year old. Each of my daughters helped create these books, so they are extraspecial.Overall, none of these books are controversial, even if they get difficult tocategorize. (Is it a picture book or chapter book?) But they can be scary. In
A Series of Unfortunate Events
, those kids face some pretty frightening situations
and it’s not a happy book, as the narrator is fond of reminding the reader. Still,
things are pretty tame in the world of the little people, but as they get older,defining their books gets harder. (Puberty makes every area of life difficult,
Middle Grade: Ages 9-13:
This age bracket is really tricky. What’s the
difference between Middle Grade and Young Adult (the next category)? Well,
mostly, it’s content. Middle Grade books can be shorter to longer, there’s really
no restriction. Think of
; it started as a Middle Grade series, but
became longer and darker with each book. In October I’ll be publishing
The Reluctant Familiar
, a book whose protagonist is a 13-year-old witch, so it could
be MG, but it could also be YA. There’s a lot of cross
-over here.The general consensus seems to be that this category should be fairly tame withthe language, sex and violence. Nothing graphic. Main characters tend to be younger (within the 12-14 age range) and are dealing with issues typical of thosegrades.However, as I said, it bleeds into the YA category.
Young Adult: Ages 14+:
This is probably the most problematic genre of all.Some think YA caters to readers as young as 13, or stops at 18. As the name of this
genre (and it’s become a whole genre in and of itself) does include the word adult,
I think it is for the older teens and, well, young adults. This genre (along withsome MG) also has a huge cross over to adult readers (mostly female) well intotheir 30s, 40s and above.
The most challenging aspect of the YA genre is figuring out what’s appropriate for
this diverse age group. Topics such as sex, drugs and violence are often exploredin YA books, and have created conflict for those who feel we should be protecting young readers from such things. Is swearing okay? Depends on whom you ask.Some are coining terms such as Upper YA or New Adult to further categorize books that have more mature themes. Generally a YA book has an older teenmain character who is struggling with coming of age themes. Romance, sex,drugs, violence
these are all issues that many teens deal with, so a lot of writerschoose to include them.