[LMB] Librarian sherwooding OT:

Kirsten Edwards carbonelle at juno.com
Fri Jun 20 05:01:02 BST 2008


First (and in short) Kait avers:
I was bullied for years at school, and I can't read anything that smacks of bullying... unless the victim fights back and wins! 

If your local library has my favorite Tamora Pierce YA series, featuring Keladry of Mindalen: PROTECTOR OF THE SMALL, you might want to check it out. I suspect you would find it truly,deeply satisfying. I did :-) 

A longer comment: Peter makes a claim about library nomenclature and the history of YA books, which, as it turns out is not entirely the case (and Maegera points out that I *would* pipe up about this, of course) The following is the American story--I'd love to know how the rest of anglosphere's teen library collections developed.

The picture books have been known for some time now - even before any library had a "YA" section - or the very concept as "E" for "Easy" books (School librarians often unpack the "E" as "Everybody") 
--The next step, those "Hop on Pop" type Bright-and-Early books are (in one of our professions rare fits of intuitive labelling) "Beginning Readers"
--The next step are those books with the very short chapters and loads of pictures are "Chapter Books" (Cam Jansen, Encyclopedia Brown, etc.)
--Then come Juveniles which were everything else, might or might not contain pictures (they fell out of vogue in the Age of Bad Taste and now happily are making a roaring comeback) that run from roughly 2nd grade through 8th grade. 

No such thing as the "YA" novel existed--one went straight from Juvenile to adult, so many novels that would now be solid teen (YA) such as Andre Norton's ZERO STONE and Judy Blume's ARE YOU THERE GOD sat on the same shelves as RABBIT HILL and the FAIRY CARAVAN(*)

Around the late '50s early 60's Margaret A. Edwards (so influential she has TWO American Library Association YA awards named after her) came up with the concept of the "Junior Novel" - not a children's book per se, but a true "novel" like adults read that would serve as a bridge to the hard stuff. Things like A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN for example or CATCHER IN THE RYE. She trained scads of NYPL librarians to read through hundreds of these titles--and to keep (**) reading as new novels were published - because the librarians who served this newly emerging demographic (or I should say, perceived demographic) of teenagers (aka "Young Adults") needed to serve themselves as the relationship bridge for these young folk(***) 

She and her cohort were among the impetus (including some visionaries in the publishing world (+) for the newly emerging genre known as YA and authors like Paul Zindel and S.E. Hinton. Authors and a genre, by-the-by, I could NOT STAND myself as a teenager, ironically enough (++)

Now public libraries have all the various children's categories (still called "J" books even though the libraries themselves all have Children's departments (+++) and teen (YA = Young Adult) departments and, just to keep things confusing--retain that historical overlap for middle school/junior high students. Kids books still go up to age 12 (Grades 7/8), teen books still start at age 12 and go up to age 18. Where (of course) they overlap with the adult collection.

Aren't we public librarians jokers, then? Stand me a beer some day and I'll tell you the Story of Comic books, strips, etc. :-)


(**)RPBs to anyone who recognizes the title. Double RPBs to anyone who's (also) read it :-)
(**) Thus paving the way for BBYA Committee sufferers!
(***) Spot on BTW, but this is getting long enough! THE FAIR GARDEN AND THE SWARM OF BEASTS has all the details.
(+) Well, I would put it that way, wouldn't I...
(++) The contents of those shelves are a zillion times better nowadays IMNSHO
(+++) You can blame the catalogers if you like. Everyone does, poor things.

'tchau!

Kirsten "What do you mean you don't want to build a clock?"
"Infantem dormientem non movere"



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