Cover to Cover #327A: L. A. Banks

The ShadowsDiscussion: Many have complained that TV and movies are being too "dumbed down" for kids, but is the same thing happening in YA books?

Interview: This week, Mike, Mike, Lorrie and Summer talk with urban fantasy author L. A. Banks, creator of the Vampire Huntress Legend series. The first book, Minion, came out to much acclaim in 2004, and the newest book out this year, The Shadows, is already the 11th book in the series! And yes, she's working on Book 12, due out in February 2009...

Submitting Listener comments: If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know!

Link: The Vampire-Huntress Legends
Link: Leslie Esdaile Banks, Author

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  1. My niece (in 2nd grade) loved the Invention of Hugo Cabret. I really enjoyed it too.

  2. Hi guys,

    I know you want mostly people to call in and talk to you about the show and stuff. But I can't do it in just one minute, sorry. And what you were talking about the last show, well I got a lot to say and talk about. So hope this is okay.

    I read a lot, like Mrs. Mennenga. Right now I am reading three at once. The fourth book in the city of ember series, and the secret life of bees for school; then the new one by R A Salvador and his son called, the stowaway.

    You guys were talking about how Hollywood is making movies that are stupid for kids, yea some are really bad. But some are made for real little kids too. Like underdog and stuff. That's for five year olds, which is okay. But for older kids, nopes. And you guys are right, it's the parents that drag us to these because it's safe. Some people think dumb equals safe. Now dad says I can't judge people, what works for them is on them and stuff. But I hate anything dumb. I wont read anything that makes us kids look dumb, that talks down to us, or makes it look as if we don't know what goes on in the world. Cause we do know, and know what? We worry like you adult guys do too, cause this is going be our world next. And it don't look like we are going get much.

    And you guys are right! Young adult books are getting dumber, there are still great ones; but they are harder to find. And can I say to like the writers that listen and read this? I don't want to sound mean or anything or tell people what to do, but serious; can you guys stop with all the vampire young adult books already??? It's like three shelves in one bookstore we go to now. I know Buffy was cool, but serious. Wow.

    Okay here is my problem. I am 13, but I know im kinda weird. I like books for older kids and adults, I will read some young adults stuff, but I seek out the others first. The reason is, when I read I want the book to change me, you know? Make me think, and I really love books that are like mysterys or ones that you don't know whats going to happen next. I want to be surprised. I hate books that are too easy to figure out, or the ending was like; oh I don't feel like writing no more so the end. (one of my favorite arthors did that in a third book of her series and I almost threw the book away. I was that mad.) So you see? That is what young adult books are becoming more and more.

    You guys asked for a list of books that we like and really make us think. Well here is a list of mine.

    The city of ember series.

    The redwall series.


    True talents. (thank you guys, I love these.)


    The thief of books.

    Also I love Mr Stckpoole's fortress Draconious, Uncle Mike's books about the young dragon, and Tad Williams book the dragon bone chair. All of these books take a regular person, someone I can relate too; even the dragon. And rather changes them, or puts them on a journey and adventure that will show them growing, making good and bad choices, and becoming what they were meant to be all along. THAT is what is good writing, THAT is what young adult books should be. Not all girls only think about clothes and boys, and not all boys think about video games and sports. There's a whole big world out there, and the real world is a pretty scary place. Give us worlds you guys had in books, places we can go to dream, wonder and imagine what it would be like to be in there. That's why I like books like dragonlance, secret life of bees, even the shakespere I have to read. This is places and times ill never get to see or be in. Let us kids in these kind of worlds okay? Don't keep giving us stuff we can see on tv.

    Thank you uncle mike and everyone. Very sorry this is a long letter. Want you to know I really love you guys a lot. I know people say that all the time, but I really mean it. You guys let me talk and you listen to me. Dad and jenny do, but that's different. you are all my best friends and its so cool you want to know what I think. It's always cool when I get a email from you guys. I can show people, I say see that? That's from my friends, they do podcasts, they write books, and I even got a email from mr wright the artist that does girl genius and stuff telling me my artwork is very good. Me!! Darcy.

    See back before tim and you guys no one cared, now I got lots of people that do. I means a lot.

    HUGS you guys!

    Love always,


  3. When I was a kid, I loved Ender's game. For those that love sci-fi, and even those that didn't, it really should appeal to you. The story is more reflective of a boy trying to make it without parents than a story about a pilot or a commander. That's what good fantasy or sci fi books should do - they should use the scenery, time, place, etc. as a backdrop for telling good stories that relate to people. The real crux of whatever book / t.v. / movie / etc. should be a basic human struggle. If people can't relate to it on that level then they will disregard whatever beautiful description of elves / starships that the author will throw at them.

    Also, for those that want another discussion on this issue, there is a book out called "Everything bad is good for you", which makes a couple interesting points. The basic point that he makes is that television, even soap operas, have become more complex. So while on the surface it may seem like the shows aren't about anything substantial, they are actually encouraging our brains to use problem-solving skills and memory skills just to follow along with the plot. He argues that this evolved over time such that Hill Street Blues, which was prized for having complex plots seems like childs play compared to The Wire and Lost.

    So maybe the lesson to parents is this: maybe your child won't learn anything about culture, but they will improve their ability to focus, remember and solve puzzles. That's got to count for something, right?

    P.S. I see GoToMyPC being advertised above. I personally use Proxy Networks' remote control software whenever possible. Sorry but the geek in me just had to make a plug.