Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Young Adult Literature Bridges Generations

If you didn't know about Young Adult novels until now, chances are you're a boomer.
Around age nine I had finished all the books in the children's department of our local library. At the time my parents and I lived in a rural northern province in the Netherlands. Used to reading, or at least looking through my parents' collection, books on history, in particular WWII, Agatha Christie and Pearl Buck novels, I automatically moved on, borrowing books I claimed were for my dad. Claimed, because I was denied access the first time I brought an adult book to the check-out table, and truthfully said I was excited about reading that particular book.

Found out by the librarian at a later time —borrowing books supposedly for my father who was ill, yet reporting on a certain title with the enthusiasm of the reader— I was forced back to the "age appropriate" section of the small library.

Fast forward to 2000 when I became aware of a YA section at the Seattle Public Library, thanks to the display table positioned immediately inside the entrance of the Greenwood branch. The aim of the librarians was to attract teens of course, but I was drawn in as well.

"Is kissing a girl who smokes like licking an ashtray?" was the first YA book I took home with me,
and from there on I kept going back for more. Recognizing yourself in teen lit can help bridge the schism between you and teens in your life. Did you forget how much you relied on the connection with your best friend? Or how lost you felt between being your parents' pet, and turning into a (young) adult? The literature geared toward YA of today can help you recall, and realize, you made it out of those horrid years too. Right? Or perhaps being a teenager wasn't that terrible for you, all the better. At any rate, YA lit can open eyes on both sides, parents and teens, it may be hard to grasp, but you do have something in common.

Many of my writer friends write for the YA market, so while our present
neighborhood library has no table for YA lit near the entrance —their focus groups change from week to week— I'm staying abreast Online of what's out there. YA lit is not a grey area, but colorful and exciting, as you are bound to find out. Explore the list of new an exciting titles on the site of Book-ish, and stock up for summer.

This work by by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.