The marketing and age category of YA (young adult) is a booming market; as of 2017, children’s and YA sales totaled $3.67 billion (Anderson, 2018). Each year, books about a variety of topics are published; readers can enjoy tales about faeries, shapeshifters, unrequited love, teens with cancer, coming out, road trips, and struggles with family and mental health. The past few years have also shown a boom in social justice-oriented novels, such as The Hate U Give. Many of these novels that focus on social issues, teens facing trouble, and marginalized identities attract criticism — they’re supposedly too inappropriate for 12 - 18 year olds. Books have been challenged, and in some cases removed, because they deal with LGBTQ+ identities and experiences, allegedly promote a disobedient attitude toward parents and schools, encourage teens to harm themselves or others, and promote negative stereotypes or include profanity. Such challenges have not stopped the flow of these novels; instead, writers, librarians, educators, and readers continue to advocate for access to these books because they believe teens have the right to read stories that reflect their inner and outer worlds.
With the industry as successful as it is, how many of these best-selling and hyped novels will stand the test of time — how many will fade away after the current trends have died? Additionally, how many of these books will leave a lasting impression on readers, especially teens?
For this author study, we will examine the works of Laurie Halse Anderson, an acclaimed YA, MG, and children’s author who has been writing professionally for decades. Her work has been challenged in schools and libraries, and yet continues to gain and keep readers and sell thousands of copies. What are her books about, and why does she write about topics that are so sensitive? What does she think about censorship, and the teens she writes for? What impact has her writing had on readers; why do her books seem to be so timeless? These are the topics this blog will explore.
Anderson, P. (2018, July 23). StatShot annual publisher survey puts 2017 estimated US revenue at 26.2 billion. Publishing Perspectives. Retrieved from https://publishingperspectives.com/2018/07/us-statshot-publisher-survey-2017-estimates-revenue/