Amid the doom and gloom predictions about the inexorable decline of poetry sales in bookstores comes this ray of sunshine from Galley Cat:
Earlier this month, I noted that the boom in YA science fiction and fantasy sales compared to the adult market for those genres. A little bird with access to Nielsen Bookscan tells me the effect can be seen in other genres as well. “Has anyone noticed that YA is also home to one of the bestselling (if not the bestselling) living poets in the country, Ellen Hopkins?” this source asks.
Hopkins is the author of four verse novel that deal with topics like drug addiction, child abuse, and suicidal impulses; according to my source, these books have registered more than 500,000 sales on Bookscan alone… and 7,000 copies in just one week earlier this month. “Hopkins isn’t an anomaly, either,” the email continues. “Sonya Sones has over a quarter-million Bookscan sales across four YA verse novels since 1999.”
I think the key point of the article is that poetry for kids isn’t stocked in the poetry section of the bookstore, it’s found in YA, just like genre novels. In fact, genre is not really a distinction for young readers at all. Perhaps when we don’t pre-program kids with common adult assumptions about certain kinds of literature they’ll be more inclined to embrace it? Reminds me of the Sultana Bran commercials “Don’t tell them it’s healthy and they’ll eat it by the boxful.”
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