Saturday 1 June 2013

Armchair BEA-Children's Books

TW-mentions of rape, abuse, suicide and books covering them.

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.


  1. I'm so glad you mentioned the sick lit article (and thanks for the mention!) because it's something that I can get very passionate about!

    I'm actually planning a long ranty post on this later, although I think I may have done one before.

    Really great post! You've got me thinking now. :)

  2. I completely agree - just because something is ugly or sad doesn't mean it should be avoided. Thinking of a teen with cancer is sadder than sad, but isn't it better for a kid to know that cancer isn't the be all and end all? That they might have cancer, but they can still have friends, love and adventure? I don't think we should ever shy our kids from these things, especially at the YA age.

  3. Great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on books with more serious topics. You made some really good points.

    Tamara @ Shelf Addiction

    Check out my Children’s to YA Literature post!

  4. I think you hit most of the points on the head why I love Young Adult books as well. Especially when it comes to talking about tough subjects even if it's in the confines of a Science Fiction or Paranormal book.

    My Post on Children's Literature

  5. This is such a good post and you're totally right about The Daily Fail- but it is in their nature to get EVERYTHING wrong. I think young people are pretty good at self-censorship, I know I was, and if there's something they don't want to/don't feel comfortable reading, they wont do so.

    Cait x

  6. I really like the points you made about children's lit!! I love it myself. It was so nice to "meet" you this week ;) you're one of the blogs I'm telling people to start following! Hehe I listed you in my wrap up post (hope you don't mind?!)

    Dee @ Dee's Reads


Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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