How to Choose Materials for YAs
It is important to view the YA collection as a unique entity, and not simply
move some children’s fiction and classics into it. A great many materials
available have been carefully created just for YAs that specifically address
their developmental needs. YA materials need
to be evaluated before inclusion into “YA” just as all other collection areas.
Some evaluation criteria include:
- Is the main character between the ages of twelve and
eighteen? (common preference is to read about characters that are slightly
older than they are).
- Does the book engage the reader’s attention within the
first few pages?
- Is the language natural? (not too sophisticated or
- Is the book interesting and relevant to YA needs and
- Is the theme suitable for a YA audience?
- Are there stereotypes? Are characters portrayed in a
biased or demeaning way?
There are a great many resources available to help with
selection, or picking out which materials to purchase:
- Library journals such as VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
and Booklist which, among its regular reviews, includes a section “adult books
for young adults”
- Popular magazines such as Seventeen, YM, etc.
- The internet, through popular sites like salon.com or
through other libraries’ (NYPL, Multinomah) web pages
- Teen advisory board suggestions (TAB explained in a
- Book awards such as the YALSA (Young Adult Library
Services Association) “Printz (Michael L.) Award”, which is a national award
given to the author(s) of the best young adult book of the year -
or the PNLA (Pacific Northwest Library Association) “Young Reader’s Choice
Award”, the nation’s oldest reader’s choice award, has Senior division
nominees and winners - http://www.pnla.org/yrca/index.htm
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