|Back to Oct. Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 225||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||OCTOBER 2004|
|Beware of Depressing Reading|
Young adult "problem novels" assigned to her 12-year-old son prompted Barbara Feinberg to write Welcome to Lizard Motel, which contrasts the imaginative books she enjoyed in her youth to the award-winning books favored by English teachers now, in which "everybody dies."
Paula Fox's Monkey Island (about an abandoned 11-year-old living on the street) and Karen Hesse's Phoenix Rising (about a girl whose father ran off, whose mother and grandfather are dead and whose neighbors are poisoned by radiation from a nearby power plant accident) "are as bleak as a gas station parking lot at 4 a.m.," according to a New York Times review of Lizard Motel. Newbery Award winners "are notoriously glum." (8-22-04)
Across the pond, Britain's leading literary award for children's books faces a revolt by young readers who say they would prefer good old-fashioned stories to the controversial fare selected by the Carnegie Medal's selection committee of librarians. Children's reading circles set up to stimulate interest in the prize have panned the following recent winners:
"Grown-ups usually choose the most 'adult' books out of the selection," complained a 13-year-old critic in a survey conducted by The Sunday Telegraph (5-26-02).