Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Talkin' 'bout my generation

Every generation has its name, its jargon and its cultural mindset, reflected in its cult classic movies, television shows and books. After the Lost Generation, the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation (children of the Great Depression), the Baby Boomers were born beginning in 1946. They were such an enormous part of the U.S. population back then that they changed everything. The smaller generation that followed seemed to have little identity compared to the boomers, so they became known as Generation X and sometimes called the Baby Busters. They were followed by Generation Y, also known as the Millennials, Generation Next, Net Generation and Echo Boomers. The children born in the late 90's and early 2000s are Generation Z, also known as Generation I, or Internet Generation. No big surprise there!

When I was a kid, my brothers and I watched television classics like Eight is Enough, Happy Days and Star Trek. We read The Outsiders and I read everything by Judy Blume. We used words like "cool", "nerd", and "spaz" and catch phrases like "may the force be with you" from a popular movie at the time (:)). My older brother used to say "dy-no-mite" like Jimmie JJ Walker on the television show Good Times.

My own kids speak in "abbreves". No word is too short to be abbreviated. They don't quote great films all that frequently but they quote television shows like Modern Family and music lyrics by Ke$ha routinely. They can't figure out how we ever survived without cell phones, email and texting. So many great books have been written for and appreciated by kids of this generation and new books are being created for them all the time. This is, after all, the generation of Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games. But there is one book that is like an anthem for this generation and it just so happens to be a 5th-6th Grade Book of the Year finalist for the 2011 Children's Choice Book Awards. The book is Lane Smith's It's a Book. Fifth and sixth graders should not be put off by the fact that this is a picture book. It's a clever and irreverent picture book; with humor perfect for the middle grade age group and pretty well any age group. It has been called a "delightful manifesto on behalf of print in the digital age" and that it is. The characters are a mouse, a monkey and a tech-savvy jackass and it's one of those gems that you can't help but walk away quoting. Just as scores of school children know the first line of Charlotte's Web by heart and quote it with fondness, everyone who reads It's a Book will remember the last line and quote it with gusto.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great read for the tech-saturated times of today. Great breakdown of the different generations and how each one was categorized. I was just thinking, wouldn't it be ironic if this book was turned into an eBook? Thanks for sharing!