Politics, Moderate



Young adult literature is under siege

Esther J. Cepeda on

"In an interesting twist, the teens who make up [young adult literature's] core audience are getting fed up with the constant, largely adult-driven dramas," Rosenfeld wrote. "Some have taken to discussing books via backchannels or on teen-exclusive hashtags -- or defecting to other platforms, like YouTube or Instagram, which aren't so given over to mob dynamics. ... Others are pushing back."

But the online tarring-and-feathering continues.

Just last week, the young adult novel "American Heart," by Laura Moriarty, had its glowing writeup in Kirkus Reviews retracted because a social-media mob took issue with parts of the book that supposedly promote white supremacy and unfavorable assumptions about Muslims. This even though the novel -- which won't be published until January -- was reviewed by a Muslim woman who is an expert in children's and young adult literature.


Mourn for "To Kill a Mockingbird," but don't make the mistake of believing that the environment in which our youngest are interacting with literature is being poisoned by public school administrations alone.


In these turbulent times, a growing number of expurgators on social media appear to take literally this Ray Bradbury quote from "Fahrenheit 451": "A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon." And they're a far tougher force to reckon with than mere government censorship.


Esther Cepeda's email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group



blog comments powered by Disqus

Social Connections


Mike Lester Michael Ramirez Bob Gorrell Chip Bok Andy Marlette Nick Anderson