I've actually been opting to read middle school books lately, as I'm always on the hunt for good book club books for my middle school students. I'll review some of them on here over Christmas break, once I have a few more under my brain. It's not always easy for me to review middle school books. I don't always agree with the messages.
(Now, here's where I start sounding old...)
You know, it used to be that most books had a good message. And, the way I figure it, life sucks enough without reading a book that just agrees with that theory. Life doesn't really suck, it's all in the way you look at things. Believe it or not, kids aren't as optimistic as they used to be. In fact, I venture to say there is much more depression among pre-teens and teenagers now than there was when I was growing up. It concerns me...a lot.
I don't think it helps that a certain series of books made vampires popular literature for teenagers. As if anyone would actually want to follow some undead guy around, fall in love with him, and have his baby. Really?? I mean, guys have their issues (don't we all?), but I'll take a warm-blooded man over a dead guy any day! Did I mention she wants to be dead, too, just to be with him? Now, I ask you, WHAT kind of messed-up message is that to send to young teenage girls? Especially girls who are already depressed? Let's think this through, folks. Seriously.
And another thing...
Just because paranormal books have become so popular doesn't mean they are well-written. I'm really getting tired of seeing all the vampire books floating around my school's library. I try not to be critical without sampling a few, so...I sampled...and spit them back out. Yuck. Shouldn't there be some standard for what publishers dish-out to pre-teens and younger teenagers? Are good editors in short supply these days?No wonder kids aren't reading if they think this junk is what passes for good books!
I seem to be sighing a good bit these days. It's mostly because I see that people don't know what they're missing. Sometimes by 'people,' I mean my students. Other times, I mean adults. There is such a vast, wonderful world of great books out there that I get a bit discouraged when the only books anyone claims to read are the ones that are movies. Really?
I'm beginning to feel like I belong to the lost generation of people who actually read books to learn more about myself and others and the world around me...
No, we wouldn't be classified as 'the lost generation' - it's the generation that doesn't read that is lost.
Do me a favor, would you? Please read to a child today. Do voices for the characters, and show them the pictures in the book. Talk about the story. Help them understand it. Grow a good reader. You'll make the world a better place. :)