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Kid's lit and post-apoc

So I keep hearing there's a huge trend to dystopian YA or other kid's books. Mostly recently in this thread. Either blow things up, so the kids can be protagonists without parents getting in the way, or make a fascist dystopia, so they can acceptably rebel against authority without ruffling the feathers of the moral gatekeepers.

Sometimes this sort of thing makes me come up with examples or counter-examples from my own life, which I've been advised can be annoying, but I can do whatever I want in my LJ, haha. Mind you, I didn't have a huge concept of children's books let alone YA as a kid, and was doing things like reading Mallory at 7 and Moby Dick at 8, but anyway, here's what I can remember, in order of my digging them out of memory:



Beverly Cleary books like Ramona
Encyclopedia Brown
The Black Stallion series (I totally wanted to be a jockey, until I saw Feynman on Nova at age 8 and wanted to be a physicist instead.)
Narnia
The Hobbit
Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books
Lloyd Alexander's The Illyrian Adventure
Charlotte's Web
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Heidi
The Secret Garden
Adventures of Remi (reportedly not actually written as YA)
that other book I can't recall anything of but cosy and with some fairies in
Jane Yolen's intergalactic dragon books
Harper Hall of Pern
Wind in the Willows (YA?)
Curious George
Toad and Frog
My Side of the Mountain
The Blue Sword (the book I forgot having read... twice.)
Book of the Dun Cow
Redwall (almost too late to count)

I'm sure there's more and I may find myself adding to this, but I think I've stalled out. At any rate, we can see a total lack of post-apocalypse, unless one is snarky about Middle-Earth and Pern. Of course, many don't even feature young protagonists. Those that do achieve separation from adults by fantasy portal to another world, focusing on kids' concerns, being orphans, standing on a desert island, running away, kidnapping, or not at all because the adults are an integral part of the story. Sometimes the child is in dystopian circumstances (Remi, Yolen) but there's no need to mess up the whole world.

Book of the Dun Cow does feature apocalypse -- Apocalypse, even. OTOH, it stars a rooster, not a kid. (I also wasn't at all sure whether to include it, but it got a Children's Book award. I suspect under the rule that anything with animal characters other than _Animal Farm_ must be for chidren. Hey, the book is rooted in Chaucer.)

There are some apocalyptic books I read, but none are YA: Alas Babylon, Childhood's End, Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grill, Last Stand of the DNA Cowboys.



Side note: Wikipedia says of Alexander's Vesper Holly: "Vesper is young and wild; not at all the proper Victorian schoolgirl. Alexander describes her as having "the digestive talents of a goat and the mind of a chess master. She is familiar with half a dozen languages and can swear in all of them."[2]" I should go re-read it, especially since anima_mecanique liked it a lot as a kid. I remember jack-all.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/323271.html#comments

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
heron61
May. 25th, 2012 05:05 am (UTC)
I grew up with lots of kid's SF by the likes of James Blish (The Star Dwellers, Welcome to Mars!, A Life for the Stars...), and very little of it was dystopian or post-apocalyptic. Instead, you had lots of kids on frotier planets or on space ships, where they might need to be in charge during an emergency, or where everyone needed to do their bit to insure survival. That sort of YA fiction seems far rarer now, I suspect largely because the US farming/rural culture that these books are in part based on has been largely extinct for more than 30 years.

There was also a bunch to teenage inventor fic, also mostly connected to an era where at least a few inventions were made by individuals rather than in massive labs, another era that's long gone, and the associate fiction with it.

I think that street kid in galactic empire fic may still exist, I know that Alan Dean Foster was writing Pip & Flinx novels where Flinx was still relatively young in the 90s.
notthebuddha
May. 25th, 2012 08:50 am (UTC)
How did you miss John Christopher's Tripod Trilogy? Classic YA, fascist, and post-Apocalyptic.
harimad
May. 25th, 2012 01:24 pm (UTC)
I was wondering about Christopher as well. To me The Hunger Games seems to be this generation's version.
mindstalk
May. 25th, 2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
*shrug* Never saw or heard of it as a kid. Have only vaguely heard of it as an adult.
nidoking
May. 25th, 2012 12:40 pm (UTC)
I recently recovered the entire Vesper Holly series from whichever round of storage it was most recently condemned to. I remember reading them all as a kid, but not many details. I don't even remember whether I thought it was weird for a woman to be going on adventures and solving mysteries... I know people made a big deal of it, but I don't think I really cared.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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