Tuesday, June 14, 2011

YA Saves II: Teens Speak Out!

Okay, so by now, that Wall Street Journal article bashing YA books is old news, right? And on Paper Hangover last week, the lovely Holly Dodson polled some of our co-bloggers on how YA books changed our lives. I decided to carry this a bit further and ask some of my students and former students about this issue.

When asked about which YA/childrens book has changed their lives, or even helped them out, here were some commonly mentioned titles:

Firegirl by Tony Abbott

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Beastly by Alex Finn

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

However, the most praised YA book by most teens that I've spoken to is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I shared with Holly last week about how this novel really resonated with one of my male students. A few more teens wanted to share their thoughts on it:

"This book opened my eyes because you never really know what a person is going through. It made me realize that what I say or do can really affect others' lives"--Jenny, Age 14

"After reading this book, I realized the smallest things we say might have a huge effect on people. I found myself watching what I said a lot more carefully, and I had a close regard for others' feelings.

On the flip side, there are books like Twilight. I've read the books, but that doesn't mean I'm going out and looking for a vampire or werewolf."--Kaitlyn, Age 15

There you have it. No matter how dark a book may be, it more than likely has helped at least one teen out there. And, what do you know, teens are even smart enough to not be influenced by certain subject matters. They'll leave the glittering vamps to Stephenie Meyer. :)

Do you know of any teens that has been truly helped by a YA book?


Marquita Hockaday said...

Thanks for sharing this, Pam! I think it's a nice touch to hear from the people that YA is actually marketed toward. Getting their feedback is much more valuable than anything else.

To answer your question, one of my students said Beastly helped her to realize that appearances aren't everything and another student told me the same for Firegirl. This is one of the messages that teens need to read/hear/see the most. That way we can get some of these superficial ideals out of the next generation :)

I think it's great to hear from actual teens who are going against that lame WSJ article. Great post!

Holly Dodson said...

This is great, Pam! I think teens are a lot smarter and more in tune with what's going on around them than some people realize.

Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...

as a YA, I love this post

Alicia Gregoire said...

This is great. Hear that WSJ?

Yahong Chi said...

OH. MY. GOD. The Book Thief, yes yes yes yes. I cry every time I read that book -- it's SUCH an enlightening way to share Nazi Germany history with us teens.

Pam Harris said...

I definitely need to read The Book Thief. Everyone tells me how life-changing it is. Thanks for the comments! :)

Racquel Henry said...

Nice post sis. I like the point that Kaitlyn made about vampires. It's called fiction for a reason. :)