Literature and Adolescents

November 20, 2018

Excerpt taken from


Once upon a time children could rely on the stories they read to thrill, amuse, educate and even scare them.

Now, however, children’s books are being sanitised and dumbed down, according to a best-selling author.

Geraldine McCaughrean, who has written more than 160 books, said there was now a range of topics that are no longer deemed acceptable for young readers.

‘With a book that’s going to be sold into schools you get a list of things that are unacceptable – no witches, no demons, no alcohol, no death, no religion,’ she said yesterday. ‘It really does cut down what you can write about.

According to this article, literature for adolescents and young adults seems to have gone through a process of volunteer censorship. However, It is the author’s choice to meet the criteria of the industry. If you are a writer of this genre and this is your way of making a living you are naturally going to write to the preferences of the publisher. If you are true to your craft you could end up homeless.

I am not a proponent of having students read topics that are inappropriate but a few sprinkles of real life scenarios wouldn’t be a bad thing. There seems to be a gap or a void regarding real life experiences between children’s literature and young adult literature.  That void has been filled by “Bubble Gum Literature”. This literature is of high interest to pre-teens but many times lacks academic value.

It seems when we fast forward to young adult literature it addresses more real life situations. There appears to be few options in between. It would be nice to have more options for pre-teens. Avid pre-teen readers may be shocked at the content of adolescent or young adult literature. This content may confuse or even turn them off to reading.