At some point children grow up and become adults. To hide stuff from the adult world from teachers is unhelpful and patronising. So I'm fine with "mature content" as long it's justified.
Should YA books include swearing, sex etc?
Posted 07 October 2013 - 01:38 PM
I think Sean made a very good point. When I was young I read lots of "older" books that I probably wasn't supposed to. I just used to read whatever I came across in the house that my dad had got from the library. Mostly crime and spy novels, SF and Westerns. But I think that because they were written for adults, if there was any sex or violence in them it shaped my brain and made me think about those things more in an adult way. I would often find stuff that I did not understand until much later, not always sex stuff but often about relationships and feelings. I just stored those things away in my head.
I don't think that reading them too early did me any harm at all; in fact if a child does not stretch his/her brain to take in things they do not understand they will not progress.
Also, lets be honest, sex and relationships are things that preoccupy a teens mind to a large extent. Better they can learn about plausible situations (and consequences) in a book or two than have to have a hard lesson in real life.
But sex and violence for its own sake though, or held up as a lifestyle example , that's just rubbish anyway. There has always been junk writing . It's even OK to ingest and enjoy a certain amount of junk as long as you know it is junk. But if all you read or watch is junk then that's obviously not good.
Posted 08 October 2013 - 07:06 AM
I have teens (16 and 15). They don't read, but if they did, I know they'd find books without swearing unrealistic. Unfortunately swearing is part of their world, and for that reason, it shouldn't be left out of books, as long as its appropriate. Too much swearing isn't necessary, but none at all just isn't realistic. As for sex, if they want to read about it, they will. If it's not in YA books, they'll find it elsewhere. I remember my friends and I looking up sex references, and I know when I worked in the library sex was the most common subject searched for. It doesn't need to be descriptive or anything, but if it's necessary to the story it should be there.
Posted 09 October 2013 - 05:07 PM
I think one of the good reasons for including sex, drugs, violence and other difficult subjects in YA books, is that it can be a vehicle to show the possible consequences of decisions that teenagers may have to make at some point in their life, and make them think about how they might tackle the same situations if they ever face them themselves. That's not to say they should preach to their readers, but can provide different perspectives and explore the consequences of their actions.
Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:28 PM
I think that whatever makes the novel more realistic is what should be used. In a novel where the kids are part of a bad group of kids there will be a lot of swearing. If its a girl going through the troubles of high school or college, then there might be sex or pressures of sex involved.
Putting swearing and sex into a YA novel just because its a YA book and that's what an author might think a YA might want to read about or just putting it in there without a real reason is unnecessary.
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