One note I jotted down early as this: The pearl is the oyster's autobiography." Aside from being an incredible metaphor demonstrative of why I and legions of others adore her writing, this sentence made me pause the audio and think for a while. If a pearl is an oyster's autobiography, what does that say about life and about our own stories?
The pearl is that piece of grit that the oyster coats with layer after layer to produce a pearl. What piece of grit (or, more accurately, pieces of grit) are we coating to produce our stories, I wonder? And what of the grit of YA books that help readers form some protective layers through which they can vicariously experience things within the safety of a book? So, when someone challenges a book because it is too intense, are they robbing a reader of a layer, of a coating of their own? I thought about this when I saw the latest posting from NCAN (and if you are not a member of this group, you should be). Here are some of the most recent challenges to books: http://ncac.org/.
But I made another connection as well. For years, Patty Campbell wrote a column for The Horn Book entitled "The Sand in the Oyster." Literary critic and supporter of YA, Campbell mused about all sorts of topics. Here is a link to a column about the verse novel: http://www.valkyrie22.com/stuff/documents/Vetting%20the%20Verse%20Novel.pdf. And then there is her book, Campbell's Scoop: Reflections on Young Adult Literature.