Monday, June 6, 2011

A Photo, a debate, and a heartbreaking story

3 things, today. We'll start with the light stuff, and leave you with the heavy. Why? Not because I'm mean, but because the heavy is the most important. It's been proven that people remember the first and last things in a list, or a variety show, whatever. I want you to remember this last thing.


the shawl that I just started totally looks like a Luna Moth. Right?

Next up, a debate on YA books.

The Wall Street Journal posted this article, or blog I guess, since it is entirely this one woman's misguided opinion on how "dark" YA has become, and should we be (she says no, we shouldn't) be letting our teenagers read this.

Read that first.

Then read THIS response to it by the wonderfully reasonable and funny Linda Holmes of NPR Books "Monkey See" blog.

As I'm sure you've already guessed, I completely agree with Linda Holmes. I usually do. Especially on her opinion of Twilight, but that is not what we're talking about here.

Tell me: if we shouldn't be letting teenagers read dark books, should we be letting them watch television at all? I'm not even talking tv shows. I'm talking NEWS. The WORLD is dark, especially when you're a teenager. And yes, some people had gloriously happy, stress free, golden teenage years. This is not the norm. It's why every YA book has, at its core, the same damn plot (something that I find endlessly irritating, but again, not the topic of discussion).

Girls feel enormous pressure to be pretty and skinny, and yes, it leads to eating disorders. I can think of two without really trying from my graduating class of 80 kids.

Teenagers cut themselves. Again, can think of two without much thought.
They think of suicide, they try alcohol, sex and drugs.

Letting them read only books about butterflies and rainbows isn't going to change this. Letting them read books about tough and, to a certain extent taboo, topics will make them feel like they're not alone.

And I agree with Linda that reading these things isn't going to turn them all into any crazier people than the overload of hormones already has. Just like as an adult reading Misery will not turn you into Kathy Bates.

But maybe they'll realize that they're not alone. Maybe it will scare them straight. Do they want to die like Alice, or should they seek help for their addictions?

YA has its place. And while I do think that the majority of it is cookie cutter drivel, there are some that are worthwhile stories that need to be read. But that's just me. I am a firm believer in parenting, not sheltering.

Sheltered kids are the most dangerous kind, because they know nothing, and that will always, ALWAYS get them into trouble.

Finally, I present you with a blog post about AIDS. It has been 30 years since the first reported cases of AIDS, and it is no less heartbreaking and important a topic than it was then.

You can find the article HERE. It is beautiful, and painfully sad.
I leave you a quote from it, from an anonymous person who put their thoughts into a time capsule 30 years ago:

Look back in wonder. Prepare for the next time.
Do not forget us.

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