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From Conversion Diary

"I have been baffled by the fact that so many of my friends found it to be such a dreary read, so I began an impassioned investigation into the issue. It mainly involved bringing it up at dinner parties and sending a bunch of texts that said U didn’t like TFIOS? WTH?, but by the end of this scientific investigation, I began to see some patterns in the responses. Most interestingly, I noticed that people’s takes on the book tended to fall along the same lines as their spiritual history.

"Specifically: People who have always been believers don’t tend to like the book as much as those who have known atheism." [Emphasis in original.]

Read more: Jennifer Fulwiler, Conversion Diary
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From Christianity Today

". . . Wishbone didn't just give me an appetite for classic books along with a bit of wholesome weekday entertainment. By example—and, I might point out, on a TV—it taught me something important: stories that aren't 'true' (fiction, in other words) matters, because stories (what they're about and the way they are told) become part of me. They begin to populate a sort of subconscious roadmap for how I live my life."

Read more: Alissa Wilkinson, Watch This Way, Christianity Today
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From The Los Angeles Times

"Walter Dean Myers, a celebrated author known for writing books about young African Americans, such as 'Monster,' 'Fallen Angels' and 'Hoops,' has died. He was 76."

Read more: Lauren Raab, The Los Angeles Times
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From BookRiot

"The book What to Read When has been a great help in guidance for appropriate books for different ages, and Jim Trelease’s classic The Read-Aloud Handbook is on my bedside table. What have other parents and family members done to help the children in your lives learn to love reading? Are there any books you loved as a child or your children can’t get enough of?"

Read more: Jaime Herndon, BookRiot
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From Thin Places

"Parents face two barriers in passing along the joy of reading. There's the cultural barrier: reading competes with television shows, internet activities, video games, tablets, and smart phones, and just as we tend to choose fast food over home-cooked meals, we tend to gravitate toward the easier purveyor of content. There's also the educational barrier: as schools insist upon more and more nonfiction reading, kids begin to see books as means to the end of information gathering rather than an end in and of themselves. But I have to believe that we parents can do something to give the gift of reading to our children."

Read more: Amy Julia Becker, Thin Places, Christianity Today
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From ALA News

"The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, officially announced the 2014 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees today, on Celebrate Teen Literature Day."

Read more: Jaclyn Finneke, ALA News
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From The Guardian

"Baer was arrested and handcuffed after attacking the school's decision to set the book at a school board meeting this week, according to local reports. Acting Gilford police chief James Leach told CBS that 'there were repeated attempts to ask him to stop. I asked him to leave. He refused. He said, "arrest me or I'm not going to" . . . so I did.'"

Read more: Alison Flood, The Guardian

(H/T Wendy Richard)
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From The Federalist

"The problem is not that either pink princesses or dystopian fiction are evil. The problem is that they are insufficient to nurture the souls that seem so drawn to them. After all, how can they provide adequate intellectual and moral nutrition when, by and large, they are so highly processed and packaged? The real message is that our girls need us to step entirely outside of the shiny, commercial world that would channel them toward following one fad after another until their souls and sense of self are blunted. It is possible to raise children who are independent from commercial culture and who can safely dabble in a princess or two, or an occasional dystopia, without being shaped and limited by them."

Read more: Anna Mussmann, The Federalist
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From Slate

When I saw University of Iowa English professor Adam Hooks bemoaning 'relatable' on Twitter, I asked him what his experience had been with the word in the classroom. ''Relatable' is a sign of a failure to engage with the work or text, a failure to get beyond one's own concerns to confront the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable,' he wrote to me in an email. In other words, the quest for the 'relatable' circumscribes the expansion of empathy that you can gain through exposure to new things. When the word 'relatable' really means 'relevant to me,' as it often does in the classroom, anything outside the purview of 'relatability' looks like it's not worth examining."

Read more: Rebecca Onion, Lexicon Valley, Slate
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"For many transhumanists, one of the limitations to be overcome is death; these so-called immortalists point to a number of organisms, including jellyfish, lobsters, and tortoises, as evidence of the possibility of extending all life, including and especially human life. Inspiring children to embrace this possibility and to strive toward its execution is the point of Stolyarov’s book. He has even launched an Indiegogo campaign to distribute Death Is Wrong to 1,000 children free of charge."

Read more: Marybeth Davis Baggett, Christ & Pop Culture
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"Why can’t these people just let children read and enjoy books that appeal to them? If my kids read good books, I don’t care if the books are 'boy books' or 'girl books.'"

Read more: Rod Dreher, The American Conservative
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"When my wife and I had our first daughter, we weren’t sure we’d ever be allowed to share that joy with her. A traumatic brain injury during birth indicated that she might never be able to enjoy the sound of language or the thrill of a story. And besides, those first few brutalizing years left us thinking about little else besides keeping each other alive.

"But we kept reading to her, even when it felt like we were just reading to ourselves."

Read more: Ron Charles, The Style Blog, The Washington Post
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"Throughout history, fairy tales have provided stable ground, a comforting picture of a world where morality matters. These stories give us glimpses of truth in a society that often distorts right and wrong."

Read more: Katherine Reay, Her.meneutics, Christianity Today

(H/T Rachel McMillan)
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"But despite the flaws and the film's occasional sentimental lapse, The Book Thief is hardly meaningless. It powerfully portrays one dimension of the Christian story: the glory of humanity."

Read more: Jen Pollock Michel, Her.meneutics, Christianity Today
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"Shelter your children. Yes. Absolutely. But use a picnic shelter, not a lightless bomb bunker, and not virtual reality goggles looping bubblegum clouds. Feast with them on fiction in safety, laugh with them through terrible adventures seething with real weather. They should feel the wind and fear the lightning and witness the fools and heroes—and yet stay protected."

Read more: N. D. Wilson, Mud Alive, Christianity Today
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"Young-adult fiction, commonly called 'YA fiction,' has exploded over the past decade or so: The number of YA titles published grew more than 120 percent between 2002 and 2012, and other estimates say that between 1997 and 2009, that figure was closer to 900 percent. Ask a handful of young-adult fiction writers what exactly makes a YA novel, though, and you’ll get a handful of conflicting answers."

Read more: Nolan Feeney, The Atlantic
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"The more I think about the world of Divergent, the more bothered I get by the way courage is presented. I’ve got other problems with the worldbuilding, but I’m going to focus just on this question for the moment. What is courage, and what is fear?"

Read more: Mary Johnson, Exploring the Inner Universe

(See also "Courage in YA literature, part 2: integrity")
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"Here are my top five signs you’re reading too much young adult literature."

Read more: Brenna Clarke Gray, Book Riot
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"So what better time to look at the original golden age of YA literature? Author — and occasional NPR reviewer — Lizzie Skurnick has written for and about teens, and now she's starting her own imprint, dedicated to publishing beloved and forgotten YA books from the 1930s through the 1980s — including, let's be truthful, some that made me squeal with excitement when I saw them on her bookshelf."

Read more: Petra Mayer, NPR Books, NPR
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"Giving students some choice in what they read, as Ross suggests, can really help grease the reading wheels for students, but we needn’t abandon more formalized classroom activities to aid their enjoyment of books -- even assigned books. My own experience tells me that some students will love the readings I assign, some will tolerate them, and some with actively loathe them. Hand any 30 people the same book and you’ll likely get similar results. What often shapes a student’s reading experience with an assigned book has less to do with how much he adored what he read and more to do with the teacher’s approach to the book in the classroom. If a student feels that his response to the book is what’s valued and he’s given a chance to work through that response a less restrictive way, he will likely come away appreciative of, if not in love with, the given book, even if there is an essay to write or a quiz to take along the way."

Read more: Josh Corman, Book Riot
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Note: A link on this page does not constitute an endorsement from BreakPoint. It simply means that we thought that the linked news item or opinion piece would be of interest to Christian parents of teens and preteens.