YA is Not Just for Young Adults Anymore: How a YA Class Changed Perspectivesby Rachelle S. Savitz and Donna Confere
Edwina Lewis (Sophomore, Bachelor of Science: General Engineering)
Young Adult Literature also proves its importance as it can be used to teach certain morals to younger generations. YA novels can be used to teach social responsibility to students and can be used to discuss moral dilemmas that are present today, which helps validate the point that YA Lit has merit even though it may not be considered a part of the canon. Thus, it becomes necessary for its ability to teach social responsibilities and its relevance to adolescents.
Morgan McManus (Junior, Bachelor of Science: Health Science)
Throughout my semester in the Young Adult Literature course, I learned a lot about the importance of YAL in teaching everybody, not just students, about topics that may be difficult to discuss such as love, racism, and identity. One book that I would recommend is The Radius of Us, by Marie Marquardt which tackles the issue of immigration. The novel focuses on Phoenix who is an immigrant from El Salvador who crossed the border into the US as an 18 year old with his younger brother and sought asylum due to ongoing gang violence in their home country. They are separated, and his brother is traumatized by the journey and separation, so he stops speaking. Phoenix was arrested and had to go to court to be granted a stay in the US, but was denied. He fled the adults who were fostering him because he felt undeserving of the time, energy, and money they would need to invest to appeal the decision. Considering that immigration is such a controversial topic in the US, using this book as a gateway into the discussion would be great for high school and college students.
Chelse VanAtter (Sophomore, Bachelor of Science: General Engineering)
I gained much more knowledge about different groups of people and the types of issues they face, such as stereotypes and generalizations. I learned a lot about racial and ethnic problems, LGBTQ problems, and adolescent problems in general. I have become more prepared to discuss these issue and conflicts with people after reading our YA books. I have also become more passionate about social justice and change.
The book that was the most important and powerful for me was The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book discussed so many relevant stereotypes and racial and ethnic issues in today's society. It provides different narratives regarding police intentions, good and bad, which is a topic I care a lot about since one of my best friends is the security resource officer from my high school. I really refined my beliefs and values after reading this book and more importantly, I learned how to stand up for my beliefs and values to enact change in society. I would recommend this book to everyone because if we all learn to value equality and share our values, we can reach a society where all people are truly equal.
Tyler Piel (Sophomore, Bachelor of Science: General Engineering)
This semester I have read a good deal of YA lit books for my literature class, and I found them all quite enjoyable. YA lit books have taught me a lot through their characters and my immersion into their stories. One of the books I learned the most from was Nic Stone's Dear Martin. The book tells the story of a young African American boy, Justyce McAllister, learning to cope with racial profiling and social racism by writing journal entries addressed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ultimately, this novel provides great insight into the struggles of African American youth, combats social stereotypes, and captures the complexities of learning to grow up in a racist world. From the dynamic role of social class discussions about race to complex social situations, the reader has many opportunities to learn, understand, and empathize with this character as he struggles to endure implications racism and economic inequality have on his life and his aspirations for success. I would highly recommend this book to anyone hoping to learn and better understand the complexities of social racism and the struggles faced by African American youth. It is a great and educational novel through and through.
Dr. Rachelle Savitz
Rachelle can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next week.