Twitter and the blogosphere are abuzz again with the news that Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has been challenged as required reading in a Queens school.
This discussion is important and multifaceted. Maren Williams’ post at CBLDF, titled “Adult Anxieties Over Young Adult Fiction Endure,” does an excellent job of collecting authors’ experiences and succinctly presenting the important points about the fear of YA as a genre:
Many adults profess to believe that Young Adult books dealing with topics such as sex, violence, bullying, drugs and alcohol, rape and abuse, or suicide and self-harm encourage those behaviors rather than simply reflect their existence in the lives of many teens.
Williams quotes Sherman Alexie’s 2011 article in the WSJ, during which I got pretty teary thinking about the students I have known who barely speak but read, read, read:
As a child, I read because books–violent and not, blasphemous and not, terrifying and not– were the most loving and trustworthy things in my life. I read widely, and loved plenty of the classics so, yes, I recognized the domestic terrors faced by Louisa May Alcott’s March sisters. But I became the kid chased by werewolves, vampires, and evil clowns in Stephen King’s books. I read books about monsters and monstrous things, often written with monstrous language, because they taught me how to battle the real monsters in my life.
Let’s keep talking about this, k?