The junior fiction–or middle grade reader category spans from 9–12 years, with most publications best satisfying the lower end of the spectrum. The 10–12 year old female audience is a niche market that is not being adequately provided for. They are often sophisticated readers, yet still too
young for the mature concepts found in teen fiction.
The problem arising from this is that our tweens are reading way above their development level in the Young Adult literature section and being exposed to inappropriate content. In a world where the marketing giants are constantly bombarding this impressionable demographic and forcing them to grow up quicker than ever, it is sad to see a lack of suitable contemporary fiction that deals with the pressures that tweens face without the more complex issues that teen fiction confronts. Literature has long served the purpose of being adaptive and offering perspectives and possibilities that we may not otherwise be exposed to. Without suitable literature to read, our girls have been left even more vulnerable to the advertising wolves with an evident influx of tween magazines telling our girls
how to dress, how to think and how to act.
Parents and educators are at a loss on how to tackle the problem.
“More and more girls are concerned about how they look, what they are wearing, what friends think and what the rich and famous are doing. This leaves little room for an internal life to have the freedom to lose themselves in their own thoughts, dreams or passions or to be intrigued by
things that are out of the ordinary or unexpected which is crucial to imagination.” (Hamilton, 2008:58)
I believe publishers have a responsibility to assess this gap in the market and as an author I am determined to effect change for our young girls through their accessibility to contemporary literature. I am currently writing within the junior fiction genre and my first novel, No Ordinary Excuse is a contemporary novel dealing with the issues of peer popularity and the pressures of being perfect (relevant to their age group) while trying to maintain a unique identity though creativity and
No Ordinary Excuse is published by Odyssey Books (www.odysseybooks.com.au)
Hamilton, M 2008, What’s happening to our girls? Too much too soon, Penguin Group, Australia.