Monday, April 10, 2006

Do Kids Read These?

I have enjoyed a few art books for kids in my day and have even read a few to young ones. But, truthfully, I've never seen or heard of a kid reading one, and I've never known of another adult who looked at them.

But my social circle is somewhat restricted.

Thanks to Bartography for the link.

"Kids Like Us"

In an interview on NPR, Beverly Cleary explains that, back in the 1940s when she was working as a librarian, boys would come up to her and ask, "Where are the books about kids like us?"

Leading her, of course, to go out and write some. The rest is history.

She also tells an excellent story about how seemingly unrelated events came together to inspire The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

For that link we owe a thank you to Blog of a Bookslut.

How Weird Is This?

The New York Times carried an article on April 7 called Responses to Naomi Wolf's Essay on Young Adult Fiction. The article was about blog responses. The blog posts cited were almost a month old.

What is going on here? I guess The Times' attitude is that not everyone reads blogs and thus this content will be news to those people. But, still, the information was nearly a month old! I linked to a couple of those blogs almost a month ago!

Thank you, Chicken Spaghetti, for that one.

Teen Posses' Literary Grandmothers?

At Readerville, we are discussing Edith Wharton's Xingu. The story is about a group of pretentious and shallow women who "pursue Culture in bands."

Having just read Best Friends For Never by Lisi Harrison, I immediately started thinking of these women as a posse. Instead of wealthy teen girls forming a tight backbiting group, you have wealthy (or at least very comfortable) adult women forming a tight backbiting group. In Xingu the materialism of teen posse stories is replaced by the women's concept of culture and art. The trappings of culture and art are status items for these women just as material things are status items in today's teen books.

You even have an outsider girl, Mrs. Roby. The fact that a man finds her to be "the most agreeable woman he had ever met" confirms her status as outside the female clique. At the end of the story, the clique is getting ready to reject the outsider just as teen posses are always trying to do.

Hey, I bet this is an analogy your average college professor doesn't see every day.

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