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Teen Read Week: Guest blog from GEAR UP

Teen Read Week Thursday: Turn Dreams into Reality

Today we are so lucky to have a guest blog post, written by one of our amazing educational partners.  Lisa Brown is a Student Success Advisor at GEAR UP. She is a fellow book lover and passionately promotes teen literature and library programming to her students, while helping them prepare for college.  Her article was originally the cover story of the October 2014 GEAR UP Gazette!  Thanks Lisa for allowing us to share.


Learning from our favorite characters by Lisa Brown, GEAR UP Student Success Advisor

I love to read. My favorite thing in the world is to curl up on a cold rainy day under blankets getting lost in another world through a great book.  I enjoy the exciting stories and joining in on the adventures of my new friends.  Whenever I’m reading, I imagine what I would do if I were in their situation.  I like to think that I can be as daring at Tris Prior, as strong as Katniss Everdeen, as loyal as Harry Potter.  I dream of being able to live in a world like the stories that I love so much, but I realize that will probably never happen.  Who knows, something crazy could happen but until then I look for ways that I can at least be like my favorite characters.  Hopefully none of us will start a revolution, or battle a powerful enemy, but we can learn from these stories and characters and apply their strong characteristics to our everyday lives. As I read books I admire the characters and think of ways I can try and be more like them.  There are common themes that I find in all of my favorite books, important characteristics that the main characters portray, which makes them strong and admirable.  Here are a few of my favorites and the lessons I have learned from them.

Harry Potter

I grew up with the Harry Potter books and am still waiting for my acceptance letter from Hogwarts.  (I’m sure it just got lost in the mail.) While I wait however, I will just keep working on being prepared to enter the halls of Hogwarts by taking pointers from Harry himself.  Throughout the books Harry shows extreme loyalty and strength.  He has taught me that loyalty is one of the greatest traits a person can have.  He is always there for his friends and will stick up for what he believes is right.  When Dumbledore is questioned or others doubt him, Harry remains loyal and defends him.  In return, Harry gains lasting friendships and help when needed because people can count on him.  Through all of his difficult times, Harry never gives up, never turns his back on what he believes in or the people he cares about and stays true to himself.

The Hunger Games

The idea of a world like Panam in the Hunger Games is terrifying to me. I was horrified reading about the games and the Capitol.  I did however admire and respect Katniss for her responsibility, compassion and her ability to keep her sense of identity and integrity.  Even before Katniss volunteers in place of her younger sister to fight in the games she shows responsibility and a deep sense of love for her family by providing for them and making sure they wouldn’t starve.  She is dedicated and a hard worker, something that I try to learn from her.  While in the games Katniss show her compassion by her ability to still take care of Rue and be kind even in such horrendous circumstances.  She does not kill unless out of necessity of defense for her life.  She is able to stay true to who she is even when she is thrown into a situation to make who a harsher person.  It takes great strength to not waver in your beliefs when faced with such difficult trials, but Katniss teaches us that it is possible.


Tris Prior is one of my favorite book characters.  I really appreciate how strong and determined she is to learn and try new things, no matter how hard they are.  She teaches great determinations and selflessness that I wish I can learn from and portray as well.  When Tris changes factions from Abnegation to Dauntless she never gives up becoming one of the best.  She works extra hard when the cards are stacked against her to make sure she will succeed.  She also always stands up for her friends and for what she believes is right.  When one of her friends is being picked on by a Dauntless leader she stands up for him and won’t accept treating people poorly.  She puts herself in jeopardy by speaking up, but decides to do what is right over what is comfortable.  I hope that if I am ever in a situation like that, that I will be selfless and brave enough to do what Tris did.

All of these books have been so fun to read while also teaching me valuable lessons on how to be better. I hope we all can learn how to be more loyal, strong, responsible, compassionate, determined and selfless.  All these stories also taught me how to be resilient.  With all three of these characters they never give up, not matter how hard a situation gets.  They keep going and end up stronger in the end for it.  So pick up a book and see how you can learn from our favorite characters!

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