Sorry, no pictures today…just a soapbox…
I am at a loss.
Not really, but sorta.
Because some adult has once again decided that Young Adult (YA) literature is too…
Have these people taken a look at today’s society? The world these teenagers / YA readers are living in?
The kind of television they watch?
The video games they play?
When I was growing up, Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume was banned by our school because it was too explicit (it discussed in detail a girls’ puberty).
Well, that was the world I lived in. It was scandalous to some adults; the kids didn’t understand what the problem was.
I’m thinking that’s pretty much the case today.
The world we live in is a scary place (have you watched the news lately?). The kids who live in this world have a lot of issues they face today. Adults would like to believe that teens are oblivious, but NEWSFLASH they aren’t!
There is war, death, kidnappings, suicides, rapes, incest, torture, shootings, depression, drugs and that is just on the news. These are issues that are real to teens and even pre-teens today.
These subjects are not new, they are just more common in literature today. As a librarian, I couldn’t keep Christopher Pike or R.L. Stein on the shelves for pre-teens or teens. These are authors that I read more than 20 years ago, by the way.
Everyone keeps talking about wanting their teens to read. The schools even demand they read a certain number of books each year, taking tests and building Accelerated Reading points to prove these books were read.
The key is often finding something these teens can relate to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard parents complain, “I can’t get my child to read!” I always ask to speak to the teen (if possible) and these are the questions I ask.
“What do you like to read?” I don’t (like to read).
“Okay. What movies do you like to watch?”
And from there I can usually find SOMETHING they are willing to pick up and actually READ. Many come back and *GASP* ask me to help them find something else like it!
I mean really, most kids / teens today aren’t asked what THEY would like to read. They are often just given books to read as assignments or brought home from the library by well meaning parents. Kids today want something they can relate to, something that has characters they can relate to. They don’t always appreciate the books we loved at their age (I’ve learned this the hard way).
Many teens choose adult fiction to read.
I know this.
I am a librarian.
The higher the grade, the more likely they are to choose adult fiction – among the favorites: Stephen King, John Grisham and Jodi Picoult.
Let’s see here…
All you women out there, admit it, Jodi Picoult tackles some tough issues and there is rarely a truly happy ending.
And, Stephen King, ‘nough said.
I also know a LOT of adults who read YA books.
If a parent isn’t sure about the book, READ it YOURSELF! If there are some tough issues there, use it as a catalyst for a discussion with your teen (pre-teen). Don’t judge an entire book by its’ dustcover or the synopsis on the back of the book. If, after reading the book, you don’t feel it is appropriate, choose a different genre of book!
But, keep in mind, the best way to ensure your teen will read a book is to ban it.
My 10 (almost 11 yr) old reads at a 10th grade level. She just finished reading the Lightening Thief series and the Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan. Would I let her read the Hunger Games? Not at 10, but maybe in a few years. I am her PARENT. I am PARENTING. I have read many of these books, I l-o-v-e YA literature!
If you don’t want your kids reading these books, by all means, that is your choice. But to criticize my parenting, my library and my choices by your standards is just RUDE!