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Monday, July 26, 2010

There are People who don't read YA!!!?!

Yes indeed, there are people who don't read YA. This is incomprehensible to me because, I read YA because I work with teens all day. I read YA because I write YA. I read YA because I love it. And if you took any of these things away, I would still be a reader of YA.

I'm thinking of it because my Young Adult Literature elective was so popular at scheduling time that they had to add three sections into the schedule. Only problem is with my English classes, my creative writing, my new Speculative Fiction class, I can't teach all of them!

The guy who is teaching the extra YA Lit class is a good English teacher. But he doesn't read YA. I use Hunger Games and Speak with my 10th grade classes, he uses The Hobbit. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I worship Tolkien. Nonetheless, I would not teach The Hobbit as a class book.

So this brings me back to...there are people, readers! who don't read Young Adult! My mom reads it because I pass books along to her. My husband reads it, though he loves MG more. My friends read it. But some adults, particularly those my age and older, don't.

I guess because it's not for them. But, like someone on Absolute Write pointed out in a recent thread about adults reading more YA, everyone (every adult, I should say) has been through the trauma that is adolescence.

I just feel so lucky to be in contact with the world of YA literature so completely, otherwise I would have missed some fabulous books.

Anyway, because I want those kids who signed up for the Young Adult literature class that I created to have the best possible experience, I'm working on my curriculum and book list, even though I'm not teaching it until second semester.

Picking the right selection of books is hard. There are a lot of variables, for class books I pick books that appeal to a wide variety of students. For a literature class I can pick books more specific to a certain type of reader.
I don't give absolute choice because part of the goal of the class is to expose students to new books. I give a list of 30-40 books and they have to pick 3. (this is for a 9 weeks class). My hope is to find books that appeal to all the students, and also introducing them to different books that appeal to them. Last year we were wildly successful, with kids who had only read sci/fi, fantasy, and Manga falling in love with 13 Reasons Why, with kids who refused to consider non Sarah Dessen type realistic books loving Wicked Lovely.

I'm working on my list, will post it tomorrow. Any suggestions that you think HAVE to be on the curriculum for a Young Adult Literature class?

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Blogger Angie said...

Ok, I'm laughing at your colleague teaching Tolkien for YA lit. :) A few recommendations: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, Graffiti Girl by Kelly Para (a good multicultural choice). Of course everyone will say John Green so I've opted out of those ones. :)

July 26, 2010 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger bethany said...

Oh, he's not teaching it as YA Lit, it's for regular English class. I'm probably the only teacher at my school who uses all YA in my English classes. I just think (despite my love for fantasy and LOTR) that there are better books to appeal to the kids.

Thanks for the suggestions, I'm already using most of those! :)

July 26, 2010 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger bethany said...

So, I should say thanks for the validation! Since I'm using them. (duh) :)

July 26, 2010 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Nomes (inkcrush) said...

I've tried to get my mother in law and sisters to read YA and they think I'm odd when they check my bookshelves. So much goodness they are missing out on! However, my husband will read it for me :)

Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden is absolutely brilliant and is used in many schools here in Australia. One of my favourite books of all time. (Yay for the moving coming out in 42 days... :) It's about 7 teenagers who go camping and when they return, Australia has been invaded and the teens go all guerilla warfare. Lots of action and relationship and themes of killing random teenagers who fight on the other side, etc... It's intense and addictive :)

Plus, Stolen by Lucy Christopher is completely shattering and really messed with my mind - would spark many moral debates and issues with Stockholms syndrome and motivations etc. beautiful book. Plus, set in the Australian outback, what's not to love? (The setting is almost a character in itself, it is so richly drawn)

I love all the ones Angie said too :)


July 26, 2010 at 3:45 PM  

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