Friday, January 11, 2013

Is What You Read Harmful to Your Mental Health?

I heard an interesting podcast this week from CBC radio on Questioning Teen Sick-Lit.

I hadn't realized there was so much debate about topics of suicide, cutting, abuse, cancer, etc. in YA novels. But some people think these kinds of books can be dangerous for vulnerable teens by amplifying what they are feeling.

This discussion included perspectives from Amanda Craig, a children's book reviewer for The Times of London who refuses to review books about teen death and believes they can be harmful; the general manager of Mabel's Fables book shop in in Toronto, Melissa Bordon-King; and a teen perspective from 17-year-old book critic and blogger, Robby Auld (

I liked this comment Melissa Bordon-King offers to customers and parents: "Literature is the safest place where we can explore the world's hardest issues."

See also this article by the Guardian, 'Sick-lit'? Evidently young adult fiction is too complex for the Daily Mail.


  1. I don't like "sick-lit" although I'd never heard the phrase before, I've been seeing a lot of it. Ugh.

  2. I do believe it's possible for books to harm. I don't think we can say books help and at the same time claim books can't have a negative effect. Ideas aren't guaranteed safe, after all.


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