YALSA’s upcoming YA Literature Symposium will explore the future of young adult literature. The symposium begins on November 2nd, but we wanted to get a head start here at The Hub, so we’re devoting October to 31 Days of the Next Big Thing. Each day of the month, we’ll bring you forecasts about where YA literature is headed and thoughts on how you can spot trends and predict the future yourself.
I’ve noticed a big increase in nonfiction adult books being adapted for teen readers. I wonder if publishers think repurposing adult books for younger readers is like film producers who think if a film does well the first time, it should be remade. That doesn’t always work, but I think that adapting popular nonfiction adult titles for teens can be a great way to attract them to books they might not otherwise pick up. The pared down versions retain all of the pertinent information that the adult versions do without lots of extraneous detail. The adult titles selected to be adapted for younger readers encompass a wide range of topics from murdered presidents, to the dangers of global warming and fast food, to inspiring stories of individuals overcoming tremendous odds.
I first noticed this trend with Chew On This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food by Charles Wilson and Eric Schlosser (2006), the adaption of Schlosser’s 2001 adult book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Both the adult book and the shorter teen version are persuasive exposes of the far-reaching negative effects of the fast-food industry.