It seems that this is the age where the banned books occur — for young adult readers. Yep. It’s true. Some group will find objection because of something in a young adult book and balk. And they’ll tell their friends and their school board to take it out of the library at their kids’ schools and on and on.
But banned books are relative. For example, Alice in Wonderland is banned in China. They don’t like the anthropomorphic animals acting on the same level as humans and The Diary of Anne Frank is banned in Lebanon for portraying Jews in a favorable light. Every country is different in their levels of sensitivity and how the literature makes the people feel.
The Harry Potter series can be claimed by middle-grade readers and by young adults, and we all know that attempts to ban that book have arisen in the U. S. but with that, also The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Giver by Lois Lowry, which is one of the best young adult fiction books — ever.
One way to write for these kids and probably NOT be banned is by giving them information in the form on nonfiction. There are a few reasons why you may want to become interested in writing nonficiton, even if you plan to be the next Lois Lowry yourself and you can write nonfiction for children of any age, really. I mean, the parameters that we’ve discussed for each age group apply, but you’re communicating facts, not making things up.
Plus, nonfiction just sells better. That means you can pay for your creative fiction side by writing some factual materials in between. I’ve done this over the years. I never wanted to be a nonfiction writer, but well… I came to love it and fell into writing it almost exclusively until recent times. I’ve actually just gotten back into writing fiction and will be publishing my first middle-grade novel early next year. So, as painful as it might seem to you… you might actually like it.
You can write about any topic for young adults, too. Nothing is out of bounds, really. The details you provide and the narration is precisely what you’d write for an adult newspaper, as they’re geared toward readers in the 7th grade (around age 12). Many adults never improve their reading skills beyond that age.
Unfortunate, but true.
So, if you want to write a book for young adults and have it banned, think of witchcraft, using the “N” word for black people, or bringing up subjects that parents think are too tough for their kids to absorb, even though they’re totally wrong for the most part. Just be sure that you’re writing responsibly. When you do that, even though there’s a clamor… you’ll win in the end. Just think of J. K. Rowling and you’ll feel a whole lot better.