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Christian Fiction for Young Adults


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Presentation for my Young Adult literature class on Christian Fiction for Young Adults.

Presentation for my Young Adult literature class on Christian Fiction for Young Adults.

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  • Great research. Covers criteria for Christian fiction, what young adults want vs. adults, a short history of modern Christian fiction, and various Christian awards to be aware of. Also includes a great list of resources, hard copy as well as web.
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  • 1. Christian fiction for young adults Mary Jo Chrabasz Meg Cichantk LIS 722-02 March 25, 2011
  • 2. What is Christian fiction?
    • Inspirational does not always mean Christian
    • 3. Christian fiction can mean many things and individuals can have different ideas about what is considered Christian
      • Are characters clearly Christian? Or are they going through religious exploration?
      • 4. Are the stories only set in historic or present situations? Can fantasy be included?
      • 5. How explicit are the religious themes? Should lessons or morals be very obvious or subtle?
      • 6. Should Christian fiction stay away from difficult situations involving teens? Or should Christian fiction for teens be realistic enough to attract teens?
  • 7. Look at what Christian publishers want in "Christian fiction"
    • Bethany House Publishers
      • “ An intriguing, well-written story with well developed characters, a compelling plot, colorful description and a strong authorial voice”
      • 8. “ A coherent, identifiable theme and/or particular characters who reflect Christian values or teachings without being preachy”
      • 9. “ Historical/geographical/social accuracy”
      • 10. "Relationships that portray the true meaning of love- commitment and responsibility rather than merely emotional and physical attraction”
      • 11. “ Clever, original ideas and use of words”
  • 12.
    • Crossway Books
      • “ Consistent with what Christian scripture teaches”
      • 13. “ Within the stream of historic Christian truth”
      • 14. “ In accord with Crossway Books statement of faith”
      • 15. “ Have a clear sense the author is a genuine Christian”
    • Tyndale House
      • “ Characters professing faith in Jesus Christ”
      • 16. “ Significant reference to biblical stories, verses or narrative that communicates Christian truths”
      • 17. “ Stories that express moral values, lifestyles and choices based on Christian faith and truth”
    Look at what Christian publishers want in "Christian fiction" (cont.)
  • 18. A definition of "Christian fiction"
    • Christy Awards definition of Christian fiction:
      • “ A category of stories written by novelists whose Christian worldview is woven into the fabric of the plot and character development”
    • Working definition for this presentation & selection purposes:
      • Christian fiction reflects a “Christian worldview”, where God is responsible for the creation and control of the world, even if it is not explicitly expressed
        • Could be a fantasy novel or other subgenre as long as the world reflects the way God created it
        • 19. Also means that difficult situations or “tricky” subjects can be portrayed while keeping the book Christian
  • 20. A brief history of Christian fiction & young adults
    • Early fiction (first printed books) not aimed at children
      • Any material for children is instructional & religious
        • Ex. 1649 Spiritual Milk for Boston Babes in Either England, Drawn from the Breasts of Both Testaments for Their Souls’ Nourishment aimed at teaching the Bible
        • 21. Ex. 1678 John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (first “fiction” written in common language)
  • 22.
    • Writing in the nineteenth century increasingly leans secular but still some religious writers
      • Isabella MacDonald Alden and her niece Grace Livingston-Hill
    • First straight Christian presses come into being in the early 20 th century
      • Zondervan in 1931: started in the home of P.J. and Bernie Zondervan
      • 23. Good News Publishing created by Clyde Dennis in 1938
      • 24. Tyndale Publishing in 1962 created by Dr. Kenneth Taylor- paraphrased Bibles for his children
    • Also get the first publications of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia in 1950 (even though his publisher advised him not to publish The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe )
  • 25.
    • Later 20 th century, Christian fiction comes into its own
      • Harper Collins acquires Zondervan as a division in the 1980s
      • 26. Frank Peretti begins writing his adult novels
      • 27. Bethany House Publishers releases Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly in 1979 which has huge positive responses
      • 28. 1980s also see increasing topics covered
        • 1990s- mysteries aimed at male audiences
        • 29. Left Behind series by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye (1995)
    • 21 st century increasing inclusion of children’s and young adult fiction
      • Zonderkidz created in 2002 with Veggie Tales franchise
      • 30. Series fiction aimed at young adults also started (2003 Zondervan begins publishing and marketing to Young Adults)
      • 31. Writers like Melody Carlson, Bill Myers, Judy Baer, and more
  • 32. Teens and Christian fiction
    • Issues
      • Too preachy- problem with many pieces of Christian fiction; plot and development suffer in the face of morals and lessons
      • 33. However, the absence of some sensitive material, like alcohol, drugs, sex or language could appeal to some teens who don’t always want edgy novels
      • 34. Many titles aimed at teens could appeal to younger audiences because of no sensitive material; only recent push to write for the high school age
        • Marketing looks at cover design, looking for the cover that is acceptable
      • Teens often gravitate to adult Christian fiction- it is not graphic or unsuited
        • Teens want to read about people who are similar to them, not about adults
  • 35. Selection tools
    • NoveList Plus
      • This subscription database has a multitude of resources for readers advisory, including award winner lists, read-alikes, and reviews.
    • Books & Culture: A Christian Review
      • A bi-monthly review published by Christianity Today, reviewing from a Christian perspective.
    • Traditional trade journals and reviews- Library Journal, Booklist, School Library Journal, VOYA, etc.
  • 36. More selection tools
    • The Librarian's Guide to Developing Christian Fiction Collections for Young Adults by Barbara J. Walker (also volumes for Adults & Children)
      • This book is a great tool, listing core titles, background on the genre, collection development resources, and more!
    • Christian Library Journal
      • Reviews of books from pre-school through twelfth grade. Includes books from Christian & secular publishers.
  • 37. More selection tools
    • Christian Fiction: A Guide to the Genre by John Mort.
      • This book gives a number of Readers' Advisory sources, as well as covering a very wide range of Christian fiction. YA titles are marked throughout the text, and a few are covered in a YA chapter at the end.
    • Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Fiction: From C.S. Lewis to Left Behind by Nancy M. Tischler
      • This book gives brief biographies for a number of authors, along with a selection of titles by the author and works about the author.
  • 38. Useful reference books
  • 39. Some useful websites
    • The Christian Guide to Fantasy
    • 40. Christian Anime Alliance (CAA)
    • 41. Christian Small Publishers Association
    • 42. Booklists for young adults on the web
    • 43. Focus on Fiction
  • 44. More useful websites
    • Bookwire
    • 45.
    • 46. Christian Book Previews
    • 47. Edenstar Books & Games, Christian-themed science fiction & fantasy
    • 48. ECPA Homepage (A Closer Look)
  • 49. Christian Publisher websites
    • Zondervan publisher website
    • 50. Faith Words publisher website
    • 51. Tyndale House
    • 52. Bethany House
    • 53. Thomas Nelson
    • 54. Harvest House
  • 55. A selection of Christian fiction
    • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
    • 56. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
    • 57. Christy by Catherine Marshall
    • 58. Donut Days by Lara Zielin
    • 59. Finding Alice by Melody Carlson
    • 60. Patrick: Son of Ireland by Stephen R. Lawhead
    • 61. City of Angels by Tracie Peterson
    • 62. Stranger in the Chat Room by Todd & Jedd Hafer
  • 63. More Christian fiction selections
    • The Remember Box by Patricia Sprinkle
    • 64. True Valor by Dee Henderson
    • 65. Dark Moon by Alton Gansky
    • 66. The Senator's Other Daughter by Stephen Bly
    • 67. Degrees of Guilt: Tyrone's Story by Sigmund Brouwer
    • 68. I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven
    • 69. Alpha Centauri by Robert Siegel
  • 70. Christian fiction series
    • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
    • 71. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
    • 72. Redwall by Brian Jaques
    • 73. The Rayne Tour by Brandilyn Collins
    • 74. Faithgirlz! series by Nancy Rue
    • 75. Diary of a Teenage Girl by Melody Carlson
    • 76. On the Runway by Melody Carlson
    • 77. Truecolors by Melody Carlson
    • 78. Sierra Jensen series by Robin Gunn
  • 79. More Christian fiction series
    • Lost Books by Ted Dekker
    • 80. Dreamhouse Kings by Robert Liparulo
    • 81. Good Girlz by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
    • 82. Katy Lambright Series by Kim Vogel Sawyer
    • 83. Left Behind by Jerry Jenkins & Tim LaHaye
    • 84. Tales of London by Lawana Blackwell
    • 85. Ribbons of Steel by Judith Pella & Tracie Peterson
    • 86. Veritas Project by Frank Peretti
    • 87. Seven Sleepers by Gilbert Morris
  • 88. Some Christian fiction authors to know!
  • 104. The Christy Awards From Novelist Plus: In 1999, Christian publishers realized the need to create a Christian fiction award that would recognize excellence in several genres of Christian fiction. The Christy Award was named to honor popular Christian fiction writer Catherine Marshall and one of her novels, Christy . Categories recognized have changed over time, and winners are announced annually.
  • 105. Christy Award Winners 2010
    • First novel: Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent
    • 106. Allegory/Fantasy/Visionary: By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson
    • 107. Romance: Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills
    • 108. Suspense: Lost Mission by Athol Dickson
    • 109. Historical: Though Waters Roar by Lynn N. Austin
    • 110. Contemporary (Stand-Alone): The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson
    • 111. Contemporary (Series, sequels, novellas): Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson
  • 112. Other Christian fiction awards of note
    • ECPA Christian Book Award
      • Awarded by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association since 1978. Formerly known as the Gold Medallion.
    • Carol Awards
      • Presented by the American Christian Fiction Writers, recognizing the best Christian fiction published by traditional publishing houses.
    • INSPY awards
      • "The blogger's award for excellence in faith-driven literature."
  • 113. Things to remember! Check your own beliefs and disbeliefs at the door! Look at books for quality and what the book will do, not for the publisher or the author. Don't forget that Christian fiction spans many other genres. There are Christian fiction mysteries, fantasies, science fiction, romances, and historical fiction.
  • 114. Any questions?