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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

I’m an aspring Saturday Night Live writer, sitcom writer, and I also perform improv. Comedy is part of my lifeblood, something I simply can not live without. I first fell in love with comedy upon watching Friends, and reading Erma Bombeck’s books in middle school. The theme of comedy in teen and children’s literature is a favorite of mine. Our last improv show until fall arrived, and so I present this.

These are not books that are simply funny, they address the issue of “being funny” and the art of comedy itself. Sadly, this is not a popular teen-lit topic. Please recommend any titles I may not be aware of in the comments.

I’ve starred the ones I’ve read.

* Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes by Louis Sachar – A classic. I read this countless times when I was younger. I remember getting to the surprise ending regarding the talent show and laughing so hard. It’s a great story of how comedy can empower a person and their self esteem.
*Comedy Girl by Stephen Manes – Not exactly all about comedy, but rather a school that embraces the arts.
* Comedy High by Ellen Schreiber – Trixie dreams of performing comedy, but her only audience is the mirror and stuffed animals in her bedroom. One day she gets a shot at a local comedy club, and slowly climbs up the ladder to fame. But she must balance a personal life and a comedy life, and the pressure is weighing.
My Nights at the Improv by Jan Siebold

With the popularity of American Idol, the rise of the socialite and the fame-making power of the internet, the desire to be a celebrity has increased exponetially. USA Today featured a story recently that revealed in a poll conducted among 18-25 year olds, 81% said their generation’s number one goal was getting rich, 51% said getting famous. Also, Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana, about a young teen singer, is one of the most popular shows on TV.

It’s only fitting teen literature reflects this ideal.

The following deal with the art of perfoming, whether it be theater, dance, or singing. I know I might be missing quite a few, so leave them in the comments.

*Theater Shoes
*Ballet Shoes
*Babysitters Club: Jessi’s Big Break
*Teen Idol
*Backstage Pass
Confessions of a Backup Dancer
The Star Power series
*Secrets of My Hollywood Life
No More Dead Dogs
*True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet
More Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet
Confessions of a Hollywood Star
Secrets of my Hollywood Life: On Location
The Hollywood Sisters
Gavilan: A Story of Hollywood During the McCarthy Era
Tales of a Hollywood Gossip Queen
Bad Dog #1: Hollywood and All That Hoo-Rah
Hollywood Bliss – My Life so Far
*Taffy Sinclar Goes to Hollywood
*Pop Princess

Does the idea of teen literature comprised of Hollywood, celebrity adoration, etc further the cycle of the “demand to be famous” or does it simply reflect it?

Does teen literature reflect an accurate picture of Hollywood and the “fame machine” or does it soften it? Consider the recent antics of party girls Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, once beloved teen idols.

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