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How YA Lit Will Save The World

Jenny has a plan to save the world: more Katnisses and less Cyruses!

How YA Lit Will Save The World

Okay folks, y'all may know our mission here at FYA (besides eating tasty business and drinking cocktails) is YAngelism. That's right. It's our duty to spread the gospel that it's not only cool to read YA, but it may just save the world. How is that? (You may ask).

While it's true that reading YA might not clean up millions of gallons of oil in the gulf, or bring about peace in the middle east (or might it?), read on after the break to hear my thoughts on the importance of YA in our culture, and then share your opinions with us!

In this age of reality tv and trashed-out pop stars, I often wonder what the world is coming to, and who can we, as people, find as a standard to emulate?

Snooki? Dear God, I hope not. 

But that got me to thinking. Really? Who would you want your kids, or in my case, other people's kids looking up to? I mean, what's out there? Pop Stars who can't sing without autotune? Mumbling, shoulder slumping actresses? Talented musicians who just can't get out of their own crazy way? Scandalous athletes? Complete and utter toads?

I don't want to name names, but for the sake of this very un-biased report, I thought I'd do a little casting call, just so you'd get a good mental picture:

Casting Call:

Taylor Swift as the talentless pop star

Kristen Stewart as the mumbling actress with bad posture

Kanye as the talented but cray-cray

Miley Cyrus as the Toad. Also known as the worst celebrity influence of all time. 

(And yes, that is apparently a photo she took of herself and posted on MySpace.) But again, I'm not naming names or anything. You get the picture, right?

Editor's note: I don't know any sports stars names, so I didn't post a picture of one of them, thinking that even without, I had enough evidence to prove my point.

And my point is this! With YA novels, we get an in depth view of a character's soul. We can identify with them. They are attainable on the page. We can feel for them on a deeper level than a movie star, because we spend more time with them while reading. We can learn from their mistakes, and we can cheer them through their triumphs. We will never follow their careers until they burn out in some spectacularly horrendous way (i.e. shaving their heads in public, getting on that wild and wacky drug train, or joining the Church of Scientology).

When I was a youngster, my three heroes were Anne Shirley, Elinor Dashwood and Abigail Adams, and although the latter was a real person in history, she was my hero because I READ ABOUT HER IN A BOOK. The very nature of reading is such a personal experience; it stimulates the senses and the mind, as opposed to the bombastic nature of most television these days (I'm not knocking tv, I love it, too, but look around you. Do you see Snookis or Anne Shirleys?).

As a culture, we become what we consume, and all signs point to us becoming a trash-culture.

That is why it is more important than ever to spread the word about YAngelism to your friends, neighbors and postmen!!!!

So readers, who are/were your YA heroes? Who in literature would you like to emulate?

Categories: YAngelism Tags: role model
Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.