Sunday, September 28, 2008

Shooting Fish In A Barrell

What am I doing for fun this fine Sunday Morning? Getting a chuckle out of Kid Lit Unlabelled from Ottawa Citizen.Com.

While the bulk of the article reports on age banding (written for an audience who hasn't already read about it months ago on blogs), unfortunately, it was framed with stuff made of fail.

My faves:

Children read largely to learn about the adult world, and adults sometimes still choose books for their "inner child."
A generation ago, kids were meant to go unimpeded from the felicities of Charlotte's Web to those of Jane Austen. Now they may be steered into a ghetto of "issues" plots heavy on crackheads and dropouts, homelessness and shoplifting.
It's a niche for which many writers write. But as downbeat subject matter, this fare may create as much reading reluctance as it overcomes.
Sandy White, of Kids In Print, gets around that ghetto by instead recommending contemporary fantasy-historical-adventure stories -- a sub-genre that has taken off on the coattails of Harry Potter.

It ends noting that the author of the article is a Victoria writer and former librarian. I at first misread it as Victorian writer.

And you know, in a way HP is historical fiction. Remember, Harry was born in 1980. So all those adventures ended ages ago.


Carlie Webber said...

And there's that word again: Ghetto. I do not think it means what she thinks it means. And fantasy is TOTALLY the way to get to recluctant readers. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

It feels so plodding and heavy to me when the "issue" drives the story rather than the plot or characters... The story has no sparkle--no fun for kids or for the adult who might be reading to her.

Sarah Stevenson said...

Heh--no wonder you misread it as "Victorian writer."

As a YA writer I find it really frustrating when people dismiss almost all YA books as "issue" books. Generally, that sentiment seems to emerge from people who don't actually read widely within YA...big surprise.