Thursday, December 13, 2007

What's in a label?

Yesterday, I discovered to my chagrin that I may be part of the conspiracy to dumb down American kids so they won't be able to compete with Asian engineers.

As mentioned before, I'm weeding children's chapter books (a.k.a JFs), and yesterday I found myself moving a bunch of books to YA. Now, these books weren't circing in JF and they mostly had protagonists who were in their teens, so it seemed a sensible move, but at the same time, I remember reading some of these books as a child. Examples:

The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
The Moon by Night by Madeliene L'Engle
Songs of Faith by Angela Johnson
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

So I started to worry that I was dumbing down my JFs. But then it occured to me: are we still adjusting to the advent of YA as a category? Were these books originally categorized as children's books because the YA category was still in its development stages?

To answer that question I'd have to do, like, history and numbers. So I'm going to let the question just sort of float. But I also discovered that the blessed cataloging dept. has put the Lightning Thief in kids and The Titan's Curse in YA. They've put The Wee Free Men in YA and A Hat Full of Sky in kids. Not to mention the fact that I seem to have copies of Stargirl in every section of my library including the 100s.

At least I'm not the only one who's confused.

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