I had such a nice little moment on the subway this morning, seeing a boy, maybe fourteen or so, engrossed in a beaten-up hardcover library copy of The Hunt for Red October. While I always hope to like Tom Clancy more than I do, I envied that kid his big summer book. And I hope for everybody's sake it wasn't part of his assigned summer-reading list!
Over on her blog Original Content, Gail Gauthier has been wondering why Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys was named a Best Book for Young Adults by ALA. In this era of the burgeoning ranks of YA fiction, it's easy to forget that the main mission of YA librarians used to be to bring teen readers into the world of adult books. Obviously, when pioneers such as Margaret Edwards were working, YA fiction was far more limited in both range and numbers, so librarians had no choice but to bring young readers out of the box. But now I worry (and Horn Book YA columnist Patty Campbell and I have been arguing this one for years) that the surfeit of YA lit--if you believe there is one, and I do--keeps librarians from moving kids along. And when I hear that we should be thinking of YA as including people into their twenties I get apoplectic. Push 'em out of the nest, already.