"Youth-oriented fiction about worlds gone awry is not new. The tradition stretches back generations and involves works now revered as classics. Some of the giants of what was then called juvenile science fiction -- Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Poul Anderson -- wrote what now would be classified as YA dystopias. But the exponential recent growth of the genre suggests something else at play: a generation's lost wonder and mounting anxiety."
"One of the ways I judge whether a book did its job or not is if it blows my mind. If I can’t entirely understand it, if I have questions about it, if it’s difficult to put into words what it was about or how it made me feel. It’s also good if I get goose bumps."
"Published in 1962, 'Wrinkle in Time' was one of Lee’s favorite novels as a child, and she impressed Disney executives with her take on the project, which emphasizes a strong female-driven narrative and creatively approaches the science fiction and world-building elements of the book."
"I have been baffled by the fact that so many of my friends found it to be such a dreary read, so I began an impassioned investigation into the issue. It mainly involved bringing it up at dinner parties and sending a bunch of texts that said U didn’t like TFIOS? WTH?, but by the end of this scientific investigation, I began to see some patterns in the responses. Most interestingly, I noticed that people’s takes on the book tended to fall along the same lines as their spiritual history.
"Specifically: People who have always been believers don’t tend to like the book as much as those who have known atheism." [Emphasis in original.]
". . . Wishbone didn't just give me an appetite for classic books along with a bit of wholesome weekday entertainment. By example—and, I might point out, on a TV—it taught me something important: stories that aren't 'true' (fiction, in other words) matters, because stories (what they're about and the way they are told) become part of me. They begin to populate a sort of subconscious roadmap for how I live my life."
"The book What to Read When has been a great help in guidance for appropriate books for different ages, and Jim Trelease’s classic The Read-Aloud Handbook is on my bedside table. What have other parents and family members done to help the children in your lives learn to love reading? Are there any books you loved as a child or your children can’t get enough of?"
"Parents face two barriers in passing along the joy of reading. There's the cultural barrier: reading competes with television shows, internet activities, video games, tablets, and smart phones, and just as we tend to choose fast food over home-cooked meals, we tend to gravitate toward the easier purveyor of content. There's also the educational barrier: as schools insist upon more and more nonfiction reading, kids begin to see books as means to the end of information gathering rather than an end in and of themselves. But I have to believe that we parents can do something to give the gift of reading to our children."
"Baer was arrested and handcuffed after attacking the school's decision to set the book at a school board meeting this week, according to local reports. Acting Gilford police chief James Leach told CBS that 'there were repeated attempts to ask him to stop. I asked him to leave. He refused. He said, "arrest me or I'm not going to" . . . so I did.'"
"The problem is not that either pink princesses or dystopian fiction are evil. The problem is that they are insufficient to nurture the souls that seem so drawn to them. After all, how can they provide adequate intellectual and moral nutrition when, by and large, they are so highly processed and packaged? The real message is that our girls need us to step entirely outside of the shiny, commercial world that would channel them toward following one fad after another until their souls and sense of self are blunted. It is possible to raise children who are independent from commercial culture and who can safely dabble in a princess or two, or an occasional dystopia, without being shaped and limited by them."
"When I saw University of Iowa English professor Adam Hooks bemoaning 'relatable' on Twitter, I asked him what his experience had been with the word in the classroom. 'Relatable' is a sign of a failure to engage with the work or text, a failure to get beyond one's own concerns to confront the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable,' he wrote to me in an email. In other words, the quest for the 'relatable' circumscribes the expansion of empathy that you can gain through exposure to new things. When the word 'relatable' really means 'relevant to me,' as it often does in the classroom, anything outside the purview of 'relatability' looks like it's not worth examining."
"For many transhumanists, one of the limitations to be overcome is death; these so-called immortalists point to a number of organisms, including jellyfish, lobsters, and tortoises, as evidence of the possibility of extending all life, including and especially human life. Inspiring children to embrace this possibility and to strive toward its execution is the point of Stolyarov’s book. He has even launched an Indiegogo campaign to distribute Death Is Wrong to 1,000 children free of charge."
"When my wife and I had our first daughter, we weren’t sure we’d ever be allowed to share that joy with her. A traumatic brain injury during birth indicated that she might never be able to enjoy the sound of language or the thrill of a story. And besides, those first few brutalizing years left us thinking about little else besides keeping each other alive.
"But we kept reading to her, even when it felt like we were just reading to ourselves."
"Throughout history, fairy tales have provided stable ground, a comforting picture of a world where morality matters. These stories give us glimpses of truth in a society that often distorts right and wrong."
By: Gina Dalfonzo|Published Date: January 21, 2014
"Shelter your children. Yes. Absolutely. But use a picnic shelter, not a lightless bomb bunker, and not virtual reality goggles looping bubblegum clouds. Feast with them on fiction in safety, laugh with them through terrible adventures seething with real weather. They should feel the wind and fear the lightning and witness the fools and heroes—and yet stay protected."
By: Gina Dalfonzo|Published Date: November 07, 2013
"Young-adult fiction, commonly called 'YA fiction,' has exploded over the past decade or so: The number of YA titles published grew more than 120 percent between 2002 and 2012, and other estimates say that between 1997 and 2009, that figure was closer to 900 percent. Ask a handful of young-adult fiction writers what exactly makes a YA novel, though, and you’ll get a handful of conflicting answers."
By: Gina Dalfonzo|Published Date: October 28, 2013
"The more I think about the world of Divergent, the more bothered I get by the way courage is presented. I’ve got other problems with the worldbuilding, but I’m going to focus just on this question for the moment. What is courage, and what is fear?"
Note: A link on this page does not constitute an endorsement from BreakPoint. It simply means that we thought that the linked news item or opinion piece would be of interest to Christian parents of teens and preteens.