Uncovering the roots of the YA genre
By Morgan on April 6th, 2011
Most bookstores today house thriving YA sections, and considering my reading diet is approximately three-quarters full of YA, I find it hard to imagine the days when YA wasn’t so prevalent. But then, earlier this week, I came across this fascinating seris from A Tapestry of Words about the roots of YA.
The series so far has covered YA Through the Ages: the 1800s, YA Through the Ages: 1900-1950, YA Through the Ages: the 50s, and YA Through the Ages: the 60s, and it presents a nice, engaging history of the YA genre, from its origin in the early 19th century, its slow growth in the early 20th century, and how it began blossoming in the 1950s. And by the 1960s, some clear trends in teen literature were emerging.
One only need glance at the posts to find at least some truth in the premise that YA lit was taking off in the 50s and 60s: after all, The Outsiders, The Catcher in the Rye, A Wrinkle in Time, To Kill a Mockingbird, and My Darling, My Hamburger were all published mid-century. (Notably, four of those books are part of the Most Listed Books over on You Are What You Read!)
As a big YA reader myself, I’m always curious about what teens (and adults who like teen lit!) were reading as they were growing up. What do you think, YA fans? How has the genre changed for you over the years?