Hi followers and other interested dropper-inners.
New Zealand is currently in the middle of "NZ Book Month".
On the envelope of my bank statement I see "Kids, read NZ books and we could take you to Auckland Zoo and "Shortland Street" !
First up - kids can't read. Kids are young goats.
Secondly - Shortland Street (from my vague memories of it) is a New Zealand soap opera with adult themes, conflict and drama - not the sort of thing children need to be watching. So why would a child be excited about winning a trip to see the sets and meet the actors?
But most disturbing to me is the fact that I have done a little research into "Young Adult" fiction just recently - due to the fact that I have written (and am continually adding bits to!) a Young Adult fiction novel.
I was interested to see what other New Zealand authors were offering our youth.
And - by the way - Young Adult fiction is, apparently, read by 12 - 18 year olds.
A helpful librarian was ready to show me some recently published New Zealand Young Adult fiction books - but I stopped her and said "No fantasy." She hesitated a minute and said "Ok - right, that narrows it down quite a lot."
In the end I came home with five books for my initial read-through.
These five books were published from between 1999 and 2007.
None of them are books we would let our children read.
The first had a plot based on deception. It was very boring to slog through the story waiting for the character to be revealed as a fraud. None of the characters was particularly likeable, there was a lot of sneering and rudeness to each other. One out of ten for slightly humorous situations.
The second book might have been classed "edgy" or "gritty" - but even for an adult it was awful. Inapproriate relationships, crude language, dope smoking, suicide. Zero out of ten.
Third up - started out with historical interest went straight into foul language, inappropriate comments, moved into the occult with ghost speaking to our main character. Zero.
Fourth - Interesting setting, character finds a ring in a rockpool - when she puts it on she can't stop telling the truth even when it should be kept hidden. She finds a tarot card reader who helps her find out about the ring ... Occult. How easy for our children to be introduced to these things through books like these. Zero out of ten.
and the last one for this session - the main character had no redeeming qualities, she was snarky, self-centred, full of self-pity, moody, nasty to others, the other characters were shallow. A bit too wordy and descriptive for me - heaps of descriptive bits about estuary birds which I skipped over and I wouldn't think there would be a great number of young people who would read all that word for word. Near the end there is a potential for a plane crash, but main character saves the day - however it took 10 pages to describe the near crash and the safe landing. Another Zero I'd have to say.
Am I too hard to please?
Probably, but I only want the best for our children.
That's why our children don't read fiction from the public library.
We read a really good story the other day about a man who had a big army, but God told him there were too many, and to send the ones who didn't want to fight home. Well, in the end there weren't many men left - but the battle was won!
Let's be very choosy folks. VERY choosy.