Today’s Washington Post has a wonderful profile of YA author M.T. Anderson. As I was reading the article I found myself (mentally) cheering, “Hoo-rah!”.
“It’s insulting to believe that teens should have a different kind of book than an adult should,” says the author of “Feed” and, most recently, “The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation.” Teens like challenges, he says. They know the world is complicated, and “they can tell when a book is simplifying life.”
Thank you, M.T. Anderson! While he is specifically speaking about teens, in my experience this quote applies to all young readers, tween and teen alike. Kids hate to be talked down to, preached at, and treated like babies. All too often, publishers choose to market books that do all of these things. My 6th graders want to think, they want to argue, and they want to learn. They just don’t want to feel like they are being explicitly taught in a fiction book. And to be honest, the same goes for me. And I would assume most adults feel the same way. We want a great story, awesome characters, and ideas we would not have thought of on our own. Why do so many publishers and authors think that kids should be treated any differently?
So Mr. Anderson? Please keep writing. And keep treating kids like the intelligent beings that they are! My 6th graders will someday graduate to your books, and I can’t wait until they do.
Oh, and the best part of this article? It finally pushed me to order The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves .