Wednesday, May 13, 2009


After recently finishing WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson and sharing it with several of my 8th grade students, I was interested to read Anderson MySpace blog yesterday. Evidently, the book has sparked interest and criticism due to its subject matter.

This article was linked on Anderson's blog. I popped over and read the article. My personal opinion about the comments made are that people don't give teens enough credit. Many of the books I make available to my students are about controversial and sometimes "heavy" subjects. My thinking is that when exposed to difficult subjects and shown the tragic consequences through YA literature, teens can experience through the lives of characters and learn important lessons, thus avoiding major mistakes in their own lives.

Today I asked my 70 eighth graders what they thought about the topic. Their overwhelming response was that they don't appreciate being treated like they can't handle serious issues. Many of them commented that they thought it was ridiculous for adults to assume that because a teen reads a book involving drugs, drinking, anorexia, etc. that the teen will be influenced to experiment with that sort of risky behavior. Reading provides a safe way to learn from the mistakes of others.

The conclusion - Chill out critics of YA lit. Give the teens some credit for reading and then thinking for themselves!

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