Jennifer Brown: ‘Librarians are the boots on the ground people for me’

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Reprinted courtesy of: Lee’s Summit Journal

By: Toriano Porter

Librarians tend to have their ears to the streets and can measure the pulse of their readers and the books that they like.

In Jennifer Brown’s opinions, librarians are the lifeline to what she does as a young adult author.

So when the 1990 graduate of Lee’s Summit High School reached out to Amy Taylor, a library media specialist at Lee’s Summit West, the genesis was born for a unique partnership that began with a launch party in May shortly after the release of Brown’s latest book “Thousand Words.”

To culminate the partnership, the nationally-acclaimed and award-winning author was at The Stanley in downtown Lee’s Summit, 25 S.E. Third Street, Aug. 24 for a special reading, signing and luncheon hosted by librarians from each of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s high schools.

The event featured mothers and daughters discussing the book with Brown, who took part in a Q&A session and signed copies of the book.

“It’s so cool,” Brown said of the engagement. “Reading is one of my favorite things to do. To have an event where moms and daughters are sharing (the love of reading) together and using my book to do it is really an honor. I’m really excited about it. It’s the sharing of the reading that I love about it the most.”

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, “Thousand Words” is the story of a young high school girl who takes a compromising photo of herself at a swim party and sends it to her boyfriend as a going-away-to-college gift for him.

After a fallout, the boyfriend forwards the picture – which goes viral – and it spreads like wildfire throughout the girl’s high school and surrounding communities.

The book’s topic is not only timely and relevant, but resonates with young adult readers throughout Lee’s Summit, Taylor said.

“She speaks to real teen issues, but not in a preachy way,” Taylor said of Brown. “Our students really enjoy her work. Her most popular book (”Hate List”) is still very, very popular with our teens. We really appreciate the work she does. We think she speaks to teens in a way that they connect with. It’s just been great for us to work with her because we’ve learned so much about an author’s work and how they function with publishers and that sort of thing through her.”

Added Brown, a Liberty resident: “It’s just a really fun thing to do, I think; to come back home if you will. I’m working with librarians out there (in Lee’s Summit) and it’s kind of fun to get the acknowledgment from librarians from my own hometown. To know what I’ve done is something they want to share with kids out there is a pretty cool thing.

“I couldn’t do it without librarians. Ever. Not just this book, but any book. Librarians are the ones who know the teens, they know what the teens like to read, they know them on an individual basis, they know what books they are looking forward to, and they know what books get them excited about reading. And the librarians – public and school both – are really just the boots on the ground people for me that really help get my books into the hands of readers. They’re so super important.”

A discussion guide about “Thousand Words” is available at Reader’s World, 983 N.E. Rice Road, to help encourage mothers and daughters to talk about the subject of sexting.

For more information, visit or contact Taylor at