Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Diarrhea of Books

I have, over the years, taught preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school and adult students.  This has resulted in what can only be described as an illness when it comes to acquiring books for the classroom.  That is to say, I pretend they’re for the classroom, but really, mostly they’re for me.  The sheer, vast number of books that I own has become epic and now that I am no longer in the classroom (as of last Nov., I’m working with teachers more than students in my district) all those books had to find a home inside my (very small) house.  As a result, I declared a moratorium on purchasing picture books, middle grade books, YA books, educational books and anything else that had to do with adolescent literature.  Then, I signed up for a picture books class last semester and a YA lit class this semester.  This ended the moratorium, of course, for I now an excuse to buy some more books - they don’t count because I needed them for class, you see. (The illness is becoming more apparent, isn’t it?)

The truth is, it’s very difficult for me to resist purchasing kids’ books because I love them all.  I particularly love YA literature, though I do think the industry lacks clarity when it comes to what constitutes a YA novel.  This results in a lot of books being marketed to 12 year olds and to 18 year olds, as if they should both be exposed to the same ideas and content.  As a result, I think that authors of kid lit in general, but particularly of YA lit, must be conscientious, not only of the overt messages their books contain, but also of any hidden messages they may not intend, but that readers absorb anyway.

This is the beginning of the semester (my 2nd semester at Seton Hill University in the Writing Popular Fiction program) and my Readings in Genre course this semester is YA literature.  I plan to continue writing my reviews / book journals for the books we read in class as part of this blog.  We’ll see how that goes.  Now I must head off and acquire some of the books we are to read this semester (so excited to add to the plethora of books currently overtaking my household).

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