All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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Support Teen Literature Day

April 16 is Support Teen Literature Day. Though the obvious audience for teen literature day is teens; there's a large adult following for young adult literature, too. Many of the most popular young adult books of the last several years have crossed over to older audiences--Twilight and the Harry Potter series have been read by discussed in adult book groups.

But library and bookstore shelves are full of other books that could appeal to adults as well.

1. Teen angst. Often those who don't know much about YA literature deride the genre as all teen angst."But what are Oprah books? Full of stories of addiction, unfulfilling relationships, children dying, suburban malaise? In other words, adult angst. Angst is often what makes a story good. Try such books as Mary Pearson's A Room on Lorelei Street and John Green's Looking for Alaska.

2. Escapism. Lots of teens read purely to escape (see Twilight and Harry Potter, but they also escape into other people's problems, which explains the perennial popularity of A Child Called It. What can be more escapist for an adult than the problems of a teenager?

3. Based on a movie. Again, our obvious two, but there are many other movies that were teen fiction books first - and they aren't all obvious! Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Invisible, and All the Way (the movie was called Sex Drive) are three from just the past year alone.

  4. Literary Quality. YA lit detractors might also be shocked at the high literary quality of some of today's most popular YA novels. Also, many books published as YA here in the states were actually published as adult novels overseas. Really, this genre labeling is just a marketing tool, and doesn't mean much more than that. Look to The Book Thief, or the books of M.T. Anderson for some great examples of literary fiction. Or take a look at the Printz Awards list.

5. What's in a Label?  Honestly, many books have sophisticated covers, plots, and presentation. If they weren't sitting on a young adult shelf, but just in a general display or new book area, or given as a gift, many readers wouldn't even know.

Happy Support Teen Literature Day!

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