professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

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Looking Back, Charging Ahead

I was surprised this week when NCTE posted a link to something I wrote 5 years ago: http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/CNP/0254-April08/FieldOfDreams.pdf. I was also a tad apprehensive: how would something I wrote in 2008 hold up to scrutiny? Actually, as I read through it again, I was astonished to see that much of what I noted back then is still the focus of what I write and talk about now. Sure, there are some things I would add or delete. I know more now, of course. I have spoken to thousands of kids and teachers in the intervening years. There have been other changes to education, to technology, to the field of literature for adolescents. And yet much remains the same.

I like looking back. It gives me a sense of "history." This past week, my husband and I ate at a restaurant that, back when we first married, was a place we visited often with my parents and with our kids. We reminisced throughout the meal about those times. It was satisfying but also bittersweet: my mom and stepdad are both gone now the kids are not kids. But the memories are still there. Likewise, the books I have read in the past hold memories that are still present today. Each book read added some new thought or connection. It allowed me to see something differently, to commiserate with a different character, to feel a deeper sense of empathy perhps. Looking back

I like crystal ball gazing, too: looking for what might be ahead. In YA, there have been so many new forms and formats, a blurring of genre lines, new authors. What might the genre look like in 5 years? In 10 years? Which books will have staying power? what trends will fade?I never tire of opening the boxes of books to see what is new. Right now I am reading a forthcoming book from David Almond that is a game changer. Ditto the new book from Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett called BATTLE BUNNY. This evolution keeps the field fresh and interesting.

So, look ahead, look back. Remember the history and embrace the future.
Tags: books, writing
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