Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Compare and Contrast

Amie Grosshans

I’m still feeling a twinge of disappointment after dropping the database class but overall I’m having a much easier time keeping up with schoolwork, and I’m a lot less stressed.  So, yay!  I’m also really enjoying being able to focus on a single class.  This week’s topic in Collections and Materials for Young Adults was particularly interesting, as we focused on young adult non-fiction adaptations.  We had to read Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi and its YA adaptation, Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, both of which chronicle the history of racism in the United States.    

While I read a lot of YA fiction, I don’t read YA non-fiction at all.  Truthfully, I never gave too much thought to the genre before this week.  I thought most young adults would gravitate towards reading adult non-fiction, because that’s what I did when I was younger, but that’s not the case for everyone.  I happen to love history and biographies, but I know they can be boring, depending on the author and style.  So adapting adult non-fiction for young adults makes a lot of sense, because these books can be tailored to focus on the necessary info while presenting that info in an engaging way.  That way, young adults will be more interested in the topic.

Before this week, I always figured that YA adaptations were watered down versions of the original, with certain details and language omitted or changed to match the age group.  But the truth is that YA adaptations are distinct entities from their adult counterparts and include lots of changes, including changes to content and voice.  Stamped and Stamped from the Beginning are great examples of this.  Stamped from the Beginning reads like a typical adult non-fiction book and goes into a lot of detail.  Stamped tells a lot of the same stories, but in a markedly different way.  It lists facts, yes, but in a much more engaging way.  The narrative voice is completely different, too.  Stamped directly engages the reader and feels like a conversation with the author rather than just a summary of facts.  I liked both versions and learned a lot from them.  Most importantly, I was left wanting to learn more, especially about people and events that I thought I already knew everything about.  I highly recommend reading either of these books.  The topic is not the easiest to read about, but it is important and timely.