Teenage Books – Too Dark?

Recently in The Wall Street Journal, Meghan Cox Gurdon who writes regularly about books for them had an article entitled Darkness Too Visible about the current state of books for young adults. The tag line was Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity? Why is this considered a good idea?

As a teacher and a former media specialist I have always read children’s literature. I have taken courses on it. I read the latest Caldecott and Newbery books. I have given talks to parents about what books are good to read to their children. I have compiled lists of books for children to read at various ages.  I even today read children’s literature and I think Gurdon asks a good question. Some of this has existed in teen books for sometime but when I recently walked through the young adults section in my public library I was surprised as to how many vampire books there were, and like Gurdon saw books that made me wonder, is this what we are offering our teens?

Gurdon gives many examples which some parents would find objectionable. Just as parents are careful of what their children, including their teens watch on tv and what movies they are allowed to see, they need to be aware of what they are reading. Publishers want to publish books and as Gurdon said, “it may be that the book industry’s ever-more-appalling offerings for adolescent readers spring from a desperate desire to keep books relevant for the young. Still, everyone does not share the same objectives. The book business exists to sell books; parents exist to rear children, and oughtn’t be daunted by cries of censorship.”

What books did you read as a child that you would recommend to children?

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