[DWJ] recommendations

Deborah Meghnagi Bailey deborah at brightweavings.com
Sat Jul 27 14:06:54 EDT 2013

I agree on recommending later books - my oldest is not five yet, but I am
eagerly writing down some of these recommendations for myself, since, as we
all know, good YA fiction is just as appropriate for adults as for kids, and
I was just too old to discover it for myself by the 1990s, when I was either
reading adult fiction or rereading the YA fiction I already had, and
ordering the entire DWJ backlist that was then available.

I'd take any recommendations for any good kid/YA books, for myself, and one
day, for my sons.

-----Original Message-----
From: dwj-bounces at suberic.net [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net] On Behalf Of
deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Sent: Saturday, July 27, 2013 6:43 PM
To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion
Subject: Re: [DWJ] recommendations

On Sat, 27 Jul 2013, Carol Carr wrote:

> Tamara Pierce has a lot of mature material in apparently innocent books.

The Circle of Magic books, which are what was recommended, are middle grade

> A lot of great books were written in 1950s and 1960s  for older child 
> readers, without the adult or dark material common to modern work.

A lot of great books were also written in the 1990s and 2000s. I lik to
recommend recent books on the grounds that parents probably know the old
stuff, having read it themselves.

Frankly, books written in the 1950s and 1960s, while often great in other
ways, are far more likely to have attitudes about whiteness which are, shall
we say, troubling to a mixed race girl who is looking for herself in books.
The Horse and His Boy, for example, which is the Narnia books with a
protagonist of color (and is my favorite Narnia book, because childhood
favorites sometimes aren't bound by such things), is brutally racist toward
the Calormenes, who are pretty thinly veiled Orientalist Middle Eastern

While many of the books recommended are not what I'd give to a 10 year old,
that's not because they're dark, it's because they're about what I'd call YA
concerns (romance, leaving home, independent identity) and not childhood
concerns (learning how to be a person, independence in safety).


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