Monday, July 22, 2013

Should "YA" Be Rated "R" ?

Is it just me, or have the kid's books gotten a little rougher and a bit racier lately? Now I'm not my father, believing everything would be better if it was the Lone Ranger and Hardy Boys and society is going to hell in a handbasket, but I do think children's literature, even YA, should try to temper the sex and violence. Maybe it was Hunger Games, especially the awful third book, that soured me, but why do massive body counts need to be a part of the story? I think we, as parents and teachers, let our children see/hear/read too much too soon. Yes, some kids can read anything and handle it, but those are usually the exceptions, the smarter, more mature kids. Just a theory I guess, but couldn't too much too soon delay the child's own imagination and creative process? Once you've been read Hunger Games in 4th grade, can you go back to Phantom Tollbooth?


Okie said...

Great post.

While I haven't been reading enough of the broad swath of recent YA, I've been keeping abreast enough to see that this market seems to be doing the same thing that TV, music and movies have been doing for years...pushing the market more and more extreme.

It's difficult because it seems the audience (both YA and adult) seems to thrive on shock value and the "one up" factor of making sure the next big thing is even bigger and more outrageous than the predecessors.

I'm not a huge fan of this. Some things don't need to be "taken to 11" to make something better. The farther we push the envelope (and the younger we start pushing it) the sooner we start crossing lines that shouldn't be crossed and doing so becomes the "norm" regardless of implications.

Good stories can be presented without the excess of sex, violence, vulgarity and lewdness that the market seems to be flooded with. Something is lost when standards are ignored.

Joel aka @Inspired2_Teach said...

Thank you for your compliment and your comment!

I don't read a lot of YA either, they can be full of drama and emotions just like teens themselves, which as a parent and teacher I see enough of already, thank you very much. But I try to read for my 4th-6th grade students and the shock value and adultness seems to be creeping down into their books (and movies, and music, etc., but that's a whole 'nother post).

I think Shadow and Bone and Hunger Games are great books, but I think they need to be grown into, let our children process the world a little longer before they tackle them.