female from a poor family in medieval China. Jing is married at age 11 to a 3 year old boy. Her life does not improve when she is sold to become a courtesan. From Zahkura, "I liked how it showcased the hardships of a poor female in ancient China. Never a dull moment in the story."

Three Truths and a Lie
by Brent Hartinger. Simon and Schuster, 2016. Review by Ja'Kayla, Richard Wright PCS.

Four teens, dark woods, a secluded mountain house and lots of suspense.

Reviewer Ja'Kayla: "The book is about teen relationships, drama and lots of suspense. Cover has a mysterious vibe."

Lifers by M.A. Griffin
by M.A. Griffin. Scholastic, Jan, 2017 publication date. Review by Terrell, Richard Wright PCS.

Preston, a British teen from Manchester, goes searching for missing friend Alice. His path takes him to a research center conducting mysterious research on accessing an alternate dimension. This dimension turns out to be a prison for teens. Reviewer Terrell: "The cover will grab the reader's attention, and the book will have readers on their heels."

Frost Blood
by Elly Blake. Little Brown, Jan 2017 publication date. Review by Tysean, Richard Wright PCS.

Can the kingdom ruled by the horrific Frost King be saved by a young girl? Yes if the girl is Ruby, who has fire running through her veins.

Reviewer Tysean: "The first part was a little slow, but then because of fascinating characters, it became more interesting to read. The cover looks like it will be a scary and interesting read."

Holding Up the Universe
by Jennifer Niven. Knopf, 2016. Review by Charlotte, Julius Hobson.

Jack has prosopagnosia, a condition that results in the inability to recognize faces. He hides his condition well until he has a run in with Libby, who was formerly America's Fattest Teen. From reviewer Charlotte, "This book shows that people aren't always as they seem, and that the inside matters. The book was super awesome and unpredictable (sort of)."

by Sarah Cohen-Scali, Roaring Brook, March, 2017 publication date. Review by Jamie from Julius Hobson.

Part fantasy, part historical fiction, the story of Max, born under Nazi "Lebensborn" program during World War II. The goal of the program was to breed pure Aryan babies to be the future leaders of Germany. Max falls in love with a young Jewish girl. Not to give it away, but reviewer Jamie says "I am in a love/hate relationship with the ending."

Kids! Join the YRC Presidential Challenge

Child at podiumSend us your Video and Be President for a Day
(or at least for a minute!)

Young Readers Center Hours Open to the Public

Mon — Saturday 9:00am -4:30pm

Video from the Grand Opening celebrating the Saturday schedule

Young Readers Center Story Time Every Friday

Children being read to.The Young Readers Center (Jefferson Building, Room G29) will continue to offer Story Time for infants and toddlers every Friday (except holidays) starting at 10:30 a.m.

NOTE: Due to an occupancy review of the Center by the Library of Congress Safety Services Office, we are required to limit the number of participating children and adults to 50. Free admission stickers will be distributed on a first-come, first- served basis beginning at 10 a.m.

Thank you for understanding and we look forward to your participation.

Please check this website or call the YRC at 202-707-1950 for any changes to this schedule.

February Film Screening Pre-Parties with the YRC

Visit the Young Readers Center before the noontime screenings of Beauty and the Beast on Saturday, February 11th, The Nightmare Before Christmas on Saturday, February 18th and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm on Saturday, February 25th, for fun film-related activities with books and crafts. Wear your favorite costume!

Film screenings are held at Noon in the Pickford Theater, Third Floor, James Madison Memorial Building. Find more details about the film screenings here. Free, tickets required. In the event that advance tickets are no longer available, a standby queue will form 30 minutes prior to the screening time in the Pickford Theater lobby.

NOTE: Families who visit the Young Readers Center prior to the film screening on Saturday, February 11th, 18th and 25th, will be escorted to the film screening in the Madison Building by Library staff.

Young Readers Center
Thomas Jefferson Building
Room LJ G29 (ground floor)
10 First St. S.E.
Washington, DC 20540

Monday through Saturday
9 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.
(closed most federal holidays)

(202) 707-1950