Friday, October 19, 2007

Children Making Up Their Own Minds? Scandalous!

I'm wondering about drinking and drug use by adults in mid-grade novels. My WIP, set in 1970s, has a pot-smoking mother (daughter, main character, disapproves and pretends not to know.) Would that element place me in the YA category? (problematical since MC is only 13)

The only way this would end up in the middle-grade shelves is if it were abundantly clear that the author/book itself disapproved of that behavior. It's not enough for the main character to disapprove, unless it's written in 1st person. As long as the book clearly presents a bias against drug use, it might be tween. If you want to present both sides and let your reader choose, you're talking YA.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of children making up their own minds . . .

This post made me remember something from a long, long time ago. When I was in third grade, my teacher would only allow us to choose from certain books in the library. Anyway, I wasn’t interested in those books. I had a friend who was an assistant in the library so I would get her to check out books about such people as Lizzy Borden and case studies of Jack the Ripper. (Crime analysis, etc.) Can you believe a third grade girl was interested in such stuff? I loved it though. And still do today. I love watching shows where crimes get solved with the use of forensics. I also enjoy writing such things. (Evil laughter) I had a critique done on a mystery novel I wrote last year by a published author. He said he loved how I wasn’t afraid to make my young readers think. I have to honestly say, one of my biggest pet peeves in writing is writers who feel they must draw a road map from point A to point B. Kids are much smarter than that! Have a great weekend!

Kimberly Lynn

ae said...

Funny, Kimberly. Fast forward to today as a third grader. I'll bet you'd find many more choices than were available to you back when. We just didn't have much, did we?

And yes, I can believe it. You wanted something that no one knew or wanted an eight-year-old GIRL to read. Neanderthal.

And kids are MUCH smarter today...or maybe they always were but we never noticed or appreciated it.

Good luck with your book!!