Slate trolled the internet hard this past weekend with a post perfectly positioned to enrage book Twitter into a storm of anger, disapproval and (maybe?) anxiety. Titled “Against YA” – with the delicious URL expounding that “adults should be embarrassed to read children’s books” – the article posits that young adult literature is too simple, satisfying and immature to be worth the time of full-on grownups. The internet erupted with praise and acclaim to all the wonderful books written for children and young adults that shaped them into the readers they became, books that they return to as adults, books they’ve come to for the first time with great enjoyment and appreciation. To paraphrase the immortal words of Hansel, YA is so hot right now. Haters: back off.
As someone with a background in education and literature, I do empathize with the outraged. Reading is so important, so critical to success that children should be reading whatever engages them, be it graphic novels or the side of cereal boxes. The same goes for adults! How else to learn about the world around you, to empathize with others through experiencing the world through their eyes in a book. And there are so many great YA books these days! Or more accurately: there are so many YA books these days! If you throw a bunch of books at a wall, at least a few will stick, right? Continue reading