AUBURN — The Auburn Public Library has been selected to receive a competitive grant from the American Library Association to host a reading and discussion program for at-risk youth about teen violence and suicide.

As one of 75 Great Stories Club grant recipients selected from across the country, the Auburn Public Library will work with a group of teens to read and discuss three books in which protagonists deal with issues surrounding teen violence, bullying and suicide.

This is the third such grant the library has received, having been chosen last year for “Hack the Feed: Media, Resistance and Revolution” and “The Art of Change: Creation, Growth and Transformation.”

A requirement for participation in and selection for this grant is that the library partner with a local organization that would benefit from such a partnership. For this series, the library has announced Outright L/A as its community partner.

The book titles, under the upcoming theme “Structures of Suffering: Origins of Teen Violence and Suicide,” include: “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher; “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini; and “Romeo and Juliet” (No Fear Shakespeare Graphic Novels) illustrated by Matt Weigle.

The titles — selected by librarian advisers and humanities scholars — were chosen to resonate with reluctant readers who struggle with complex issues in their young lives.

“So many teens in our community struggle with issues of violence and suicide, and much of the time, adults are painfully unaware of what they are going through,” said teen librarian and project director Donna Wallace. “(We’ll) be able to use literature to start these important conversations with our young people.”

In addition to book discussions, participants will do activities which highlight their reading. For example, Heather Carter, director of Prevention and Youth Programs at NAMI Maine, will join them for a meeting on Friday, May 12.

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