Young Adult Novels (Or Please Read to Your Children)

By Maggie Libby Davis

This weekend my friend and I were discussing how things have changed at the library from when we were kids. I haven’t stepped foot in a library in over fifteen years – getting all I need via Amazon. She explained how everything is electronic, from reserving books online to check-out. Her girls told me about the waiting lists for their favorite series while my friend laughed, telling me that the reservations are no longer shelved by name but instead by library card number, presumably so your kids won’t know if you are reading I Don’t Want a Divorce orMind over Meth or, even worse, Fifty Shades of Gray.  I never reserved books as a kid – I remembered scouring the titles for my next favorite book. She said her kids still do that, surrounded by the shelves of books and that background noise only found in libraries.

We talked about the series her young daughters are reading, compared them to those we read, like Anne of Green Gables and Ramona. They aren’t as into Little House on the Prairie, preferring to read about vampires and hunting games, but Judy Blume still holds the same draw. Her girls laughed at us when we told them about the Sweet Valley High series. I have no interest in the newer young adult books like the Divergent trilogy or the Harry Potterseries, but I was glad to see Lord of the Flies was still popular.

I loved reminiscing through the stories of my youth and discussing more recent young adult books that still captured us, like The Book Thief.  I’m sure the old stories shaped my current reading selections and my own writing style and even the choices I’ve made in my life. I look forward to sharing more of the books I’ve enjoyed with her girls and to them sharing with me their favorites as they grow in their reading experience.

When I returned home, I received a text alert on my phone regarding two separate early morning incidents about a mile from my house where two young men lost their lives in arguments that ended with gun shots. I wondered how any argument could be worth the lives of two young people. I wondered how I could be in a warm safe home with the privilege of discussing the merits of The Outsiders vs. Mockingjay while senseless violence happened blocks away. I wondered what those young men read as children, what stories their parents shared with them, if it matters.

I have to believe it does.

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