Monday, June 9, 2014

Young Adult Fiction and Adults

On June 5, an opinion piece was published on Slate's website, in which the author stated that adults who read young adult literature should be ashamed to do so. This article resulted in a Twitter campaign called #PromoteaYAinstead. Started by Lauren DeStefano, author of the popular young adult trilogy The Chemical Garden (which includes the books Wither, Fever, and Sever), the campaign has taken off; it was one of the top trending hashtags on Twitter in the United States:
Authors and readers have all been participating, sharing their favorite young adults books and why they aren't ashamed to read young adult fiction. Here is what some people have said.

ABC Library staff also love reading young adult and middle grade fiction. I asked some of my colleagues why, and what books they would recommend. Here's what they said.

"Reading anything is an integral part of becoming a well-balanced individual. As a well-balanced individual myself, I enjoy a diverse range of literature, not limited to 'adult' books. While my reading repertoire includes the mature works of Dickens and Hawthorne, I'm by no means 'embarrassed' to have a YA book in hand at any given time. . . . I believe that any book can change your life, if you aren't ashamed to pick it up. I love exploring children's literature, because more often than not, they grab me emotionally and resonate with my own life experiences, more so than most 'adult' books. They are not all innocence and laughs, and my greatest enjoyment of reading comes from digging under the silliness and discovering the wisdom in the pages. I would easily read. . .Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, over and over again!"

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

"Because I can! But aside from that it's about simplicity. When you read a YA novel, you can expect it to be something you can move quickly through. You can enjoy the journey without getting hung up on things like lengthy scenarios or words that somebody scoured the thesaurus for. Life is full of things to do. Between work and school and kids, you don't always have time to devote to a tome. We want something fast and satisfying. I think one of the biggest points to be made in this discussion is Harry Potter, which tons of adults have read and are fans of the series. None of them seem to be embarrassed. It's due in large part to the fact that it is a fantastic journey and you watch the characters change and develop and the journey is nothing short of magical. And in that respect it is about Growth. It's about Change. It's about 'watching' a character fall in love for the first time, or catch their first dragon or discover the essence of who they are. Making friends and losing friends. The list goes on and on. It's about the lessons that the characters learn and the reminders that those lessons give us. I read picture books for those same life lessons and reminders."

If you're an adult and you read young adult and children's literature, don't be ashamed. Celebrate your interests and reading habits instead!

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