Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Reflection #8: Marketing & Merchandising, Series Books

This has been my favorite week to read material for thus far. I love to think about consumerism and how it affects today's youth.

Both articles that were required reading for this week talked about what consumerism is, what a market child is, and how it affects kids. An example of this from the article would be American Girl. Children don't request a specific doll, typically. Not at first. The parents or grandparents, someone in the life of the child, recommends the doll or gives the child the doll. With the doll comes the American Girl books and movies. The child then becomes more and more familiarized with the American Girl character. When the child goes to the library, they want more books focused on their favorite character. They want to watch more movies about their character. It is not that their imagination is stifled in anyway. The kids can still play and make up stories about their doll. It's all about familiarity and comfort. They want to stick with what they know.

The same can be said about a lot of the series books that we read today. The Hunger Games is a HUGE series right now. It has completely blown up. Suzanne Collins must be loving that. But, really, we read the books first. After we loved the first book, two more came out. We read them because we loved the characters in the first book. We were all about the relationships between Katniss and Peeta or Katniss and Gale, depending what ship you're on. We wanted to read to find out what happened after Katniss and Peeta BOTH won the hunger games. Then came the movies. Of course, the trailer alone sparked book sales. People wanted to see the movie having read the book, and then the movie came out and made books popular all over again. This series has continued to rise in the ranks as the movies continue to be made. We continue to read and purchase these books and movies because of our familiarity and love for the fictional characters.

The negative aspect of this consumerism and market child mindset is that it prevents a lot of students from branching out and trying new things. Teens get so wrapped up in what they know and what their friends are doing/reading/watching that they don't try anything new. I am thankful that I was always so curious about new books that I was constantly discovering new things. But it worries me that today's youth is not like that. I don't think their imaginations are stifled because of it, but I do think that there is a limit of some kind that happens because of it. Hmmm....something to think about, for sure.

Bibliographic information:

Bickford, J. (2010). Consumerism How it Impacts Play and its Presence in Library Collections. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 8(3), 53-56.

Carman, P. & Pease, J. (2009). Skeleton Creek. New York: Scholastic Press.

Collins, S. (2008). The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Press.

Larbalestier, J. (2009). Liar. New York: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books.

Sekeres, D. (2009). The Market Child and Branded Fiction: A Synergism of Children's Literature, Consumer Culture, and New Literacies. Reading Research Quarterly, 44(4), 399-414.