Books bring dark issues to light for teen readers

"Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher

The enormously popular “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher, follows a suicidal girl’s posthumous message to classmates she blames for her death.

The Denver Post had an article last week detailing the content in a handful of recently released teen books: School shootings, terrorism, post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness, sex, discrimination, substance abuse, death and grieving.

“Kids are dealing with a world that has changed,” said Beverly Horowitz, vice president and publisher of Delacorte Press, a prominent fixture in the world of young-adult literature.

“People are trying to make sense of what’s going on in the world. These books, in their way, show different stages and different reactions of people of different ages.

“Some of the best kinds of YA writing include adults who are as imperfect as the teens, or who are overwhelmed, or who make a mistake and acknowledge that. It is so important for young people — for educators, for parents — to see that you can’t make everything right. You wish you could. But you can’t deny that things happen.”

A few months ago, we’d posed to York-area parents the question of how they handle the books their kids and teens choose to read. Find some of their comments here.

Are you concerned about the subject matter in books aimed at younger readers? Leave a comment and share your story.

Also of interest:
Banned Books Weeks celebrates freedom to read
— Top 10 challenged books from 2010

About Sarah Chain

I'm an avid reader and book lover living and working in downtown York. Follow me on Twitter at @sarahEchain.
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