Posts Tagged: YA Lit

20 Years of Latino Children’s Literature

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The American Library Association’s Pura Belpré Awards just had its 20th anniversary this past weekend, celebrating two decades of outstanding Latino writers and illustrators who create books for Latino children and teens. The Monitor reported on the event, which featured dozens of prominent Latino authors and illustrators whose work has showcased and celebrated Latino culture, heritage, and experience with the hopes of instilling pride in young Latino readers.

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Why Some Voices Are “Stronger” than Others in YA Lit

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At the School Library Journal, Kelly Jensen examines gender norms and double standards in YA fiction, questioning which female protagonists we refer to as “strong”—and why do not refer to male voices as such:

When women take risks in their writing, when they choose to write female-driven narratives with take-no-bull girls who may not care at all whether you like them or not, they’re not seen as brave.

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Does Age Matter?

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With the publication of several new young adult novels by teen authors, Julia Eccleshare wonders if age impacts a novelist’s ability to connect with younger readers. In addition, Eccleshare returns to the origins of the young adult genre, and investigates the influence of popular works by John Green, Judy Blume, and Beverly Cleary.

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Honest About the Body

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At the Guardian, Sarah Hughes profiles young adult author Louise O’Neill, whose novels Only Ever Yours and Asking For It have received acclaim for embracing “dark themes” surrounding body image, sex, and social media:

When I wrote Only Ever Yours it was at a time when I was so sick and tired of feeling shame around my body and so weary of fighting the fact that women are seen as less in so many ways.

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The Rumpus Interview with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

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Producer Jeff Sommerville, director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, and the cast of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl discuss their movie that went to Sundance and beyond. ...more

Would You Rather Babysit Cathy Ames or Christine Hargensen?

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What do Yukio Mishima, Tana French, Shirley Jackson, and John Steinbeck have in common?

They’re the masterminds behind a couple of the most evil fictional youngsters of all time, according to a list compiled by British bookstore Abebooks. The list shuns contemporary malevolent characters in favor of the “utterly evil” children of yore, reasoning: “While Draco, Augustus, Violet and Veruca may be distasteful, they are actually quite mild-mannered compared to some of the horrible children literature has to offer.”

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The Rumpus Interview with Matthew Baker

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"Master fictioneer" Matthew Baker talks about his new middle grade novel, If You Find This, artists as tricksters, his favorite comic strips, and why children are still capable of believing in impossible things. ...more

Conversations with Literary Ex-Cons #8: Jack Gantos

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Jack Gantos discusses the sense of “delusional invincibility” he had in 1970s New York that led him to prison—and then on to a career as an award-winning children’s book author. ...more

The Rumpus Interview with Daniel José Older

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Author Daniel José Older talks about his new novel, Shadowshaper, noir influence in urban fantasy, gentrification, white privilege and the publishing industry, and why we need diverse books, now more than ever. ...more

Where We’ve Been

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It’s hard to enjoy reading Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time when the stack of books on your bedside table keeps reminding you of all the cultural capital you have yet to consume. Flavorwire’s Sarah Seltzer wonders why we stop re-reading our favorite books as we get older:

I’ve come to understand that I’ll rarely experience that first rush of discovery again, and perhaps that’s the problem with re-reading.

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YA’s Last Taboo

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Sex scenes in YA, the kind that (gulp) turn us on and make our cheeks flush and get our hearts racing, have never been more important than they are now. Stories that give protagonists flesh and bone and heart and all that goes with being in a body also give us a portrait of sexual intimacy born of desire, of need for one’s partner, of passionate love and want and its fulfillment, of playfulness and fun and joy.

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The Fault in Our Sentences

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Hit young adult novels may spread like wildfire, but they don’t grow on trees. The Times profiles Julie Strauss-Gabel, a YA editor known for whipping her writers into shape:

The last thing you want is an author saying, ‘That’s what’s selling right now, so that’s what I’m going to write.’ That’s the point at which a trend gets icky.

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Girl Not in Your MFA

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That Guy in Your MFA is neither a guy nor a student in an MFA program. He’s actually a woman, Dana Schwartz, a Brown University undergraduate. Schwartz also runs the twitter Dystopian YA Novel that satirizes series like Divergent. She tells Chicago Reader that she invented the alter egos because her writing workshops had too many stories about guys on trains:

“They all had trains,” she says, “and a man leaving his family because he is too complicated and deep.

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Not-So-Young Adults

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Good news! Early reports show that book sales are up 4.9 percent in 2014. Who can we thank for this Christmas miracle? Adults who read e-book versions of YA novels, that’s who. Sales are up by a dramatic 53 percent in YA/Children’s e-books, while sales in Adult Fiction/Nonfiction are down 3.3 percent—maybe because all the adults are reading The Hunger Games on their Kindles instead.

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The Rumpus Saturday Essay: Stain

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It’s hard to remember why I was silent. Maybe, like some of the women only now reporting they were raped by Bill Cosby decades ago, I was afraid I wouldn’t be believed. ...more

Skewed Standards

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The YA battle rages on at Flavorwire, where Sarah Seltzer responds to Rebecca Mead’s New Yorker essay pondering the effects of supposedly lowbrow children’s lit:

We have to interrogate our basic assumption that writing skills possessed by educated white people are the best skills around…Humor, action, relatable language, and plotting are not lesser tools in a writer’s toolbox, but equally necessary ones.

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