Why YA Lit?

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Young adult literature has always been one of my favorites genres, probably since I’m not too far out of my teen years. As a future teacher, I need to be knowledgeable—and dare I say it—passionate about the books my students will be reading.

This week, I’ve been reading A LOT. I’ve read while walking to classes, walking to and from practice, sitting in the ice baths, and riding home from a meet. I’ve read for hours on end, curled on a couch and nestled up in my blankets on my bed. In the quiet moments of shedding tears for a character and wondering how anything is going to possibly work out, I wonder why I ever take breaks from reading.

Shannon Hale makes a wonderfully compelling case for the popularity of YA lit topics and why they shouldn’t been seen as tired or cliche.

I believe that teenagers need those years to get messy, to make mistakes, to fall in love all the time instantly and slowly with him/her, then him/her, to complain, to fight, to struggle for independence but then still need comfort and safety, to live an entire lifetime condensed into a few volatile, fascinating, difficult, beautiful years.

Some of the YA books I have read have made me roll my eyes at the over used plot-line and the dramatics of the story. Hale’s article showed me that I should be ecstatic about what my students are interested in.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a comfort zone. My zone is contemporary and romantic young adult literature. This semester, I have been trying to grow my horizons by exploring the world of the graphic novel. I’m also trying to dip my toes into the fantasy and mystery genres.

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Photo by Eric Chan (Flickr)

If I’m going to truly and try and reach students who are reluctant readers, or even just at a loss for where to go next, I need to have a wide and sweeping knowledge of YA lit. My favorite genres are not going to cut it. I firmly believe that in order to foster a love for reading in my students; I need to have this love first to show.

This year, I am going to accept YA lit for the emotional, consuming, and raw mess it is. I am going to consume everything I can get my hands on for the students I will soon have.

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12 responses to “Why YA Lit?

  1. I don’t think I could do ice baths, but maybe the books help not to think about it :oD. I LOVE the you a passionate for YA, and your students will be lucky because of it!

    • I definitely don’t enjoy the ice baths, but they are kind of essential to me. The books help–that’s for sure. Thank you for the compliment! That’s very sweet of you. I owe it to my students to be the best I can be!

  2. Sounds like you’ve been reading a ton this week, Nicky! I absolutely love your post. The quote that you pulled from Hale’s article is so beautiful. Your students will be incredibly lucky to have you as a teacher someday! 🙂

  3. I’m glad someone finally listened about the Jason Reynolds books! Have you read Gilead yet? A friend gave it to me and I didn’t get through it. Maybe I should try again but I don’t have a lot of time for fun reading right now.

  4. I had not read much of what I wanted to read since I got to college. I just read what I was assigned and quit reading. This class has made me realize how much I miss reading a good teen romance or fantasy novel. Great blog post!

  5. I just love that image of you walking around campus reading a book! Graphic novels are just about my favorite books ever now, so I hope you will find several to fall in love with this semester. I never read YA mysteries, so that’s a genre I should explore too. Not even sure where I’d start! Off to research! And yes to being passionate. I feel like other people try to shame us out of our enthusiasm, and I spent too many years trying to temper my energy and passion and act cool and collected. No more!

    • I was very proud of myself for not tripping! I did come close a couple times. Let me know if you find any great mysteries. I’m a little a lot loss for that genre.

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