Why We Need YA

It is not only a privilege and an honor to write for children, but an obligation. 

Yes. Bold statement. I've been full of 'em lately. Must be something in the air. Or just a matter of digging my voice out of the sand.

There are those who don't give young people enough credit, who undermine their ability and potential. There are some who discount their opinion and capacity to listen. There are those who don't observe the world as kids do; the places on the sidewalk, inbetween the bricks, and in the dark night where the cracks and weaknesses give rise to strength and courage. Then, there are some who do...

It is with this in mind that we write for those emerging from the land of lollipops and cartwheels, for those on the edge of adulthood, and for those who aren't so sure of the world they're entering. By telling stories, we participate and contribute to the depth and breadth of their knowing. 

We say  yes, I hear you. I see you. I want to understand you. I want you to be understood. We also say, look, see this? You can still be a dreamer, a hero, the president of worlds unknown. Don't give up even as this spinning top seems to change, and whirl, around you.

As writers we are both Sherpas leading young people into new and unexplored lands, and the ones being guided. As their consciousness shifts and expands, our own is impacted as well because we are reminded of hope, truth, and our potential to continuing growing (—up, again and again.) It's a duality to be sure, a reciprocal relationship. Childhood and adulthood is too finite. We forever have the capacity to grow, but sometimes forget. It is through story whether told around a campfire, read in the crisp pages of a book between classes, after work, in the glow of an ereader, and in our memory that we return to the place of wonder, connection, and imagination.

As writers, storytellers, and authors we are obligated to continue this lineage, to acknowledge youth and their experience, as we've likely shared, if not in the actual events, but in the emotions, the mood, the ethos. 

The communion of words on the page binds us to reality as we actually live it, it's what makes us humans a community, comforts us when life is confusing and tragic, and brings us together whether or not we realize we need each other.  

This topic has been explored and expounded upon, but I felt the need to contribute my thoughts to the discussion and I'd love to hear yours. 

Check out more on this here from Maggie Stiefvater and Maddie Crum.

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