professornana (professornana) wrote,

Animal Farm Mentality

All animals are equal, so the motto goes, for the farm. However, some animals are more qual than others is how the story moves forward rather quickly. I see this dynamic at play when it comes to books and reading. Walk into a Barnes and Noble and you will see FICTION on one side of the store and LITERATURE on the other side. That almost caused me whiplash the first time. But it moves beyond this unusual dichotomy.

It plays out when it comes to books for children and young adults. Some books are noted as those that would be fine for "fun." The implication: if something is fun, it is not worthy. Then, we hear all about rigor and complexity demands as somehow negating the use of those "fun" books. We need "real" books for study. I have written about this for more than a decade because even pre-CCSS there were those who would denigrate books not at least a century old.

Contemporary children's and YA literature is rich and complex and layered. It also is developmentally appropriate for the audience it seeks to reach. The topics and themes and characters resonate with contemporary readers even when authors are writing historical fiction or science fiction and fantasy.

Last night, Donalyn Miller and I did a Google Hangout for the ILA on models of reading. At the end of the evening, someone used this hashtag: #allreadingmatters. I grabbed it. I am going to use it over and over again. All reading matters. There is not some literature that matters more, not literature more equal than others. #allreadingmatters

I can say this on a day when I read a forthcoming book about DC politics with a teen at its center, an adaptation of adult book on the Battle of the Bulge, and a chapter book about a kid whose luck seems to have been misplaced. I have read Facebook posts, Goodreads reviews, tweets, bills, directions, book flaps, and so much more. And I can still say #allreadingmatters.
Tags: books, complexity, fun, rigor
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