Fuse #8

Friday, April 06, 2007

Come to the Dark Side, Kiddies

Monica Edinger recently linked to a rather interesting article in Education Week called Dark Themes in Books Get Students Reading. It takes a gander at the idea of introducing contemporary YA lit alongside "classics" in high school English classes. You know the type. Speak and Hamlet side-by-side type of stuff. The article marks the reappearance of Barbara Feinberg and her Welcome to the Lizard Motel. That book was once discussed in a series of rousing child_lit debates and continues to be a very divisive title in terms of literary analysis. As most of the article is concerned with the high school rather than elementary and middle school curriculum, I was a little confused as to why author Kathleen Kennedy Manzo would go to Feinberg in the first place.

The piece itself also felt a little top-heavy here and there, particularly when indulging in statements like:
Doing so, however, can foster concerns about whether the content of such books is appropriate, Mr. Lindblom acknowledges. Many young-adult novels, for example, feature violent scenes, topics such as death and abuse, or protagonists who purposely hurt themselves.
As opposed to classics, of course. Hunhuna? Of course, in the end Manzo does make an effort to balance out the varying points of view. It's certainly well worth a read in any case.

Thanks to Educating Alice for the link.

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At 9:12 AM , Blogger Laura said...

I liked (not really) this line:

"Our job is not simply to dispense books that kids will read and love,” she said. “We need to help them tackle books that are hard for them, … help them negotiate challenging texts.”

Which is exactly why I'm a librarian. It is MY job to dispense books kids will read and love.


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