I am on a mission to read more through the winter (don't you think curled up in a blanket next to the fire is the perfect time to read?) and I want to focus on fiction for young adults and children. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'd like to write a book, possibly a YA fiction, so I'm researching the genre as well. More than that though, I am also embracing my love of YA fiction. Adults Are Devouring Kids' Books for Good Reason.
I visited the library yesterday and picked out a few titles from the YA fiction section and I also went downstairs to the children's fiction section to see what they had there. I really don't know very much about writing fiction for young adults or children, so I quizzed the librarians and learned about the School Library Journal and The Horn Book as resources to find out more. There is also a YA Fiction Librarian at our local library, so I will be stopping by to chat with her too. If I am going to write a book I should learn a little more about how it all works. I didn't know that the Newbery Medal is awarded to fiction books for children, which is age fourteen and below and most YA fiction doesn't qualify. Typically, YA fiction is age fourteen and above, but publishers sometimes market YA fiction to students as young as 10, so there is some cross over and there are some books that appeal to both age groups. Understanding all these nuances is important.
When I got home I looked up the list of YA Fiction that Kelly published over the summer and I also found this fantastic list of the top 100 YA Fiction books of all time by NPR. Looking at that list I was so happy to discover that I have read way more YA Fiction than I first thought. Obviously there are the Harry Potter books, the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Twilight and His Dark Materials series'. But there was also The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Fahrenheit 451, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Dune, My Sister's Keeper and Howl's Moving Castle, all of which I own but never thought of as YA. But of course they are. There was also Something Wicked This Way Comes, which is so familiar to me, but I can't think of the plot AT ALL. The name is familiar in such a way that makes me think I said it repeatedly one summer when I was 12.
Not on the list is my favorite author Neil Gaiman who wrote Stardust, Coraline, The Graveyard Book and Odd and the Frost Giants. I've also recently read The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo and both When You Reach Me and Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead. Loved them all.
The librarian asked me how much YA fiction I had read, and I answered just a bit. I realize now though, that I've actually read A LOT, and that category might even be what I have read THE MOST. Of course, I love a good adult book and I've read and enjoyed so many, but my point is that I read YA even when I don't realize I'm reading YA and I always really enjoy it.
So hey, here is where YOU come in! What are your favorite children or young adult fiction books? This is research my friends, please share!