If you are reader, a writer, a teacher and you just might be one of those people who would donate to We Need Diverse Books consider doing so this week and help me celebrate my birthday. Here is the link.
Okay, for those who can't wait, I talk about these fine book at the bottom.
Maybe Some of These Deserve a Chapter
Let’s talk about quality YA literature and why perhaps we have a focus on the classics instead of exploring YA. I think there are many novels that are exemplars of quality literature, novels that could be taught at many levels and usher students into quality literature while allowing them to master any standard. Is that the goal? In reality, most of our honors classes seems to focus on instruction as if their students are going to be English teachers. Well, they aren’t. In fact, in honors classes, we know that many of our students read cliff’s notes or some other summary sources instead of reading the book. I think those students in love with literature will take care of themselves. Some students will become English teachers, college professors, writers, or just great readers. We should probably encourage them, give a bit of direction, and then stay out of their way. What percentage of our students make up that small group? Not many. I believe we need to be more diligent about nurturing and developing all of the others. All of the students who can’t figure out what we are talking about when we focus on theme, symbols, or theory. Those who just can’t figure out why we just don’t enjoy the story? Well, we do—enjoy the story--don’t we?
Classics Writers I Love
Adolescents need the chance to fall in love with reading, but will they do it if we force feed books that don’t interest them, don’t meet their needs, or don’t reflect their lives and experiences. I get it. The classics are great. People should read them, but let’s get them reading first. I believe that happens when we are better readers when we are more widely read.
I want to suggest seven titles that I believe are examples of quality young adult literature. I believe they are seven books that will begin to persuade you that YA should be part of your reading and teaching repertoire. Don’t get mad, if I have picked your favorite old or new YA title. I still love the old ones Judy Blume, Robert Lipsyte, M. E. Kerr, Paul Zindell, Virginia Hamilton, Mildred Taylor and S. E. Hinton. Some new authors I love are A. S. King, Jeff Zetner, Peter Brown Hoffmeister, Jason Reynolds, Nic Stone, Meg Medina, Brendan Kiely, Laurie Halse Anderson, Matt de la Peña and Jo Knowles. I could have chosen a book by any of these authors; but, again, it is my birthday and I get to choose the ones that I really like. The ones that stay with me. Most have been featured in the blog as part of a different post at one time or another. I hope you browse around, maybe even look more carefully at the weekend picks.