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Monday, May 21, 2012

Stephanie Lawton: Part II on Clean Reads for Kids

Today Stephanie continues her discussion about Young Adult lit and resources for parents/grandparents to find information about current books. I have taken the liberty of repeating a paragraph or two from last week to “ground” you in the subject.

Amid all the recent arguments that Young Adult lit is too “dark,” there’s an issue going unaddressed: Readers and parents/grandparents of readers who want “clean” titles don’t know where to find them.

If you prefer a less corporate approach, the book blog Reading Teen has a special section dedicated to “clean” reads. ( some sites, Reading Teen seems to keep up with newer releases and I agree with their choices.

If you’re in the market for Christian YA fiction, you’ve got a tougher road ahead of you. That segment of YA isn’t doing nearly as well as the rest, and some even argue that because Christian fiction in general is pretty tame, it does away with the need to publish separate YA lines.

You can find lists on Amazon of Christian YA,( ( but know that much of it is either self-published or put out by small presses. I’m definitely not saying there’s anything wrong with it, but just know that there are fewer quality gatekeepers.

One final resource—many of today’s most popular YA writers belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon Church). Their books are usually very clean and totally enjoyable without pushing any religion/denomination. Examples (other than Stephenie Meyer) include Shannon Hale, Kiersten White, Ally Condie, James Dashner and Brandon Mull.

Although I don’t support censorship—blanket decisions about what others can and can’t read—I fully support parents’ rights to monitor what their own children read. No one knows a child better than his or her parent/grandparent. I hope the above sources prove helpful to those in charge of shaping young minds.

(If readers want to contact me about this, I can be reached on Twitter at @Steph_Lawton, on Facebook at!/StephanieLawtonWriter or at

Thank you, Stephanie, for the good information and the references. Finding appropriate reading material for tweens and young teens is challenging in today's climate of "anything goes." Best of luck with your new book.


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