Finally, a Literary Critic Calls It Like it Is for the YA Genre!

Photo Credit: HIllsdale College

Have you heard of Meghan Cox Gurdon? I have just recently, and I am happy to say that finally, someone out there had the guts to say what needed to be said about the Young Adult genre. She is the children’s book reviewer for the Wall Street Journal. In 2011, she published an article that said much of the YA books being published today are not worth reading. Here is a related article recently published in Imprimis, the newsletter for Hillsdale College.

If you are sensitive, you might want to skip her descriptions of some of the plot lines she describes in the article. She gives warning in the article before she does so.

Many people reacted saying that she was calling for a ban on books and censorship. This is what happens when people don’t think clearly because they feel they are being attacked. She was not attacking anyone. She did not call for censorship or banning of books. She simply said, don’t read certain books. They aren’t uplifting. They don’t contribute to young people’s happiness.

So what shall we read, and what shall we encourage our children, especially our young adults to read? I like the ending of her Imprimis article:

Let me close with Saint Paul the Apostle in Philippians 4:8:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

And let us think about these words when we go shopping for books for our children.

I have three great resources for you in picking books for children, whether “shopping” at the library or at Barnes and Noble.

1. The first one is Redeemed Reader. I have finally found a Christian-based book review site for children! I am soooo happy about this! Because Christ redeemed us, we show our love to him by being choosy about the books we read, in other words, by being a Redeemed Reader. This site will help you be choosy because of Christ’s redemption. It has book reviews for picture books, chapter books, and YA books, along with book lists. You can also find podcasts and interviews, like with the aforementioned Meghan Gurdon. I am sad that I just discovered the Summer Reading Challenge that ended July 31, but here is the book list for it.

2. Audrey and Blaine, over at The Ten Boom Institute have started a section under the tab of “what to read” with book recommendations. They even have tons of video book recommendations, some with their kids. I love their site!

3. The Good Reading Guide. It is chock-full of book reviews for kids, YAs and adults. Right now you can sign up for a free membership for a year. It claims to be “broadly compatible with Christian values.” It is much more comprehensive, covering adult, YA, and children’s books on all topics, both fiction and non-fiction. The following video demos how to use the web site.

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