Why Is Adult NF Full of Opinions, and YA NF So, Well, Restrained?
Adult NF sells to its readers, who are expected to be able to pick and choose on their own. Look in any chain bookstore history section — it is organized by era and topic. Any way you like your Civil War books, the store has something to offer: great generals, famous battles, exposes, new revelations, secrets, spies, academic studies, — you want it, they’ve got it.
YA NF is sold to adults, who buy for readers. Look in any chain bookstore NF section (there is no history section) and you find absolute chaos. The chain assumes that if parents want their little darlings to read about great generals, famous battles, secrets, spies, etc. they will take their charges to the library. If parent and child happen to be stuck in the NF section in the bookstore it is to buy a birthday present, or a tool to help at school.
So if you rule out the chain bookstore, that leaves the few independents, the library, and on-line sales. It seems to me that authors of NF for younger readers need to make the case to you — librarians, reviewers, parents, teachers — that having a point of view in our NF books can be a very good thing. It can make them impassioned, personal, lively. Sure we need to point to other views, have good source notes and guides to further reading. But bland is as bland does — it is safe, but, well, boring. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t see a big groundswell of kids clamoring for boring books.