A Note on Age Banding Books

As you may or may not (more likely) have noticed, I recently spent a painful two hours completely redoing the genres, categories, and tags of all 50-some books on this blog. The reason for this time-consuming whole-blog edit was simple: I wanted to remove all reference to age/reading level from my book classifications. In the early stages of the Banned Book Brigade, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out if a book should be classified as juvenile, young adult, or adult writing. But who am I to designate a book as a children’s book? Who am I to draw the line between adult fiction and young adult fiction? These questions began to bother me more and more, until I stopped age banding my books altogether. But that still left a few stray age-delineated categories and tags. For that reason, I decided to go back through the entire blog and set things straight. I now consider myself allied with many other authors and readers who believe that age-banding in general can do more harm then good when it comes to encouraging reading, particularly in young children. The following quote, which is attributed to Philip Pullman (author of the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy) sums up my sentiments on this issue nicely:

“[Age banding books is] based on a one-dimensional view of growth, which regards growing older as moving along a line like a monkey climbing a stick…”

 

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