June 8, 2011
Lately, I have been reading numerous responses to a recent newspaper article that trashed Young Adult literature as too dark for young people to read. If you haven't read it, go to Laurie Halse Andersen's blog here which also gives the link for the article along with her response. It seems that much talk among teachers, parents and librarians has been sparked by this and I am concerned that this article may drive more attempts at book censorship in our schools and libraries.
However, in my reading, I found a blog that proposes we combat the furor by linking to that blog with recommendations of many YA books that aren't necessarily 'edgy and dark', but great literature that helps students (maybe all of us) figure out how and why people act the way they do. I'm not saying that one should be ignoring any books; 'edgy and dark' is what you personally make of it, but it is a response that is positive. The link to this idea is here, and it is called "The Light and Round Project", posted by Jennifer Bertman.
My first recommendation for your project, Jennifer, is last year's National Book Award winner, by Judy Blundell, called What I Saw, and How I Lied. It's an excellent mystery, showing well the challenges of a young girl growing up and discovering the realities of her family life, as well as that which is most important in life.
Thanks for tackling this topic Linda. I love the name of the project “Light and Round”! And I found it interesting that Gurdon, in the original WSJ piece, also recommended “What I Saw and How I Lied.” I did find the “The Marbury Lens” in the YA of a local bookstore recently. I skimmed through it and put it back, wondering what the criteria for YA was now a days. It seemed gratuitous on the order of a teen/gore/horror flick. Why lump all YA into one category though? We could make it easier: have two sub-genres “books your parents would approve of” and ‘books your parents don’t want you reading.’ ☺ Personally I try to read through the Bible (out-loud, we take turns reading) with my teens before they leave home. It is a bit dark and edgy, especially a book like Judges, but great for starting all sorts of good conversations, not to mention creating context for lots of adult literature in the western tradition.ReplyDelete