V.C. Andrews is practically an institution. Her young adult gothic horror novels have sold more than 106 million copies, been translated into 24 languages, and educated generations of adolescent girls about consensual incest. Hers is the longest-running literary franchise in history and she’s one of the most popular authors working todayâexcept that she’s been dead for 27 years.
Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I never read a book with a Korean American character. I read about Shirley Temple Wong, Chinese immigrant to New York in The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, and Claudia Kishi, Japanese American teenage fashionista in The Baby-Sitters Club series. They did not provide a mirror to my experiences. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school, when I discovered An Na’s A Step from Heaven (2001), that I truly saw a reflection of my Korean American upbringing in youth literature.
"partly because children’s books provided a hiding place for a while, the early Soviet period was a miraculously rich time for children’s books and their illustration. A new book, Inside the Rainbow: Russian Children’s Literature 1920-1935 offers a glimpse into that astonishing world"
Read enough middle grade children’s literature and it all begins to blend. In 2013 I’ve noticed the occasional odd trend here and there, but when it comes to a post like this one I fall back on an old reliable: Terrible parental units. They’re staples. They’re what keep us going. Admittedly they’re far more common in young adult literature than children’s literature (the general tone in children’s books is just the kill them off early) but once in a while you get a real baddie. What does this say about the role of parents in books for children? Indeed, what does it mean for a story when the greatest protagonist is often one’s own parent? From the depressing to the deplorable, sometimes I like to catalog the worst of the worst and assess what it might mean about parents in books for kids at all.
Every January, the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, releases the Best Fiction for Young Adults list. This list includes novels, short story collections, and novels in…