By Emily Pooley
As a reader of Young Adult fiction, I know that sometimes the story will focus on girl meets boy, they fall in love, endure some hardships but ultimately live happily ever after. In today’s society, this isn’t the most accurate representation of young adults’ lives. Today’s young adults are facing issues such as bullying, eating disorders, LGBTQ issues, sexuality, depression, and suicide. There are some authors out there, who are stepping up and talking about these issues, and at Sculpt we are bringing those books out of the shadows and shining a light on them, so that you, as a reader can have access to these concepts and build your own opinion on them.
Last month, people all over the U.S. celebrated Banned Books Week and discussed some popular Young Adult fiction that was banned. When looking at the titles, it got me wondering on the common reasons why books get banned and by whom. According to the American Library Association, the top three reasons books are banned is due to offensive language, sexually explicit content, and unsuitable content for age group. The last reason in the sequence troubles me the most. Why is something ‘unsuitable content for [an] age group’? Usually it is because the age group isn’t presented with resources for developing an understanding of a concept. The number one initiator of banned books is a parent. I believe that a parent has a right to decide what is best for their young adult, but should their opinion be applied to every other young adult as well? I think if they want their young adult to have guidelines to what they are reading, that is their choice and they should discuss those limitations with their son or daughter, and trust that they will abide by those limitations. By removing these artistic avenues for every individual, it could stunt an entire generation’s growth, and limit the potential to discover new responses to the world in which they will one day be completely surrounded by without the ‘parental blocks’.
I believe that Young Adult fiction and any other genre of literature, provides an artistic way to explore the world we inhabit. Limiting those explorations will create problems for our world in the long run. I encourage readers to continue to open their minds to literature and all of the topics that they can open for you.