Screens Are Not Teens’ Literature Killers

 

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Teen literature has seen a great boom in recent years. This is an encouraging trend for parents and educators. It is not merely a passing fad, but appears not only to be holding its own, but has become a powerful, profitable market niche. The explosion began with J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, and has continued with the Twilight and The Hunger Games series, and Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments books. Every one of these young adult novel series has also spawned blockbuster movies. These are just the most prominent examples of a market for young adult literature that has expanded enormously.

It seems that in literature, teens find themselves in the same uncomfortable position they find themselves in in their daily lives: they’re not children anymore, but have still yet to reach adulthood.

If you’ve been to the Barnes and Noble at Union Square in New York City, you may have noticed that the young adult section that used to be near the children’s section, was moved to be next to general fiction, and then later moved back. With young adult lit also attracting adult readers, book marketers find themselves in a bit of a quandary.

Teens’ stories draw inspiration from both the children’s and from the adult’s worlds. Many of the new teen books contain fantasy elements, just like children’s books (fairies, witches, goblins, and other mythical creatures) but also common adult topics and concerns (relationships, romantic or not; life threats, life struggles).

The explosive popularity of the young adult literature proves that the new technologies, particularly the time spent by tweens and teens in front of their computer and phones screens, so condemned by social conservatives, has neither killed their imaginations nor attraction to literature. To me, it looks like rather to the contrary as the boom of the tweens/teens literature corresponds with the boom of their usage of new technologies –and screens.

I would rather see my kids discovering new things from the Internet, sharing ideas with their peers, and playing games, than watching mindless TV series or films (though I must admit that the level of quality in TV series aimed for tweens and teens has improved and I’ve surprised myself having fun watching with my 11 year old daughter).

Parents shouldn’t be afraid that the new technologies are tweens and teens’ brain killers. To the contrary, they’re not. Thanks to the new technologies, tweens and teens’ minds are much more open to new things than the previous generations.

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2 Comments on “Screens Are Not Teens’ Literature Killers”

  1. Susan H. Says:

    It’s really important to share this message – kids are getting information and inspiration from many different sources, new and traditional.

    Reply

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  1. Six things your teen/tween is learning from you - March 14, 2014

    […] Screens Are Not Teens’ Literature Killers […]

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