professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Demand the best

Scout has a new habit. If he wants something, he will sit at your feet and meow and meow until one of us gets up, follows him, and sic overs his need (door opened, food refilled, etc). He has learned that there is only so much "talking" we will tolerate before we submit to him as good humans should. He demands our attention.

One of my favorite scenes in "Death of a Salesman" has to do with attention: "So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person."

We must demand attention. We cannot allow reading aloud to fall into a grave because it was omitted from federal research years ago. We cannot allow independent reading to disappear because of the naysayers who decry allowing choice and time for kids to read books that interest them. Take this post: It criticizes the entire field of YA literature as purveyors of gossip and not culture. This criticism of YA as vapid, empty, non nutritious, etc. is not new. It rears its ugly head from time to time with almost the same themes: literature is on the brink, "real" literature is disappearing, this stuff does not stand the test of time, it is dumbed down, etc.

When we hear this whiny rhetoric (much like Scout's insistent meowing), we need to answer it. Fortunately, the preceding post was answered here: And we need to join our voices as well. YA is rich, diverse, and perhaps most importantly, it reflects more of the reality of its readers.

So, how about this for a goal for the new school year? When you find a piece of children's or YA literature that counters the arguments of the folks who believe it to be less than literary, share the book. Go online and tweet and post to Facebook. Blog about it. Buy a copy for a friend. I read Matt Phelan's graphic novel SNOW WHITE this morning, and it is a book I will share and share and share again. I have posted to Facebook already along with some book tie-ins (SNOW WHITE IN NEW YORK, TRAIL OF STONES, POISONED APPLES, KNIVES, LIES, AND GIRLS IN RED DRESSES).

Won't you join me in a chorus of meows and WOWS?
Tags: defending the books

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