Thursday, June 25, 2009

Word of the Day!

What's a Bildungsroman?
While doing some research for our new Children's readers advisory book, I came upon a word that I did not know. So of course, I Googled it to find out what the heck it is. Here is the result:

bil·dungs·ro·man (plural bil·dungs·ro·mans)
Definition: A novel about somebody's formative years: a novel about the early years of somebody's life, exploring the development of his or her character and personality.

Plenty of teen books fall into this catergory. Authors like Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot, Ann Brashares, Louise Rennison and Joan Bauer have a plethora of coming of age stories for teens.

Teens relate to these titles because they recognize the same struggles in their own lives. One of my favorite of this genre is the book, The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family, who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her.

Another of my favorites is, Confssions of a Shopaholic. Young Rebecca Bloomwood, a financial magazine writer whose perpetual shopping has dug her into a huge debt hole, tries to turn her life around when she meets the desirable Luke Brandon. Although, the main character is older, this title qualifies as a bildungsroman because Rebecca is searching for her true calling in life and trying to figure out how to get the guy she likes to notice her and not notice that she isn't completely sure of herself.

Of course classics like Jane Eyre and Little Women also fit into the definition of a bildungsroman. So now that you know what a bildungsroman is, what is your favorite?
Michele, Children's Librarian

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