Advocate for Teens

I try to support teen rights and advocate for teens whenever I can. I think as a librarian who works with teens I should be making sure that they are given respect and the benefit of the doubt, both in the library and in our community.

So when I read the editorial Teenagers Voting? No, thank you (please read it to see if you find it as offensive as I did) I was upset and I wrote a response.

Here’s my response. I thought it was really important for someone to say something in response to all teens being grouped together as negative influences on the community.


The prejudices we don’t question

cover art of the belgariad I’m rereading David Eddings’ Belgariad series and I have to say I’m a bit shocked by how different I’m perceiving it now compared to when I was in Gr. 8-10 reading it the first time. It was one of my favourite series, I had fond memories of Aunt Pol’s kitchen, and Silk’s sly ways….

I don’t remember ever thinking, “that’s racist!” or “you can’t give a whole country a characteristic of being sneaky or stupid”. I never questioned the sweeping generalizations that Eddings pronounces about his characters. Reading it the second time I am horrified by the way he gives entire nations negative traits. Not only are all Murgo’s evil men who bribe people with red gold, the good guys are completely defined by where they are from. Sendaria, the territory whose people are descended from immigrants from all over the West appears to be Eddings’ America.

Eddings has social commentary, with Garion noticing the flaws of each society they pass through. I like the parts where he objects to serfdom and when he thinks the common people and the nobles should interact more because the country can’t work if they don’t understand one another. What I don’ t like is that there are no exceptions to the stereotypes. Garion doesn’t learn that not all Chereks are barbaric, or that not all Drasnians are sneaky, or that not all Murgos are evil. He learns to expect from his friends the same he expects from all their race, and he makes generalizations that are not portrayed as wrong.

I will continue to love Eddings books out of nostalgia, but I have a lot of problems with the oversimplified races and cultures. I don’t know if Eddings was being prejudice or if he just didn’t bother to make complex individuals who broke the mold, but teens should take the Belgariad with a grain of salt.

I also find it interesting that libraries tend to class this series in Fantasy for adults but I consider it YA because it is a coming of age tale. Garion starts off as a boy and he goes on an adventure, I think this would appeal most to teens.

I always wanted to be a gamer girl…

I highly recommend Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi to teens and YA librarians. It is an enjoyable love story full of teen angst but also so much more.

It deals with serious issues that effect young adults:

  • Divorce- the mixed feelings that you deal with when your parents splitcover art of Gamer Girl
  • Bullying- the jerks who make high school unbearable at times
  • Media Literacy-the dangers of online gaming and identity theft
  • Breaking down stereotypes- don’t diss the geek girl but don’t diss the in crowd
  • Loneliness-being isolated from your old friends, trying to make new ones

But it’s not an after-school special over the top cheesy way of shoving issues down teens’ throats, it’s fun to read and relatable.

Tie ins

You will enjoy this book if you like manga or online gaming