Literature can provide youth and their teachers with meaningful tools for coping, discussing, and understanding. Library professionals have a duty to protect that access.
When faced with challenges to freedom of expression or limitations on access to information, teens require caring support and reliable information.
Since her first novel was published in 1967, S.E. Hinton has been beloved by youth for creating relatable characters and tenderly writing hard truths. Her books continue to be enjoyed by avid and reluctant readers, to be taught in classrooms, and to be challenged by would-be censors.
Myracle writes about the struggles of teenagehood in the internet age and the range of bad decisions that can get made (and, unfortunately, fully documented and preserved). Her characters are compelling by virtue of both their at-times shallowness and their devotion to the ideals of friendship.
Teens are dealing with dark, heavy matters. Film, theater, literature, and other art forms are perhaps the most cathartic and helpful resource they can lean on.
Diversity is definitely something that should be put into the public eye for awareness, but equally important is that teens and readers of young adult literature know the abundance of books there are with diverse themes and characters. Well-written books about diversity are out there, waiting to be devoured, but where does one begin to find books that fit this category?
On just a normal day at work, recently, a young boy came up to me to inquire about the next book in a series. We had the item, but it was currently checked out. I asked for his card and put the item on hold for him. Everything was normal, and then, just as he was leaving, he asked if he could see who had the item checked out.
One of the consistently controversial subjects in many cultures is sexuality and youth. To many, it invokes some disgusting subjects that I do not wish to think about, none-the-less write about. But, for teens themselves it is an important subject that they require access to truthful and honest information about. Some governments and parents feel as uncomfortable as I do about discussing these things, or may reduce the access to honest sexual education information that teens have in some ignorant desire to “protect.”