- “Who cares to read about poor, tough, inner-city kids?”
- “You should write Chick-Lit; it’s much more publishable than what you write.”
- “Why don’t you write about white girls instead of (insert choice of ethnicity or shade of pigment here) boys? White girls are the ones who buy books.”
Here’s my thing…first, who’s to say that the “typical” reader won’t be interested in reading about impoverished kids going through tough times? Two words: The Outsiders. ‘Nuff said. Second, if it’s true that very few teen boys read, shouldn’t those of us dedicated to literacy be creating interesting stories for them, in hopes of increasing those numbers?
Today I volunteered in several middle school English classes. True, very few boys actually read during free reading time. So, I took an informal poll. Turns out, all agreed that they would choose to read if they could just find something of interest. Little House on the Prairie just isn’t doing it for them. We do have the Greg Neris and the Alan Lawrence Sitomers out there doing their parts contributing to gritty tough-boy lit. But I think we should be flooding the market with endless choices for those tough boys.
Who cares to read about poor, tough, inner-city kids? Well, I do, for one. And I have a feeling I’m not alone. Maybe tough-boy lit will become the new wizard-lit. And then I’ll be kickin’ it like J.K. while little children dress up like my main characters and wait in line at midnight to purchase my books.