The allure of the Captain Underpants series is lost on some adults. Rife with flatulence jokes, characters with puerile names like Professor Pippy P. Poopypants and starring an unlikely superhero in tighty-whities, the series topped the American Library Association's list of Most Frequently Challenged Books in both 2012 and 2013.
Just as there are good and bad adult novels, there are good and bad YA novels. To snidely pan the entire YA genre as being an embarrassment for any adult to enjoy is both small-minded and myopic.
I'm all for helping kids find their passions in books. It's about what gets your child to not hear you when you announce that dinner is ready. It's not about title dropping.
None of this misogyny rings true for a contemporary fourth-grade boy. Fourth-grade boys in 2013 know better. First-grade boys do. My own son knows that girls can do anything boys can do. It's not even a question.
Gay penguins, a superhero clad in briefs, vampires and witches, bondage -- next week is all about banned books here at PEN as we join librarians, booksellers, publishers and writers to celebrate the freedom to read.
Have you discovered pairings of your own? Using Pam's list as a jumping off point, and your children as consultants, use
It shouldn't matter what kids want to read. They should just read. If they want to spend half an hour doing MadLibs, or reading a sports magazine, or a comic book, or novel, or a fix-it book, or a book of jokes they should. It's all reading.
Reluctant readers, it seems, like fart jokes. They also seem to like gross food, nonstop action, and the occasional illustration. For those not in the business, the term "reluctant reader" tends to be a synonym for "boy."
The fact is that boys are reading. Just like girls, boys are hungry for stories that speak to them, that excite their imaginations and reflect their experiences.
His new graphic novel, "The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future," published Aug. 10, continues the