Why I Read (and Love) YA

Happy I Read YA Week!

All week book lovers are encouraged to share why they read Young Adult books. (Join in on social media and use #IreadYA!) Here’s my short list.

I read YA (and any books labeled for “young readers”),

because what I read in my childhood and teen years will stick with me forever. Those stories taught me to love so many genres, to explore and imagine possibilities of which I had never dreamed, and to enjoy my own company but also have something meaningful to share with others.

because certain YA books were the first I read on my own in which girls and women were girls and women, not some archetype. They weren’t limited to or defined by one attribute, one characteristic, one status, or superpower. I saw myself in them. I wanted to be them. I wanted to be their friend. They were interesting people, simple as that.

The Ghost Wore Gray (Coville), George Washington's Socks (Woodruff), Black Horses for the King (McCaffrey), Dragon's Milk (Fletcher), and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Avi). Eternally grateful for these and so many others from my youth.

Eternally grateful for these and so many others from my youth. The Ghost Wore Gray (Coville), George Washington’s Socks (Woodruff), Black Horses for the King (McCaffrey), Dragon’s Milk (Fletcher), and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Avi).

because Bruce Coville and Susan Fletcher were the first authors to ever write back to me, making young Kate feel like she mattered. My resulting loyalty hasn’t gone away.

because I have a child. If I think a book is worth my kid reading someday (a pretty high standard), why wouldn’t I want to read something that good, too?

because it makes me laugh and cry, relive childhood, and continually re-examine adulthood.

because there’s room in it for everyone. It challenges expectations. Simultaneously celebrates and questions tradition. Creates fandoms and champions geekery.

because YA books taught me to willingly lose sleep to finish just one more chapter and still mourn shamelessly when I reached the back cover.

because YA calls out grown-ups who try to shield youth from the challenging, important, passionate, tragic, comic, and fascinating lives they’re already living.

because it opens us all to experience compassion for our fellow inhabitants of the world.

because I never, ever want to have nothing to offer if asked by a young (and possibly hesitant) reader what book they might like.

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