Monday, April 15, 2013

New Imprint Resuscitates Forgotten YA of Years Past

I have a question: what is a classic? A children's book classic? Does it fall within a particular genre or time period? Has it evolved or are we glued to the traditional idea of it, forever and ever?  These have been thoughts trampling around my brain the past week, so I found it eerily fitting to come across news about a new imprint aiming to revitalize out of print YA books, to return to the public a variety of "classic" books from bygone eras.
The imprint, explained Ig publisher Robert Lasner, will “bring back the very best in young adult literature, from the classics of the 1930s and 1940s, to the thrillers and social novels of the 1970s and 1980s.”
I was struck by the word choice, "classics of the 1930's...", but not because I doubt the merit of the books slated for return. Rather, I wonder whether a classic would go out of print in the first place, and thus is such a term even relevant or should it start to ebb out of the conversation. I welcome these additions, specifically because the writers in question are predominantly women whose works introduced darkly comedic traits directly to Young Adult audiences. Considering the over-abundance of YA novels now, many of which fall into the thriller and dark territory, it certainly is worth experiencing and exploring the texts of earlier decades that contributed--maybe even helped shape--the status of YA now.

Do you think it will appeal to the young generations now though? The Imprint is not shy of sharing that they are targeting the original generation of readers, not current teens. Will a 70's thriller seem unappealing, or just retro enough to be cool?

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