NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Visits Youth at Platte Valley YSC


Elkeles signing 2.jpg

Summer break is the season that youth take to relax, and take a break from school. However, research carried out at John Hopkins University shows that students can experience learning and reading loss when they are not actively taking part in education. One way to reduce or eliminate this loss is to enroll in reading programs.

This summer, in partnership with the Loveland Library District (LLD), Wendy Ginther, the Librarian at Platte Valley Youth Services Center implemented a successful summer reading program. Thirty youth participated in the program.

When Wendy was asked by the LLD, “Which author is the youth’s favorite?” She shared how Simone Elkeles is the most popular author in the reading program, and how she is constantly having to re-order the books as they get worn down from so much use. Wendy mentioned during the conversation, jokingly, that it would be great if the Loveland Library District could get Simone to visit the youth at the facility.

The reading program consisted of three levels: mind, body, and feelings. Each youth was challenged to read seven hours of books on each level. The youth did everything from answering questions about how they would change the world, to practicing meditation, to writing songs or poems about a person they look up to or something they are grateful for every day.

To help encourage youth to progress through the three levels, for each level they finished they received their favorite food, wings from the local wing shack in town. But, the best surprise was at the end of the challenge when the LLD teen services surprised the youth with a visit from Award-winning author Simone Elkeles — the youths favorite author.

“I have never had an author engage with the kids within 10 seconds of coming in the room. She connected with the youth,” Wendy stated. She shared real stories about herself including how she failed creative writing, and aptitude tests gave her no hope for a real career.  During her visit, Simone shared stories of inspiration and reaching your goals. She also signed her books for the youth. But, most importantly, she spoke with each and every one of the kids-her compassion for youth shined bright and each youth knew she truly cared about them.  


Pictured from left Simone Elkeles with Wendy Ginther speaking with a youth in the program