If Only Madeline L’Engle Could See YA Publishing Now

A WrinkleIn 1983, Madeline L’Engle, famed author of A Wrinkle in Time, gave a lecture at the Library of Congress about children’s publishing.  L’Engle spoke about children’s capacity to handle darker emotions:

“The writer whose words are going to be read by children has a heavy responsibility. And yet, despite the undeniable fact that the children’s minds are tender, they are also far more tough than many people realize, and they have an openness and an ability to grapple with difficult concepts which many adults have lost. Writers of children’s literature are set apart by their willingness to confront difficult questions.”

Today, with books like The Fault in Our Stars, Thirteen Reasons Why, and Perks of Being a Wallflower, among others, writers share stories about sickness, suicide, bullying, and mental illness.  Is this a reflection of the problems of our time or are these writers taking L’Engle’s words to heart and confronting those difficult questions?  What is your favorite book that deals with a tough issue?  Did it help you with those challenges in your own life?

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