Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Intelligence of Teens (and M.T. Anderson)

Poet/professor Julie Larios's blog pointed me to M.T. Anderson's site, which had, among other worthy things, this gem:

On the Intelligence of Teens

[Speech to accept a 2009 Printz Honor for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves.]

...It sometimes strikes me that there is only one taboo left in young adult literature. By and large, no one complains any more when we write about drugs or sex...No, the one thing which still causes people pause – the final hurdle – the last frontier – the one element which still gets a few adult readers up in arms about whether a book is appropriate for kids – is intelligence. Some adults still balk at the assumption that our readers, the teenagers of this country, are smart, and curious, and get a kick out of knowing things...

We need to stop talking about how teens aren’t equal to challenges. Evidence suggests that kids respond strongly to our expectations, positive or negative. If enough of us have high expectations of their achievements, I believe that kids will rise to meet those expectations.


He has more good stuff to say (and fun book trailers to see), so I encourage you to visit his site.


M Pax said...

I think a lack of expectation has hindered our young.

Julie Larios said...

Tabatha - I listened to this speech and it thrilled me. Anderson is a literary hero, for sure, and wonder of wonder - he respects his readers!