betwixt with tweens

Bookavore has a wonderful post about a recent bookseller panel that discussed the challenges facing everyone when choosing books for kids in that very nebulous 11-13-year-old age bracket. You should click over and read the whole thing, but I wanted to highlight one bit. Bookavore and many booksellers are pondering the need to further segment the children’s/YA section of their stores to separate books that appeal to teens that have mature content and those that don’t.

She writes: “My store, and many others, have two sections: middle-grade fiction, and YA/teen fiction (and as I sit near the receiving desk, I can tell you that where we shelve a book when it could go either way, at this point, usually is determined by the level of mature content). What we need is a section in between for all these books.

This is where you come in. Just what do we call this section? The best suggestion I’ve heard so far is “young teen.” It appeals to tweens because they want to think of themselves as teens, but also connotes that content is conservative. We could also do the opposite, and follow the lead of some manga publishers, who have “teen” and “older teen.”

What do you think? What do we call this section? Should we make a new section? Do we need to worry about dividing books up too much? As a side note, too, Politics & Prose in DC has recently moved their YA to be with the adult books, rather than with the children’s books. Is this helpful?”

What do you think about this? I would love to hear your opinions about this – as readers, authors, editors, librarians, teachers, parents, booksellers – speak up!