3 So, what is YA Lit? Young-adult fiction Young-adult fiction, whether in the form of novels or short stories, has distinct attributes that distinguish it from the other age categories of fiction: adult fiction, middle grade fiction, and children’s fiction. The vast majority of YA stories portray an adolescent as the protagonist, rather than an adult or a child.
4 What is YA Literature? Definition #1: YA literature refers to books written specifically for a teenage audience. The books usually have a young protagonist and present that young person dealing with issues that other young people all face (belonging, falling in love, or deciding what to do in the future, for example) or issues that young people are afraid they may have to face (violence, drug dependency, alcoholism, being alone, death of a loved one, pregnancy, or divorce of parents). HIGH SCHOOL CONNECTIONS: YA: FAQ (We're Glad You Asked!)
5 What is YA Literature? Definition #2: YA literature is anything young adults are reading of their own free will. Teenagers vary widely in their reading interests. Definition #3: YA literature is any book marketed as YA by a publisher. Sometimes the classification of a book as YA seems arbitrary. YA: FAQ (We're Glad You Asked!)
6 Derogatory views As a genre it has been referred to as: ‘Adult Lite’, not a real book a genre not in its own right, a step up to adult books (Aronson, p. 19) novels for slow learners books just about sex and drugs, dysfunctional families and dropping out, and a ‘sub-literature’ not worthy of discussion, especially in the class room (England and Mertz, p. 119). Developing a love of reading: why young adult literature is important
7 Carte Blanche What Is Young-Adult Literature? Does anyone any longer know what we mean by the term young-adult literature? Not so long ago, I would have said, without too much fear of contradiction, that it meant books for readers from 12 to 18 years old. But, over the course of the last several years, the term has grown so restlessly expansive that it now seems to embrace titles for readers as young as 10 and (arguably) as old as 35.
8 Cart’s evolution of YA Lit Books for readers from 12 to 18 years old Expansion of YA to include the 10 to14 age range
Roots in the middle-school movement of the late 1980s
Inclusion of the 19 to 35 range, at the other end of the demographic
a newer, more market-driven phenomenon that is related, I would argue, to the ongoing shift of the YA market from the institutional to the retail
9 Content of this evolution? The traditional YA literature of the 1970s Crossover fiction, novels, that is, with multigenerational appeal They’re typically written by young authors, usually in their twenties; they're often first novels or novels presented in the form of the currently fashionable collection of linked stories. Their protagonists may be teens, but just as often they are in their twenties. Coming-of-age or rite-of-passage issues drive their plots. And, perhaps most importantly, they are published as adult novels.
10 Why define YA Lit, then? Selecting books for young adults is difficult. [Young adults] read for information and for pleasure. They read to escape the confines of their own lives, and to better understand their world. Gender, age, and personal reading preferences influence young adults’ book selections. Some young adults select books published especially for their age level; others select books published for adults. Young adults may read a novel because of its plot, theme, style, or other literary characteristics. A Portrait of Popularity:An Analysis of Characteristics of Novels from Young Adults’ Choices for 1997by Rosemary Chance
11 Chance’s study YA’s tend to choose “character-driven” novels: protagonists are round and dynamic, . . . well developed the majority of the novels have conflict that centers on people, person-against-self and person-against-person protagonists tell their stories from first person point of view backdrop settings illuminate character the major thematic idea is becoming self-aware and responsible for one's own life.
12 Characteristics of YA Lit YAL involves a teenage protagonist and often reflects and interprets their views YAL is fast-paced. Generally, its dialogue is direct and confrontational, and the language is sparse YAL includes a variety of genres, themes and subjects YAL is basically optimistic, or at least hopeful
13 A reason for encouraging reading? “. . . a thoughtful and concerned teacher can successfully pick good literature and encourage students to independently become compassionate American citizens who read and think about others who are living in worlds very different from their own.” In the Beginning: Recognizing Diversity in Children’s and Adolescent LiteratureExploring Culturally Diverse Literature
Why do we analyze literature? To discover the full spectrum of the content Analyzing Multicultural Literature 14
A little Newtonian physics
Newton first used the word spectrum (Latin for “appearance” or “apparition”) in print in 1671 in describing his experiments in optics.
Newton observed that when a narrow beam of sunlight strikes the face of a glass prism at an angle, some is reflected and some of the beam passes into and through the glass, emerging as different colored bands.
Visible spectrum From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 15
Spectrum requires a prism Estonian composer ArvoPärt: I could compare my music to white light which contains all colours. Only a prism can divide the colours and make them appear; this prism could be the spirit of the listener. about his music: Alina 16
Prism as a filter Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin: The biographer finds that the past is not simply the past, but a prism through which the subject filters his own changing self-image. Goodwin, Doris Kearns (1979). ‘‘Angles of Vision’’, in: Mark Pachter (Ed.), Telling Lives: the biographer’s art. Washington, DC: New Republic Books. Cited in Debate and Reflection: How to Write Journalism History 17
A prism to view the full spectrum of literature Personal 18 Real Invented SMiley face
Personal? Do you feel as if you’re involved; part of the action? That these are real people we’re dealing with—some identifiable personalities September 9, 2010 Analyzing Multicultural Literature 19
Real? Is there something that makes you feel that this could have happened? Even when it couldn’t in real life? September 9, 2010 Analyzing Multicultural Literature 20
Invented? Is this story invented, created by one or more authors? September 9, 2010 Analyzing Multicultural Literature 21
Smiley Face? Does it seem generic, impersonal? September 9, 2010 Analyzing Multicultural Literature 22
Two Continuums Real Invented Personal SMileyFace
Put ‘em together! Real Per so n a l SM il e y Invented
Application to Young Adult Literature??? . . . and Books with Beat????
Top Left Sector of Matrix 26 Up close and personal—and real! Real Folklore: consists of culture, including stories, music, dance, legends, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, customs and so forth within a particular population comprising the traditions (including oral traditions) of that culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. (Wikipedia) Personal Invented
Folktales and Young Adults 27
Bottom Left Sector of Matrix 28 Invented, but Personal Real Personal Quality literature, sometimes adaptations, or else original writing, with universal appeal and meaning for everyman and everywoman Invented
Quality “Books with Beat” Carbon Diaries series Sixteen-year-old Brit Laura Brown just wants to rock out with her punk band, the dirty angels. Unfortunately, the environment keeps getting in the way. Due to the violent global warming storms that keep ravaging greater Europe, the England of the near future has decided to lead the way to a greener planet by being the first country to try “carbon rationing.” Review of The Carbon Diaries 2015 See also ALAN’s Picks: June 2010 29
Real Smileys! Top Right of the Matrix 30 Real Recognizable stories, but unoriginal and shallow Invented
A example by a famous author? Kingdom of the Golden Dragon by Isabel Allende At best pallid despite large dollops of exotica ranging from the sect of the scorpions to totemic animals and telepathic communication between man and man, man and beats, man and yeti, the book ‘Kingdom of the Golden Dragon’ is like an amateur attempt at cooking bouillabaisse. It straddles too many genres and none are blended competently and with flair. Review by Anita Nair See also review on 31
Invented smileys[perhaps contrived?] Bottom Right of the Matrix 32 Generic, unoriginal, impersonal, shallow Invented
An example here? Fat Boy Swim There are a number of plot elements with the potential to be interesting and have a strong impact on Jimmy and the story, but none of them are fully realized, and the book feels as if it’s trying too hard to cram too much into Jimmy’s life. Unfortunately, FAT BOY SWIM falls down on its promises and delivers nothing that hasn’t been done already in other novels. --- Reviewed by CarlieWebber on 33 See also some varied reviews on
34 Important to consider! Evaluation is subjective Your mileage may vary! See, for example, the variety of reviews of Kingdom of the Golden Dragon on