From 1977-1981 Franklin Watts published a series of Hi-Lo books. These “high interest” books at a low reading level were supposed to appeal to reluctant teen readers. It was a notable series in that subjects tackled in these novels included hit and run car accidents, hitchhikers, teenage pregnancy, drug use, and more. Many of the books were written by first time novelists. Others were penned by prolific YA authors such as Kin Platt and Walter Dean Myers. Many of these titles were later reprinted by Dell as part of the Laurel Leaf Library series. What makes these books stand out to me is that they were illustrated with black and white photos throughout. Similar to fumetti, these books have the feel for a screenplay for some long forgotten afterschool specials. I have previously written about my favorite authors who wrote entries in this series: Norman Borisoff and Ellen Rabinowich. Below you will find the covers and jacket copy for two more of these hard-to-find books.
The Hitchhikers by Paul Thompson. Photos by Susan Kuklin. Franklin Watts, 1980.
A Test of Love by Bill Powers. Photos by Bill Aron. Franklin Watts, 1979.