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Five Reasons Young Adult Fiction Matters

Last updated 1 year ago

Teen Literature Day is a celebration of Young Adult literature. With rich characterizations, authentic emotional experience, inspiration, and compelling plots, Young Adult (YA) fiction is becoming one of the most popular genres.

YA makes great reading for teens because it can:

Create role models and memories
All through their lives, people remember characters from books they enjoyed as children or young adults. The books that captured our imaginations formed parts of our personalities. As YA book author Meg Wolitzer says, "Books not only sometimes stay with you; they can become you."

Form a bridge to more difficult literature
Many YA books use plots and other elements that are common to the works of classical literature. Finding out that characters in a YA novel have problems similar to characters in literature they are reading in high school is an exciting revelation for young readers.

Help challenged readers master their skills
In exploring strategies for selecting teen reading, researchers Laura Jimenez and Kristin McIlhagga found that "When students are interested and engaged, and value what they read, they attend to misunderstandings, apply fix-up strategies, and persevere through reading difficulties in order to make meaning from the text."

Encourage teens to identify themselves as readers
Finding books that satisfy them and seem truly relevant to their own lives gives young adults satisfaction that empowers them. As Jimenez and McIlhagga suggest, when struggling readers discover books they enjoy, they are "more likely to read carefully, discuss and compare understandings with others, and begin to see themselves as readers."

Create a sense of being part of our world
YA novels offer teens a chance to learn about people whose lives are different from their own, to see that we all share similar feelings, dreams, fears, and to develop empathy for others' situations.

John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, sums up the value of Young Adult fiction in these words:

"This is what good YA novels do for teens that Angry Birds cannot: they offer light that can burn bright even in the way-down-deep-darkness-which-is-you . . . [They] can matter by helping us to feel unalone, by connecting us to others, and by giving shape to the world as we find it."

Happy reading!
 

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