Serious Linkage

September 23rd, 2010 • Kate

Chain links 09I taught two Nia classes today, ran a few errands, and managed to get an exciting new project out to a fabulous list of prospective editors. What I didn’t do was write a fabulous blog post, and since I’ve already fallen down on the job once this week, I can’t let another day go by without putting something up here.

So, in the spirit of letting other people do my work for me, a couple of links.

First, from Stephanie Perkins, on the subject of Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project:

Now, I was not a happy teenager. In fact, I was a deeply unhappy teenager. And though my problems were minuscule compared to what gay teenagers face, they were still problems. Real, legitimate problems. And the ONE PIECE OF ADVICE that made a difference was when an adult who was not one of my parents** took the time to pull me aside and told me those exact same words:

It gets better.

She told me a story about a girl she knew who was a lot like me, who felt no connection with her peers, who was miserable in high school, and how the MOMENT she left . . . her life got better.

I never forgot it. Those words pulled me through some incredibly difficult years. And you know what? That adult was right. The moment I was out of high school—the day after graduation!—I was a happier person.

“It gets better” is a message I want to shout from the rooftops.

Read the whole post, and pass on the video, if you agree.

Link #2 is by Nathan Bransford, originally published at the Huffington Post, on the subject of dead (or missing) parents in kids literature:

I’m not a psychologist or an anthropologist or even a cultural historian (though I play one on a blog), but I am a former twelve-year-old, and I can remember how thrilling it was to read books where the kids were off on their own, fighting and outsmarting adults, dealing with harsh landscapes, facing their deepest fears, making unforgettable friendships, and, while I didn’t know it at the time, learning how to be adults.

Around the age the books in this list are so appealing, we’re starting to imagine life without our parents, we’re starting to develop our own opinions and thoughts, and we’re starting to realize that our parents are not always right about everything (eventually we’ll learn that they were right about more than we realized at the time).

Dead parents, I would argue, are an externalization of this nascent independence. We’re starting to imagine life on our own and love to read about kids who have been suddenly thrust into that position. A tradition this common cannot be accidental.

Well worth the full read.

Moving on, Jennifer Weiner adds another fabulous post to the girls vs boys books debate, a debate she helped raise to mass consciousness with her franzenfreude tag on Twitter. Do read the whole thing, and pay special attention to the Stephen King quote:

Tokenism is not allowed. You can’t sit back, give a self satisfied sigh and say, “Ah, that takes care of the troublesome pop lit question. In another twenty years or perhaps thirty, we’ll give this award to another writer who sells enough books to make the best seller lists.” It’s not good enough. Nor do I have any patience with or use for those who make a point of pride in saying they’ve never read anything by John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Mary Higgins Clark or any other popular writer.

And in Weiner’s own words:

“when the paper of record tells its readers, through silence and omission, that some stories, some writers, some readers matter more than others and some stories, some writers, some readers, don’t matter at all, then yes, I’ve got a problem with that.”

Finally, something a little lighter for your Thursday evening. If you weren’t in NYC at Symphony Space this evening, you missed an impassioned debate between supporters of Zombies and Unicorns. For a taste (though I expect pictures if not videos from the event itself), do check out Simon & Schuster’s video trailer for the anthology.

What exciting things have YOU seen on the internets lately?

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2 Responses to “Serious Linkage”

  1. Erin Says:


    Serious Linkage… of win! These are some great posts. I heart the internets.

    I adore Stephanie Perkins' sentiment and the entire "It Gets Better" project. What an amazing resource for teens.

    In terms of the parent issue in children's literature, I never think of it as an "issue" if the decision to include or not include the parents makes sense, rather than just being a default or a choice of convenience. (Like Harry Potter's deceased parents are a part of the plot and are integral to the backstory that influences the forward action.) But when some authors kill off wonderful parents because that will force their protagonist to fight their own battles… I'm not sure how I feel about it. (As a kid who had to learn the hard way how to fight her own battles because she grew up with a mom who did it for her… yeah.) If it's well-executed, that's one thing, but I happen to think parent characters have the potential provide some fascinating conflict worth exploring. I suppose I'm arguing for necessity rather than plot convenience in either case. But then, I also feel that all plot choices should feel necessary rather than convenient…

    Like Maureen Johnson's post you linked yesterday, Jennifer Weiner's post is wonderful. Such a complex set of issues — I agree that the crisis of [boys'] literacy is a separate issue from the girl vs. boy book issue — but regardless it's amazing to see so many people getting in on the discussion. It's something that absolutely should be talked about rather than ignored.

    I wish I could have made it to the debate last night! I wore my unicorn earrings in solidarity anyway — go TEAM UNICORN! Ahem.

  2. Jess Says:

    Some great links!

    I'm excited about a lot of things I'm seeing lately. The SPEAKLoudly campaign, for instance! What a great outpouring and openness. I couldn't stop crying reading many of the contributions, whether they were survivors' tales or just impassioned and well-thought out arguments.