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.
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.