Over the weekend the YA lit world was abuzz with reactions to an article titled “Darkness Too Visible” in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal. Authors such as Cecil Castelucci, Laurie Halse Anderson, Libba Bray wrote impassioned responses, and librarians and others had a lot to say too. On Twitter the hashtag #yasaves was used as people wrote tweet after tweet about the importance of YA lit. On Sunday YALSA Past Presidents Sarah Debraski and Linda Braun chatted about the article and its response. Here is the transcript of that chat.
Linda: Sarah, I was just reading all the Twitter postings on the Wall Street Journal article on YA books. OMG, have you seen it?
Sarah: Yes! I’m not surprised by the reaction to the article. It felt like yet another “gloom and doom all the ya books are so negative and depressing” type article. I think it’s really cool that the reaction has been to twist it into a positive-tweets with the #yasaves hashtag
Linda: Yeah, the #yasaves hashtag is pretty amazing. This morning when I looked it was actually a trending topic on Twitter. I love that it shows the power of YA readers and also how when something is published we can respond quickly, and I hope effectively. That article was just so uninformed that maybe Twitter can help inform.
Sarah: There are so many YA authors on twitter with huge followings that I’m sure they are drawing tons of attention to this.
Linda: That’s actually how I first saw it. It was either Laurie Halse Anderson or Maureen Johnson that posted about the article.
Linda: I need to track down when the #yasaves first appeared however.
Sarah: I feel like in the past year whenever there’s been an article about YA lit the twitter feedback has been immediate and widespread-that right there should show people that YA lit is booming.
A couple of things really bugged me in the article.
Linda: Tell me.
Sarah: First–her opening example of the woman in the bookstore who simply had to leave without anything. Really? She couldn’t browse until she found something? Ask for a recommendation? Because you know what? I personally do not read books with particularly horrific descriptions or storylines-I haven’t been able to bring myself to read Shine. But I still find plenty of other books to keep me busy, so yes, there might be a trend, but there’s still many many other books published for people who don’t want to read those.
The other thing that really got to me was the author’s statement “In the book trade, this is known as “banning.” In the parenting trade, however, we call this “judgment” or “taste.” It is a dereliction of duty not to make distinctions in every other aspect of a young person’s life between more and less desirable options.”
While I agree that parents need to show judgement and they do have a responsibility towards their children, the critical thing that she doesn’t say is that the book trade calls it banning when parents try to make those judgement calls for everyone, not just their own child. Continue reading Reacting to #yasaves