Saturday, June 1, 2013

Armchair BEA: Children's & YA Literature

As the resident YA reader, I'm pretty sure this topic falls to me.  :)  For a while now I've been trying to write one of our Random Musings posts on what it is I love about YA... I'm still trying so here goes...

I fell in love with Diana Wynne Jones' novels somewhere around third grade and I have been hooked ever since. I love the self discovery, the thrill of first loves, the adventures of YA.   I love the story telling.   The world needs a little magic and this is where I retreat to tap into mine.  I've tried to get into adult fantasy and paranormal but the adult relationships always seem to take precedent over the story.  (I will continue to try and break into this genre so if you have any recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments.)

I love that the genre of YA has quadrupled since I was a... YA.  Granted, not every book is for everyone.  There are books out there on very serious topics of rape, abuse, etc. in both the YA (and adult sections) ...and I'm not reading any of them ...and that's okay.  Heck, I don't even like to read dystopian!  But I'm glad that they're out there.  Books that help children know that they aren't alone in their situation or help teens explore serious situations that are blasted all over the news are good ways to make sense of the world.  Reading how others learn to problem solve, interpret, and cope helps us learn how to do the same.  And personally, I'd much rather my daughter experience some of those things on the page rather than in person.   I'm not saying that a mature YA book is the right read for every 12 and 13 year old out there.  It may never be the right read.  But if my daughter comes to me and wants to explore these books that I don't want to read, I'm not going to stop her.  We read to understand the world around us, and last time I checked, it wasn't all unicorns, rainbows, and happy endings. [getting down off soapbox]

At the moment, my list of favorite authors are too many to mention... but if I had to pick something you should definitely read:

  1. Dianna Wynne Jones:  If nothing else, you must try Howl's Moving Castle. Over the years Ms. Jones wrote hundreds of fabulous novels some middle grade, some YA, and I encourage you to explore them all, like my personal favorite Fire & Hemlock, but if you need a starting point, I suggest Howl's Moving Castle.
  2. Cassandra Clare:  I know she doesn't need any help with publicity, but I really can't get enough of her Shadow Hunter series. Her intricate story weaving and complex characters make her books hard to put down and nearly impossible to wait for the next release. 
  3. C.C. Hunter:  I adore the Shadow Falls series, which she just concluded and I'm thrilled that she is starting a spinoff series.
  4.  Amanda Hocking:  I never thought I could love a troll book until I read her Trylle series.  She has several other series out and I really need to get back to reading her work.
  5. Wendy Raven McNair:  You may not have heard of her but she is a fantastic indie author that I can't recommend enough.
  6. Ally Carter:  Between her teen spy Gallagher Girls Books and her teen thieves and con artists, Heist Society, it pretty hard to decide...
  7. Rebecca Maizel:  Her Vampire Queen series made me fall in love with vampires all over again.
  8. Kathy Reichs:  Virals is like a contemporary Nancy Drew with some sci-fi thrown in for good measure.
Ok I could keep going, but it might be a very long post...  LOL

We actually have a Children's Corner here at Girls Just Reading and every Sunday Julie and I try to feature  something that has caught our children's attention... or our attention as parents.  Sometimes we hit the classics, but sometimes we find the really obscure too.  We always appreciate suggestions for our budding readers so go ahead and throw some out there!


I don't read YA. I mean I went throught the angst and I don't need to relive it in adulthood. Plus a lot of it falls into the fantasy/speculative fiction area and I don't read adult fiction in those genres so why do it in YA? Having said that I will revisit the books I loved as a young adult. Also, I was told that I'm wrong about YA so I put together a challenge for this year. It's almost June and I've read one book on the list. Better get it in gear.

As my daughter will be in 3rd grade this upcoming year, I find myself pushing her towards Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume and other favorites from my childhood. I can't wait until I feel she's old enough to read Harry Potter. I do enjoy watching what she brings home from the library. Sure sometimes she's in over her head bringing home 5 chapter books for a week, but I love that she tries.

My son will be starting Kindergarten in the fall and we've been working on his reading for this year. As you can tell from some of our posts he's doing that quite well. We try to pick books he can read to himself and out loud, so that means a lot of Dr. Seuss and really how can you go wrong there?! He also loves books about space so those have been taking up some of our reading time. Any book that has a sports theme is also a hit with him so we are always seeking those out. I know that a lot of the books his sister reads won't appeal to him in a couple years so I will be looking for books geared towards boys. These days, I think that's fairly easy.



Meg @ A Bookish Affair June 1, 2013 at 8:05 PM  

I don't think I've read a single author on your list!

Anonymous ,  June 2, 2013 at 1:08 PM  

As a librarian I have to say that as parents fostering the love of reading and growing your kids love of kind of rock! _Great_ post.

Jenn June 4, 2013 at 7:50 AM  

Meg, glad I could furnish some recommendations -do you have some for me?

Thanks, Deb, we try! Always open to new kids book recommendations around here too!

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