Hey, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel has a new book out! But it’s not about the Holocaust. And it’s not another new biography of Rashi.
It’s an anthology. And, strangely enough, Wiesel probably raises the mean age of the authors by about 60 or 70 years.
The Best Teen Writing of 2009, fresh off the presses from Scholastic, is a collection of stories and essays from 13-18-year-olds who, I have to say, hit some pretty severe home runs. Marin County’s Laura Weiss, for example, writes a hilarious tongue-in-cheek satire about achieving “womanly nirvana”:
“After graduating from college, if you live in New York City, you should marry a rich lawyer and move to the Upper East Side and breed upper-society children while volunteering at the National Charity League. If you live in Los Angeles, you should become a fashion designer and – later – a mother. If you’re really ambitious, you could even be a magazine editor or a painter. If you live anywhere else, a teaching career shines in your future. You will teach young children for a few years, then go on maternity leave and never return.”
But, of course, Mr. Wiesel is never to be shown up. He offers his own advice to budding Best Young Writers (which is, admittedly, rather more straightforward):
The curiosity before a blank page, the anguish in trying to discover the right word, the joy in finding it: obviously, you have already experienced it. Now you must continue. Invent your own myths, draw from your own fantasy. Your worries, your aspirations. Impressions of your teachers, nostalgic memories of wanderings, the awakening of desire. Follow Thane Rosenbaumâ€™s example: there is more in your adolescence than you think; you will never run out of themes.
Thanks to Jen at the ever-resourceful On Our Minds at Scholastic blog.