Contemporary Adolescent Literature and Culture: The Emergent Adult
edited by Mary Hilton and Maria Nikolajeva, University of Cambridge
Offering a wide range of critical perspectives, this volume explores the moral, ideological and literary landscapes in fiction and other cultural productions aimed at young adults. Examining in depth significant contemporary novels, including those by Julia Alvarez, Stephenie Meyer, Tamora Pierce, Malorie Blackman and Meg Rosoff, among others, Contemporary Adolescent Literature and Culture illuminates the ways in which the cultural constructions ‘adolescent’ and ‘young adult fiction’ share some of society’s most painful anxieties and contradictions.
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Child-Sized History: Fictions of the Past in U.S. Classrooms
by Sara L. Schwebel, University of South Carolina
Books like Johnny Tremain, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and Roll of Thunder, Hear Me Cry stimulate children’s imagination, transporting them into the American past and projecting them into an American future. As works of historical interpretation, however, many are startlingly out of step with current historiography and social sensibilities, especially with regard to race. Unlike textbooks, which are replaced on regular cycles and subjected to public tugs-of-war between the left and right, historical novels have simply—and quietly—endured. Taken individually, many present troubling interpretations of the American past. But embraced collectively, this classroom canon provides a rare pedagogical opportunity: it captures a range of interpretive voices across time and place, a kind of “people’s history” far removed from today’s state-sanctioned textbooks. Featuring separate chapters on American Indians, war, and slavery, Child-Sized History tracks the changes in how young readers are taught to conceptualize history and the American nation.
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