Thursday, July 27, 2006

This Is Why I Don't Have Anything To Do With Summer Reading Lists

The kidlit blogosphere is absolutely burning up today over what appears to be an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal. Literary Losers is another rant--though a blessedly short one--on the sorry state of children's literature. This one focuses on summer reading lists, which are called uninspiring and said to be filled with formula fiction.

First, off, I'd just like to say that I believe attacking children's and YA literature has become a cheap and easy way for publications and/or freelance writers to create a little controversy. Personally, I'm getting bored with it.

In the second place, I can't stand people telling me what I should be reading, and I can't see why children should feel any differently.

In the third place, come on, are The Secret Garden and The Wind in the Willows, two so-called classics The Wall Street Journal would like to see on summer reading lists, seriously important works that children will find all that inspiring? They sure didn't do anything for me.

There may well be a lot of fluffy light-weight titles on summer reading lists. (I can't say for sure, because I try to avoid them.) However, hasn't The Wall Street Journal also gone the tired and worn-out route with its suggestions?

As other bloggers have noted, there's not much going on in the kidlit world right now. Believe me, if there were, I wouldn't be bothering with this.


McKoala said...

I agree completely on The Wind in the Willows, yawn yawn. And I agree mostly on The Secret Garden...but (you knew the 'but' was coming, didn't you!)...I do think that the first chapter of that book is one of the most despairing things that I have ever read. Yes, even now, twenty five years later, that chapter still makes me shiver... Try it?

Gail Gauthier said...

I did read the book years ago, but I don't recall anything striking about the first chapter. If I stumble upon it sometime--and am feeling in a really good and positive mood--I'll take a look at the "despairing" first chapter.