When I wrote my last blog post, I was livid. In the 30-45 minutes I spent writing, Maureen Johnson had mobilized Twitter, asking her followers (and their followers) to express what young adult literature had done for them. I set up an archive for the tweets, which you can find here. When I got up at 4 this morning, there were almost 10,000 tweets (thought the most recent tweets seem to carry the hashtag only because it’s trending). According to MJ, it took 20 minutes for #YASaves to become the third highest trend in the United States.
I teach 8th grade reading. Every day, young people enter my classroom and as they do, I am asking them to trust me. I ask them to trust that I won’t have them do anything without a reason, that anything I ask them to do I either plan on doing myself or have done myself. I ask them to trust me enough to tell me the truth when I ask them what they like in order to make appropriate book recommendations, and then I ask them to trust that coming to me and saying, “This isn’t working for me, can we find something else,” is an appropriate response to a novel.
I’ll admit that I’ve taught young people who were not trustworthy. At the same time I have to admit that I know adults that are not trustworthy. By not trusting young people with their book selections it’s almost like saying that their thoughts, ideas, opinions and life experiences are invalid. By saying that young people should not read “dark” fiction is like saying “your experience is abnormal and no one should have to read about it.”
I read through the archive and come back to this: YA authors, you are rock stars. Young people, you, too, are rock stars. It is an honor and a privilege to get to work with such amazing young people and connect with them through books written by amazing authors.
There is more that I want to say about this, but I think I’ll give it a rest for now.
Thank you for being awesome.