It’s Teen Literature Day today (April 12, 2012)!
I love young adult fiction and I’ve been reading it far into my adulthood. The themes that wrap around some of the best teen literature are so heart wrenching and emotional and deal with so many intense issues of life. The societal concerns that the best of them address can be hard for many people to digest, but just as life isn’t a vase of roses all the time, neither should books be only about cheerful topics.
The best books make us think, make us change our thinking, and mold our thinking to allow us to be better people. With each generation, there are books that young people love and that great English teachers make us read. Ultimately, these same books are those that some parents and groups start waving their arms (and flapping their tongues) about.
In my opinion, if you’ve raised your children right, they will understand the context of the book, especially if you take the time to discuss with them the content. Most books are written, in fact, by the author to encourage the opposite of what naysayers accuse. To stop bullying. To stop the downward cycle of human nature. To halt the ending of the Earth on which we live. To simply help young people learn right from wrong, or feel as if someone else cares about them and about humanity.
Look at the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, for instance. This book series has won multiple awards for the last five years. This year, it became huge, but it wasn’t a new release. The subject matter suddenly became a source of many conversations. Most people couldn’t get past the “tagline” that started rotating around to describe it as a “fight to the death,” which to me is a very vague synopsis of the jist of the book. I am anxiously finishing up reading Mockingjay, the third in the Hunger Games series. Once complete, I’ll finally be publishing my blog about the Hunger Games series of books and the Hunger Games movie. I’m loving the series and I’m going to tell you why when I blog. I encountered all kinds of negative feedback in letting my eight-year-old read it and I’ll get into that also.
In the meantime, here are a few of MY Top Ten favorite young adult books/stories of all time. Let me know in the comments if you agree, or want to add to the list. Just list them in the comments.
1. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier, 1974
2.) I am the Cheese, by Robert Cormier, 1977
3.) When She Hollers, by Cynthia Voigt, 1994
4.) The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, 1948
5.) Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, by Judy Blume, 1970
6.) Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry, 1989
7.) Island of the Blue Dolphin, by Scott O’Dell, 1960
8.) The Chronicles of Narnia (1-7), by C.S. Lewis, 1948
9.) A Wrinkle in Time (and series), by Madeline L’Engle, 1962
10.) The Host, by Stephenie Meyer, 2008
Of course there are many more, like the Harry Potter series and even Hunger Games, so let me hear from you. What books do you remember as a kid? What books influenced you? Leave a note in the comments.
Happy National Library Week!!