Themes in Young Adult Literature

Libraries and Literacy

For my final exam, we had to identify five major themes in YA literature. This really got me thinking, for a number of reasons. One is that literary elements like themes and style are not particularly interesting to me, so it took some thinking to identify what might be a theme as opposed to any other element of a book. Another element is if there are themes that are unique to YA literature as opposed to works written for other ages? The final issue I had was with identifying works that represented these themes.

Once I started thinking about this, I had a hard time limiting my themes to only five, and an even harder time finding only a few books that could represent the wide varieties of books written within each theme. This was such an interesting question and exercise, so I thought I’d share my thoughts.

First of…

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Text Levels– Tool or Trouble?

Lesley University Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative

by Irene Fountas, Author and Director of the Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative

irene_fountas_2012_web

When my colleague Gay Su Pinnell and I created a gradient of text for teachers to use in selecting books for small group reading, we were excited about its potential for helping teachers make good text decisions to support the progress of readers.

Our alphabetic gradient is widely used by teachers for this purpose and has become an essential tool for effective teaching in guided reading lessons.

With every good intention, the levels may have been applied by professionals in ways we would not have intended. We did not intend for levels to become a label for children that would take us back to the days of the bluebirds and the blackbirds or the jets and the piper cubs. Our intention was to put the tool in the hands of educators who understood their characteristics and…

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Dear Common Core English Standards: Can we talk?

Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

Back in 1993, when I had barely been teaching in my own high school English classroom for a month, I had an epiphany.  I looked around my classroom of ninth graders and realized, consciously, that they were not all going to become high school English teachers.  As epiphanies go, I admit that does not sound exceptional, but it was actually foundational for the rest of my career in education.  The reason for this was that I simultaneously realized that I was teaching English because of the lifelong qualitative relationship that I had with reading and writing in English.  My father probably read “Oscar the Otter” to me every night for a month when I was four.  As a young reader, I often wondered if I would ever have a friend as cool as Encyclopedia Brown’s sidekick, Sally Kimball.  Later, I was positive that I found a lifelong friend in Charles…

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Middle school students inspire fantasy author – guest post from Dan Trumpis

Marcie Brock, Book Marketing Maven

Middle school students inspire fantasy author – guest post from Dan Trumpis

Fairies, gremlins, magic, monsters, and mayhem. If you’re a fiction fan, you’ll want to be with us TOMORROW, as the inaugural Summer Author Event takes place at the Phoenix Center for the Arts (1202 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix 85004). More than 30 local authors will come together in one place for a fantastic book signing/meet-and-greet event that promises to delight every sort of book lover. Genres range from all manner of fiction to spiritual works, children’s books, business books, personal development books, and everything in between. Join us from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.We’ll have giveaways from the authors on the half-hour!
Today, we are very pleased to have our third guest post from one of the SAE’s participating authors. DAN TRUMPISis the YA author of Welcome to Harmony and Gwen Gladstone: A Tale from the…

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Author Interview with Carol Lynch Williams

Just Browsing

3567996788_4c59470023Many of your books are written with teens in mind. What issues or discussions do you think are especially pertinent to teen readers? I actually write for kids because I have a kid voice in my head. And nearly any issue, any storyline, is good for teens. Anything they might love or hate or go through or experience. Can you think of one thing they might not understand? My daughters have experienced loss, death, divorce, anger, bullying, being left out, being popular, being afraid, sorrow, joy, true love, true heart break–and that’s in a short amount of time and with a protective parent! Our teens need anything that, in the very end, offers a glimmer of hope.

What makes a good story? As I writer, I have to be interested in my character. Since I spend a lot of time in the book, I want to love who I’m working…

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An Open Letter to JK Rowling

Teachers for Yes

JKRowling

by Allan Crosbie, PT English, Edinburgh

Dear Joanne,

You won’t remember me but nearly 20 years ago we worked together briefly in a school in Edinburgh. Your talents have since made you a lot of money and given you considerable status and influence; I have continued to channel mine into that Freirean project of opening minds and changing the world from the classroom. You now have millions of Twitter followers; I have six.

People should always act on their conscience and yours has obviously prompted you to speak out in order to try to prevent Scotland voting for Independence. In doing so over the last few days you have claimed to be speaking not out of self-interest but on behalf of ordinary Scots who, you claim, are set to suffer immeasurably under Independence.

You speak of three kinds of Yes voters – the first are gamblers on oil and blackmailers…

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