Contrary to popular belief, parents and teachers are well aware of the existence of Sparknotes.

was sitting inside Barnes & Noble last week with seven teenagers who are participating in our writing camp. We were discussing book titles when one of the students pointed at a rack of Sparknotes and gasped.

Heads turned. Jaws dropped. One student asked, “What are they doing here?”

Another whispered, “Why are they just sitting there, out in the open?”


It turns out that the kids didn’t realize that Sparknotes were something that you could purchase in a bookstore. They thought that Sparknotes were a product only available on the Internet. Even more amusing, they thought that parents and teachers were unaware of their existence.

I explained that parents and teachers are well aware of the existence of such products, and that they have been available in bookstores for a long, long time.

“Then why do they still exist?” one student asked.

I explained that as much as I wish it were otherwise, parents and teachers do not rule the world.

Then one of them pointed to the center of the rack. “The Hunger Games? They have Sparknotes for The Hunger Games? What moron cant read that book?”

They all agreed that the existence of The Hunger Games Sparknotes was an abomination.

I love listening to kids.