Yesterday I wrote about Shannon Hale's response to a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece that trashed current summer reading lists as compared to "the classics". Not surprisingly, people around the kidlitosphere, especially the librarians among us, have some things to say about that. Here are some well-thought-out responses to the article:
- Liz B. at A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy includes her criteria for creating summer reading lists. She in particular points out that books that are already popular don't need to be on reading lists, because kids will find them anyway.
- A Fuse #8 Production urges you to read the WSJ article only "Should you wish to feel the delightful taste of bile rising to the back of your throat."
- Leila at bookshelves of doom says: "The WSJ is dead to me." Personally, I never liked it much anyway, and I agree with Leila.
- Chasing Ray asks: "When did reading become another assignment?", and urges people to give kids a break in terms of summer reading, and let them read what they enjoy.
- TadMack at Finding Wonderland and MotherReader both defend the reading material on the back of cereal boxes. TadMack sounds off in particular about the classics ("the so-called 'canon' is made up of a.) old b.) Caucasian and c.) male writers and characters, to a large degree"). MotherReader asks how classics handle multiculturalism, and also makes the point that her library system picks NEW books for summer reading programs on purpose.
- There are also 26 comments now on Shannon Hale's original post. What's nice about reading the comments there is that they include input from actual young adult readers (or so it appears). Imagine if the person who wrote the original WSJ piece had asked a few kids what they thought...
- UPDATED to add: Michele at Scholar's Blog takes the positive road, and posts two poems about the joys of reading and books (for Poetry Friday). She also links to a third. I think that they're alll excellent, and a perfect way to start the day.
If you're at all interested in children's books, summer reading lists, or the question of modern children's literature vs. classics, then you really should take a few minutes to read the above posts. These are thoughtful comments from people who work with children and children's books every day. They clearly have a much more balanced perspective on the issue than that of the writer from the Wall Street Journal (who didn't even take the time to read the "non-classic" books in question). Thanks for listening!