Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Recently I wrote to Ed about a topic that has long obsessed me—the place of war in young adult novels. How is it best handled? What should it teach? How can it make for compelling, not textbook dusty, reads? I'm interested in general, and I'm interested in particular, for there are vestiges of the Spanish Civil War in Small Damages, and there is the aftermath of World War II in my Berlin novel, due out in 2015.
I set out to read or re-read a dozen YA war novels to get answers to my questions. My thoughts on the topic shape the feature story in today's issue of Publishing Perspectives. The essay begins with the words below and can be found in total here:
War is personal, the saying goes. It’s the buckle and moil where the house used to be. It’s the shadow where once there was a friend. It’s the brother gone missing and the mother at risk. It is depravity, despotism, lies.
If our only hope against future war resides in the young we raise and teach, then war novels written for teens occupy an extraordinarily important place in the young adult canon. They have — one might say, or I will say — a responsibility. To tell the truth. To broker a truce. To declare, “This is courage or decency or love in a world that can barely be explained.”