What About Young Adult Literature?

A plethora of options for reading seems to have always existed for both children and adults alike. The large children’s section of libraries and bookstore are filled with picture books for the emerging readers. The adult section filled with its fiction, self-help, biographies, autobiographies, and other non-fiction texts seem to be the grander part of every bookstore or library. Where does literature for young adults fit in between the childish and mature? “Young adult literature is often thought of as a great abyss between the wonderfully exciting and engaging materials for children and those for adults” (Vandergrift, 2011).

Pre-teens have it pretty rough. They are going through so many changes so quickly. In addition finding literature that is interesting enough, and digestible for their reading level. Young adults want to find text that engages them at their crossroads in life. They want a read that reflects their hopes, dreams and struggles in life. Today’s growth in adult literature “not only their needs but also their interests, the literature becomes a powerful inducement for them to read, another compelling reason to value it, especially at a time when adolescent literacy has become a critically important issue” (Cart, 2008).

Building a large selection of literary pieces for this group helps address the motivational issue of getting young adults to make reading a priority. It then, “provides a medium through which adolescents and their teachers can raise "hot topics," and confront and grapple with the social contradictions and complexities that comprise adolescents' lives” (Groenke, 2011).

Today’s teens have a much better selection than those seeking this scope of literature 20 years ago. Today, “a wealth of fiction created especially for teens that deals with the possibilities and problems of contemporary life as experienced by this age group” (Vandergrift, 2011). This not only has given this group more options for recreational reading, but greater opportunity for self-discovery. “Through story a reader can confirm one's own life experiences” (Vandergrift, 2011). In being a bystander witnessing characters deal with life issues, emotions, and situations, young readers gain great insight in healthy and appropriate responses to their daily issues as well. “This tension is evident in everyday life but revealed most fully in story” (Vandergrift, 2011). By offering a greater base of options to this young adult target group, society is not only providing engaging literature, but also providing an opportunity for maturity and self-discovery.

Works Cited:

Cart, Michael. "The Value of Young Adult Literature | Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)." ALA | Home - American Library Association. Jan. 2008. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .

Groenke, Susan, Joellen Maples, and Jill Henderson. "Raising "Hot Topics" through Young Adult Literature." Voices from the Middle 17 (2010): 29-26. Web. 26 Nov. 2011.

Vandergrift, Kay E. "Vandergrift's YA Literature Page." Home - School of Communication and Information - Rutgers University. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .