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From The Washington Post Magazine

"Ask these huddles of third- through sixth-graders why they like 'Dork Diaries' so much, and they’ll excitedly say it’s because of 'the humor' and 'the cliffhangers' and 'the drama.' McNair teacher JC Thomas says a deeper reason, based on classroom feedback, is that the kids just plain relate to the adolescent characters."

Read more: Michael Cavna, The Washington Post Magazine, The Washington Post
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From The Switch

"Nancy -- and surely the world is on a first-name basis with her by now -- has a classic can-do attitude and stunning reserves of pluck that make her role model for any time, said Jenn Fisher, president of the series fan club, the Nancy Drew Sleuths. 'Her forwardness, her independence and her zeal to solve everything no matter how baffling -- she inspires.'"

Read more: Hayley Tsukayama, The Switch, The Washington Post

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From Christ & Pop Culture

"The plot serves well as an adolescent girl's fantasy: here is a handsome, kind, smart boy who loves her (the real her) and waits patiently for her to come to her senses and love him back -- all while he prepares diligently for medical school. But I think the story offers something more too, containing elements of reality in the same way that Jane Austen's parlor dramas do despite being so limited in scale (if not in scope). The reality of Anne of Green Gables is heightened -- this is partly the point of the novels -- but the novels contain truth, just the same."

Read more: S. D. Kelly, Christ & Pop Culture
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From The Wall Street Journal

"Ms. Voiklis said she wanted readers to know the book wasn’t a simple allegory of communism. Instead, it’s about the risk of any country—including a democracy—placing too much value on security. The tension between safety and personal freedom is an idea that resonates in today’s politics."

Read more: Jennifer Maloney, The Wall Street Journal
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From Religion Dispatches

"Montgomery, who published the CYOA books after Packard’s idea was rejected repeatedly by more mainstream presses, believed the innovative, role-playing format of the stories taught a moral lesson. They were designed from a humanist, spiritual-but-not-religious perspective. They engaged readers with Montgomery’s core belief, illustrating again and again a central value of human agency and responsibility."

Read more: Daniel Silliman, Religion Dispatches
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From Radio Times

"All in all, Branagh was keen to stick to the positive essence of the story, and not to 'create a hopeless world... I believe the opposite is possible, and actually frankly unusual. I felt that it was important. I had heard too many people come to a story saying, "I see it as very dark".'"

Read more: Ellie Walker-Arnott, Radio Times
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From The Guardian

"Jane Austen would have been very proud of young adult fiction readers this week. Using the #RealisticYA and #VeryRealisticYA hashtags, many have been lining up to puncture the genre’s often fantastical plots with fragments of narrative in a rather more ordinary key. For instance, @corpsehands wrote 'a teen finds out there are werewolves at the school. they’d investigate, but they have a LOT of homework to do.'

"Such miniature parodies of dystopian sagas and supernatural romances, filling Twitter with ordinary girls and boys forswearing epic quests and magical initiations to get on with revision or household chores, continue a tradition that dates back to Northanger Abbey -- and beyond."

Read more: Jenny McAuley, Books blog, The Guardian
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From Ethika Politika

"I like to think about my children (when I have them) leafing through National Geographic, or First Things, or the National Catholic Register, steeping themselves in the good lessons and instruction that these institutions communicate: about the beauty of creation, right morality and Christian society, the Catholic life. A recent Wall Street Journal column, '"Calvin and Hobbes": America’s Most Profound Comic Strip,' reminded me that I want them reading Bill Watterson’s iconic creation also, and for similar reasons: It just may be the most educative and instructive art one could want in a contemporary Christian home."

Read more: Michael Bradley, Ethika Politika
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From Slate

"'Death, too, has a sense of humor,' Terry Pratchett wrote in The Color of Magic. In his own turn, Pratchett had a sense of humor about death. Indeed, few authors have written about death with more good-natured bemusement than Pratchett, who died today at 66."

Read more: Jacob Brogan, Browbeat, Slate
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From The Washington Post

"Shakespeare’s plays contain anti-Semitism, racism and sexism, sexual abuse and violence; they magnify the tenor of their age. But should they be censored when they might offend a particular community?"

Read more: Preti Taneja, PostEverything, The Washington Post
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From Roman Roads Media

"While it may be daunting to pick up the Great Books and start reading, make 2015 the year you do it WITH your kids, and earn some FREE curriculum in the process!"

Read more: Roman Roads Media
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From B&N Teen Blog

"It was hard to see the end of so many great series in 2014—but for every series that closes, another one opens."

Read more: Dahlia Adler, B&N Teen Blog, Barnes and Noble
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From Catholic Digest

"Utopian and dystopian fiction often ask the same big questions: What makes for human happiness and well-being? What does it mean to be human? What kind of world should we aspire to? What obstacles must we avoid?"

Read more: Steven D. Greydanus, Catholic Digest
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From The Hollywood Reporter

"Constantin Film, the production company that controls the rights to Cassandra Clare's best-selling YA fantasy franchise and which produced The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones film, is relaunching Mortal Instruments as a high-end drama series."

Read more: Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter
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From Her.meneutics

"Could that mean that these titles aren’t as immature as the critics think? As we delve into YA books, we aren’t living in the minds of children. Instead, we are in dialogue with another adult, grasping for something in our memory. I believe what draws many Christians to YA is a longing to steep ourselves in something that we have forgotten or left behind."

Read more: Christiana Peterson, Her.meneutics, Christianity Today
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From Better Ed

"My takeaway from this comparison? It's great that schools today have students read contemporary literature. But we still need to make sure that students also read good literature from the past and are sufficiently challenged."

Read more: Annie Holmquist, Better Ed
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From The New York Times

"Below are some ideas for connecting it to a larger discussion about the popularity of dystopian literature, as well as options for going further to explore other aspects of the book with the help of Times and Learning Network resources."

Read more: Sarah Gross and Katherine Schulten, The Learning Network, The New York Times
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From Reason

"Youth-oriented fiction about worlds gone awry is not new. The tradition stretches back generations and involves works now revered as classics. Some of the giants of what was then called juvenile science fiction -- Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Poul Anderson -- wrote what now would be classified as YA dystopias. But the exponential recent growth of the genre suggests something else at play: a generation's lost wonder and mounting anxiety."

Read more: Amy Sturgis, Reason
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From Tinsel

"One of the ways I judge whether a book did its job or not is if it blows my mind. If I can’t entirely understand it, if I have questions about it, if it’s difficult to put into words what it was about or how it made me feel. It’s also good if I get goose bumps."

Read more: Nancy Scofield, Tinsel, Patheos
Topics: Books, Worldview
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From Variety

"Published in 1962, 'Wrinkle in Time' was one of Lee’s favorite novels as a child, and she impressed Disney executives with her take on the project, which emphasizes a strong female-driven narrative and creatively approaches the science fiction and world-building elements of the book."

Read more: Marc Graser and Dave McNary, Variety
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Note: A link on this page does not constitute an endorsement from BreakPoint. It simply means that we thought that the linked news item or opinion piece would be of interest to Christian parents of teens and preteens.