Today, I'm just going to ramble about the content of children's books and age appropriateness/
Reading can give children (anyone, really) great impressions. But even more so when you're young. You can get powerful things across via reading. You can make people realise wonderful things via reading. You can also traumatise someone via reading. Understandably, people control what their children read fairly tightly.
Young Adult literature can cover some really big issues. Rape, death, drugs, abuse, suicide, and all kinds of things. Cat Clarke (Entangled and Undone), Malorie Blackman (most of her YA works) and Melvin Burgess (Junk) go for big things, and in my library at least, you're not allowed to get some things out unless you're a certain age or have parental permission. I would like to thank these authors, and all authors writing "issues" books for handling these things sensitively, helping people to talk about things that may be difficult to bring up in othersettings.
There was a big thing in The Daily Fail about Sick-lit, like The Fault in our Stars and Before I Die, and lots of people had comments about "young people shouldn't be exposed to things like that" and all kinds of amusing things. Lucy Queen of Contemporary wrote in an excellent piece defending it, which got a prompt reply from someone else, but anyway. I think that this genre, and all books depicting sh*t lives are especially important for young people because:
- they give people experiencing/that have experienced these things someone to relate to
- they expand world knowledge
- they show that life isn't all sunshine and rainbows
- they open up discussion routes
- they make personal development happen-your views and empathy and people skills grow
- they're good stories.