Thursday, December 28, 2006

More Post-Cybils Plans

My Cybils experience will be coming to a close soon. While it's made me think about any number of things, two of them are weighing on my mind today.

1. I can't help but dwell on how short an amount of time books have to catch the attention of the public. Many books will pretty much disappear soon after their publishing season. We've been promoting all these Cybils nominees, but what will happen to them once the reading period is over? The spring book season will be upon us soon, and people will be turning their attention to the books that will be coming out in March, April, and May. (And June, of course, which is when my next book comes out.)

2. I've always been concerned about the fact that children's literature may not have that much to do with children. As I've said over and over again, children have very little part in the production of the literature created for them. All people in the kidlit blogging and review world can do is promote books we think children will like or books we think they should like. Or we may just be promoting books we ourselves like.

And what about when a young reader doesn't agree with us? Who's right and who's wrong or is anyone right or wrong? I've read that sometimes people have to be "educated" to enjoy certain types of literature, meaning they have to be exposed to a certain type of education. Is that all that's going on? The young haven't been educated the way we have and thus aren't able to appreciate what we're able to appreciate? Okay, but what about the types of literature they do appreciate? Is it of lesser value because we don't like it and they do?

I'm hoping to be able to continue considering these issues in the weeks and maybe months to come. One of the young relatives I gave Cybils books to on Christmas Day has already started reading and responding to them. He's into his twenties now but still closer to the YA and child reading experience than I am. And starting next week he's going to be spending his days with fifth graders.

Occasionally I'll be reconsidering Cybil nominees in light of BDT's response to them or maybe even in light of his students' responses to them. This will kill two birds with one stone--it will get some Cybil titles out in front of the public once more and it will enable us to hear the response of a young(er) reader and compare it to that of an old(er) one.

I'm psyched.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do think readers (of all ages) have to be educated to enjoy some kinds of literature - Shakespeare for instance, or Chaucer, or poetry - if my experiences as a moderator of an online WW1 Poetry Discussion forum are anything to go by !

But I don't believe there is any right or wrong opinion with regard to the value of types of literature. Yes there are some types I hate and would rather people didn't read (Dan Brown springs to mind), but honestly, if it gets people reading and leads on to reading more interesting, better written, more life enhancing books, then what the hell ? No one should ever be discouraged from reading *anything*, but you can always encourage someone to read something better or different !