Saturday, March 20, 2010

Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday: YA Recommendations

Today I'd like to talk about YA fiction for Christian teens. The Christian fiction market for YA is still quite small and not varied. It seems heavy on fantasy or girly books. Let's be honest.

But that doesn't mean there's not a wealth of great books published in the general market for Christian teens. Today's challenge is to compile a list of recommended books, Christian or general market for Christians teens.
I think there were several reasons I didn't read YA until I was an adult. One is that I went to a Christian school with a smallish library. Granted, it was growing year by year. The size it was when I was in fifth grade was nothing compared to what it had grown to be when I was a senior. But. It was a school library serving K-12. And I think it relied heavily on donations. There just wasn't a "YA" section. You had books like A Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Jane Eyre, Little Women, alongside (albeit arranged alphabetically by author) Ramona the Pest, Charlotte's Web, Winnie the Pooh, Little House in the Big Woods.

So when I began reading YA, I had a lot to think about! Is this a book I would have wanted to read as a teen? Is this a book I would feel comfortable recommending to a "Christian" teen? Is it a book appropriate for inclusion in a Christian library--be it Christian school library, church library, or home library. Now you should know I'm not for censorship. At all. I think books should be available to the general public. But just because I don't believe in taking books away, doesn't mean that I think every book is appropriate for every setting! Every child, every teen, every reader--even every adult reader--is different! And what is 'right' for one reader, may not be 'right' for all readers.

I'll share what I have so far. But. It's incomplete at best. Because I read hundreds of YA per year. And this is my fourth year blogging, so I have *way too many* books to sort through to get a recommended list.

I think there is a good amount of YA historical fiction that would be considered safe. And since I love, love, love historical fiction. I'm drawn to recommending only historical fiction at times. So Ann Rinaldi and Carolyn Meyer are two that come to mind right away. And Richard Peck.

Other historical fiction to consider:

Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller
At The Sign of the Star by Katherine Sturtevant (and its sequel A True and Faithful Narrative)
The Fiddler's Gun by A.S. Peterson
Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Crossing Stones by Helen Frost
The Humming of Numbers by Joni Sensel
The Maggie Valley series by Kerry Madden
The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

For fantasy:

Shannon Hale (all)
Jessica Day George (all)
James A. Owen (all)
Margaret Peterson Haddix (all) (she does fantasy & science fiction & realistic fiction)

Realization: It isn't so much that I have just a few to recommend. I realize that it's more the other way around. There are a few titles I wouldn't recommend it. But almost everything else if given the right context and given an opportunity for discussion would be recommendable.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Wonderful suggestions here!