Cynsations has an interesting interview with John H. Bushman, an educator who is the co-author of Using Young Adult Literature in the English Classroom. He says, "Kids come out of elementary school with a great desire to read and enjoy what they are reading, and they are then often faced with Great Expectations." Also, "I have never said that the "classics" are bad in and of themselves. I do believe that they are bad for sixth through eleventh graders. Seniors--most of them--have the intellectual ability to understand the complexity of plot and of language. They can work with the classics."
By way of BookMoot I found Kenneth Oppel: The Times Interview. Interesting quote: '“I’m really the product of years of playing Dungeons and Dragons,” he says. “A lot of parents get very concerned about kids gaming, but everything I learnt about storytelling . . . came from that discipline..”' I've read other interviews in which Oppel talks about his background with gaming.