I was taking a little break to “Network” — reading tweets from authors and other readers. I learned about this frightful Wall Street Journal article.
It started with Libba Bray’s brilliant and passionate responses:
I’d like to roll my eyes at this article, but I can’t. And not just because one of my eyes doesn’t move that way. But because I genuinely
believe that these articles are hurtful, that they goad banners & keep much-needed books out of the hands of the teens who should be reading
them. Books are, at their heart, dangerous. Yes, dangerous. Because they challenge us: our prejudices, our blind spots. They open us to new
ideas, new ways of seeing. They make us hurt in all the right ways. They can push down the barricades of “them” & widen the circle of “us”
And when one feels alone–say, because of a terrible burden of a secret, something that creates pain and isolation, books can heal, connect
That’s what good books do. That’s what hard books do. And we need them in the world. I’m going to shut up now, @WSJ. But only for a little
while and only because I want dessert.
Then, Maureen Johnson asked people to post their own stories of how reading YA has helped them, with the hashtag #YASaves. The stories that followed are simply incredible.
One of many things that got to me about the article: If the woman who couldn’t find a good current YA novel had gone to a LIBRARY instead of to a bookstore, where Librarians with Master’s degrees work, I am absolutely sure that she could have found a current YA novel that she would have been happy to give to her teen. Librarians are knocked in the article for giving dark books to teens. We’re actually quite good at finding the right book for the right reader. And we could even find a book that would make that mother happy. And if she let her own teen pick a book, we could find a book that would make her happy.
And we might find a book that would save her life.