Thursday, February 21, 2008

"There Is One Great Book for Each of Us"

So says the gifted author Sherman Alexie in a recent PW essay about why he started writing for the YA market.

Below is a bit more context for the quote. I love the purity of his reasoning, which is rooted in honoring the work and the young people who read it.

"Why have teens so embraced my book? I think it's because teenagers, of every class, color and creed, feel trapped by family, community and tribal expectations. And teenagers have to make the outrageous and heroic decision to re-create themselves.

"Of course, there are certain adults who discourage and even punish teens for their outrage. I met a few of them during my book tour, but I met far more teachers, librarians, writers and parents who actively hope their students, readers, and children will grow beyond them. These adults know a secret: there is one great book for each of us. And that book, whether it is a novel, poetry, history or even an auto repair manual, becomes a sacred and profane how-to manual. So I write because I know there is a kid out there who needs my book. There might be one thousand, one hundred thousand or one million such kids. I want to be their favorite writer, craziest ally and honored guest."

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