Writing the Tough Stuff

By Charlotte Bennardo

As noted previously, this month's subject is tough subjects for kids. Today I think there are more books that deal with tough subjects than ever before. I can't name a single subject that hasn't been written about.

Photo courtesy of Vic Tor, Pexels

About divorce: The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff.

About bullying: The Swift Boys and Me by Kody Keplinger.

About the immigrant experience: Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai.

About death: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.

About mental illness: Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson.

About addiction: Tall Tales by Karen Day.

About sexuality issues: The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey.

About racism: My Name is Bilal by Asma Mobin-Uddin MD

Obviously there are so many more books on these and other tough issues.

Personally, I don't write issue books. I don't think I could do them justice because my experience is limited even though these issues exist in my family. It's a rocky road writing these books because there is pressure to get the facts straight (which is problematic because we update our knowledge everyday and each experience is unique to the individual), to portray individuals in these situations fairly and accurately but if I don't know them well, or live with them or are them, can I do that, and finally, there is a movement in the industry that if it doesn't affect you intimately, maybe you shouldn't write it.

And it's not what I want to write. I prefer science, humor, fiction, unbelievable circumstances and characters that you may not like- ever. I don't believe life--or a book--will, or should, always have a happy ending. So I leave those issues in the hands of authors who not only want to tackle the subjects, but are able. A lot of people dance, but not everyone is a ballerina. I'm a writer, just not a 'tough issue' one.

It is comforting knowing that whatever the subject, whatever the age, there seems to be a book (or many) out there, waiting to offer its wisdom, guidance, and comfort to the young reader.


  1. We all have our own place in the writing world, don't we? That's what makes reading so exciting--each author takes us on a unique adventure.


Post a Comment