December 28, 2008

Sniffle! Hack!

Oh, don't mind me and my sinus infection, and my fuzzy brain. I'll just lie here and cough. I WOULD be outside enjoying the sunshine, but NO, my body rebelled about sitting in a plane for ten hours.

dramatic sigh.

One of the things I learned during my MFA program -- almost incidentally -- is that YA and children's literature rarely has "ripped from the headlines" books. Almost any garishly spotlighted, sensational murder trial has an immediate companion novel from the point of view of the lawyer, the jury, the victim's sister -- but blessedly, that trend hasn't yet blighted children's lit. We tend to stay, on average, ten years behind the curve. Think about the fuss over the penguin picture book. Alternative families are nothing new, by far, but perhaps they became more commonplace during the nineties? I find the whole thing intriguing, from a sociological standpoint.

Thus, it is with real interest that I find that the first Katrina books -- which started to come out in 2005 -- are gaining momentum. Nonfiction seems always to be the first treatment in children's books about factual events -- Katrina was a meteorological event, after all, and it's always helpful to talk about weather and storms. The next explorations tend to be about animals -- the tsunami animals come to mind as a story that spread and spread and eventually became a book.

What I'm not seeing much of yet are the books about the human side of the equation, about the fact that a city in one of our fifty states was allowed to treat its people like refuse washed up after a storm, allowed them to starve or drown or be abandoned to die. There are a couple of MG titles I've run across -- 2007 was a good year for those -- but YA seems to be silent.

Are there few or no books for young adults because the adults still aren't sure how it could have happened?

Has anyone else noticed this trend -- the lag behind actual events, and the lack of reading material for older readers? This is just something random that jumped into my mind.


Has anyone else seen Valentine's decorations up in stores already? Anyone else moved to violence over it? Just me? Sigh. Blame the sinus infection...


PSST! Farida, the people have spoken, and the people want flower fairies. I can't hide your identity for much longer...

4 comments:

theyayayas said...

The only YA Katrina novel I can think of is Hurricane Song by Paul Volponi.

Trisha

divatobe said...

Ahem, I am one of the people setting up those vile displays of hearts. Something's just wrong about this when there are still reindeer and snowmen set up.

Jules at 7-Imp said...

Hmmm...never thought about that. But, yes, I would suspect that a lot of adults are still utterly confused as to how it could have happened. It was so the-zombies-have-come-end-of-the-world, I'm sure, for all those involved -- a complete breakdown of the rules of society as we know it. A true atrocity, a true embarrassment for the country (and did I read a headline the other day about how President Bush *still* feels ashamed about it, as he should? I really should click on and READ the headlines sometimes...). Anyway, I bet the fiction narratives will start poppin' up, once it all makes sense to us.

TadMack said...

Yes, Trisha, that's the ONLY ONE I can find. Everything else is MG -- from Mississippi or has an animal/storm/nature bit involved. Weird.

Jules, I kind of hope you're right? And then, I kind of hope that people can write about things they don't yet understand... and not from the point of view of someone who has all the answers...