Yesterday, I presented with author Carrie Mesrobian at the Wisconsin Library Association’s annual conference up in the Dells. We talked about teen girls in YA fiction and in the library to a full room of librarians who were really excited to talk with us about this topic. We started out asking for names of strong female characters in YA and got a nice response — then we flipped the switch and asked what the hell “strong female character” even meant. We had a great conversation about how we define strong female characters in YA and how names of heroines in fantasy or science fiction come to mind quicker than those in realistic YA.
Perhaps the best quote was one Carrie tossed out when we were talking about how today’s teens read and how they think about their reading: where we as adults are trying to program the VCR, today’s teens are already streaming the content they want and like.
Rather than try to box teens in, it’s our job as adults who work with teens or who care about them to continue giving them diversity and to quit thinking about them and their interests in binary ways. They don’t think that way, and we shouldn’t either.
For those who attended and asked about our presentation — or those who are interested in it — here’s a link to the Prezi. The books we talked about are included with covers, and you can zoom in as much as you need to to grab titles/authors. There are links to a couple of surveys of teen girls, as well. I’m happy to answer any questions or for those who attended and can’t remember the name of one of the books we talked about, I’m happy to help out.