Young Adult Literature


I’ve learned a lot about Young Adult Literature by reading the articles, and by teaching my students.  Students need literature they can relate to in order to engage with a book.  It’s essential that we strive to find and help facilitate those connections with books for our students.  That facilitation is what it’s going to take to get some of our reluctant readers to become true readers.  They may never LOVE reading, but they can at least improve at it and perhaps not hate it quite so much.  


In “A Crash Course in YA Lit,”by Gretchen Kolderup, I learned a lot about the history of the Young Adult Literature.  The intent of those early books was to help morally instruct young adults.  This made me smile, as I am named after a character in Little Women.  (I may have to reread that classic in order to learn more about that character.)  


It is no wonder that some literature professionals see Young Adult Literature as simplistic and repetitive.  Perhaps these people have forgotten what it was like to be a young adult.  The challenges this young adults face are not simplistic to them.  In addition, they are faced with an increased frequency of bullying, etc., because of the new technologies that are readily available to most people.  This adds to the frustration for these young adults.


It is pleasing to see more “main stream” authors jumping into the Young Adult realm.  Personally, I really enjoy reading most Young Adult Literature.  I am anxious to look into the various areas of young adult literature.  I am trying to familiarize myself with topics and experiences that make me uncomfortable.  


I feel incredibly comfortable with the books about relationships.  When tragedy occurs, I feel slightly less comfortable, but embrace the need to get more comfortable discussing these tough topics.  I am looking forward to looking into graphic novels and more fantasy writing, as I tend to shy away from those types of books.  (Except for Harry Potter…. I was late to jump on that train, but I LOVED those books!)  I am trying hard to keep my eye out for books that boys will enjoy.  In my classes, it seems we have a larger number of male reluctant readers than female.  Across the age spectrum of school-aged children, it seems difficult to find books that male students can really embrace.  I look forward to this amazing adventure!  Happy reading!


8 thoughts on “Young Adult Literature

  1. Yes! Young men need good reading material as well. So much of what is out there is geared toward the girls. If “we” want young men to read they need stories and protagonists with which to relate.


    1. I am constantly on the lookout for great books that boys would be interested in. We have a large population of students who are hunters, fishers, farmers, and all things outdoors. I tend to buy or have a lot of books for young adult girls because I have two girls that fall into this category, but I actively search for books for the male student population. It’s also important to have a wide variety of reading levels available. I had one freshman student tell me he wasn’t a good reader, so I checked his scores and he reads at about a fifth grade level. I looked at other boys in that class and realized a lot of them were reading/comprehending below grade level, so I have focused my efforts on trying to turn that around.

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  2. It’s true what you wrote about boys and books. There was a book club established in my high school (senior year), but it was definitely geared towards female readers. Lots of romance novels and no men in attendance. It even became an unofficial rule: no boys allowed. Teachers also didn’t target our interests, often saying that Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six and Marcus Luttrel’s Lone Survivor were crap we shouldn’t have been reading. Ironic, we were discouraged from reading.


    1. I actually discouraged our older son from reading as a child by saying something negative about Captain Underpants….. to this day, I wish I would have bought that book from him and encouraged him to read anything he could get his hands on. I feel it would have helped him to create a love of reading and a passion for learning. Lesson learned for me…. a little late….


  3. When looking at books that deal with tragedy it is not easy at all. Reading books that are able to make you cry and feel things you would have not felt before is a great way to broaden horizons. Though you “Don’t understand what I am going through” when a student has a problem tragedy books may help you peek a little into what they are feeling.


    1. I agree. I read the book Wonder prior to deciding to teach it this year. I cried at various parts throughout that book. It really touched me and made me decide the messages in it needed to be discussed with out seventh graders. They enjoyed the book and the discussions we had as a class were truly encouraging.


  4. I found your post to be incredibly thought provoking, but the question must also be raised, why is ya lit usually considered girly? Historically speaking, women have always been told that their writing and the themes that were “unimportant” (like relationships) were their realm while war and valor and critically acclaimed literary masterpieces were for men. Maybe the problem is not that “male” topics are being shut out from ya lit due to overwhelming femininity, but that those topics are automatically being placed within the realm of adult lit because of their perceived inherent “maleness”.


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