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25 August 2016 @ 09:44 am
Hyperbole, thy name is journalism  
I often click on links to articles and blog posts that I know will make me cringe. But if all I ever read are posts and articles that confirm my thoughts and feelings, I am (to use one of the jargon words I hate) a SILO. So, I do click on articles with titles like the following: http://www.slate.com/blogs/nightlight/2016/08/04/bemoaning_the_licensed_character_commodity_garbage_that_makes_up_most_children.html.

Yes, there are plenty of books for kids with licensed characters. There always have been as far back as I can recall. The former residents of the back bedroom selected these books often when we went to the bookstore. They featured Snoopy, Strawberry Shortcake, and other characters from TV and movies. Even my middle school kids delighted in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle books available to them in my classroom library. I gave them those choices, and no one seems to have suffered from the "consequences."

Some years ago there was a doctor dissertation entitled, "So They're Reading Nancy Drew, So What?" The researcher interviewed readers who read serially at some point(s) in their lives. Her conclusion? The reading of "subliterature" (the term we used to use to designate series books, magazines, and comics) did not prevent readers from becoming lifelong readers who enjoyed a wide variety of selections. Many of us have seen this same thing as parents and teachers. Nurse Girl read loads of Eric Carle and moved on to JK Rowling and CS Lewis then segued to Zane Grey and other authors. Now she still rereads Rowling but has extended her reading to include science-fiction as well as her professional books.

So, I am not wringing my hands that there are still product books or even celebrity books. Instead I am cheering that we are still in a golden age of children's and YA literature, a time when matching readers to books when kids being able to find the right books for themselves is so much easier then it was 30 or 40 or more years ago. When I look back at the books I have read so far this year, I would have the devil of a time narrowing my favorite down to 10 or 50 or even 100. What i see is an embarrassment of riches.
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