Inner City Teens Do Read


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"Inner City Teens Do Read: Their Lives Represented in Street Lit" is a presentation that gives a basic introduction to the literary genre called Street Lit.

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Inner City Teens Do Read

  1. 1. Inner City Teens Do Read:<br />Their Lives Represented <br />in Street Lit<br />Vanessa Irvin Morris, Assistant Professor<br />The iSchool at Drexel University<br />Philadelphia, PA, USA<br />Portions of this work originally presented at the Beyond the Book Conference, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, 2007.<br />Inner City Teens Do Read by Vanessa Irvin Morris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at<br />
  2. 2. Hip Hop in Libraries<br /> Somewhere in a collection near you:<br /> - critical anthologies<br /> - history, timelines<br /> - reference encyclopedias<br /> - poetry<br /> - biography/memoir<br /> - movies<br /> - music<br />But its biggest impact has been with its fiction… <br /> … as in URBAN FICTION, as in STREET LIT<br /><br />
  3. 3. A Connective Lens<br />“[L]iterary work is to be considered not as<br />documentary record of something that exists<br />or has existed, but as a reformulation of an<br />already formulated reality, which brings into <br />the world something that did not exist before.”<br /> - Lavenne, Renard & Tollett, 2005.<br />
  4. 4. Features of Street Lit<br /><ul><li>Urban setting  inner-city backdrops = “in the dahood”
  5. 5. Fast paced action, events occur in one or two days, typically no more </li></ul>than a few months<br /><ul><li> Dramatic interpersonal relationships
  6. 6. Underground economy exhibited (street hustling, drug dealing, etc.)
  7. 7. Frequently a story about ‘a day in the life of’
  8. 8. Violence and sex part of story, not focus of story
  9. 9. Female protagonists often focused on acquiring wealth</li></ul> Male protagonists often focused on providing wealth<br /><ul><li> Stories are “keepin’ it real,” blending of fiction and autobiography; moral undertones or overtones; often genre blends</li></ul>Ways in which low-income city dwellers<br />chase the “American Dream”<br />
  10. 10. Renaissance Genre for the Hip Hop Generation<br />“The Contemporary CLASSICS of STREET LIT”<br />Sister Souljah<br />Omar Tyree<br />Teri Woods<br />
  11. 11. Textual Features of Street Fiction<br /><ul><li> RECURRING THEMES
  12. 12. Protagonist usually young adult
  13. 13. Realistic fiction as bildungsromans
  14. 14. Signifying serializations
  15. 15. Surviving street culture
  16. 16. Exposure to cultural history as a source of pride
  18. 18. Genreblending (poetry, lyrics, letters interspersed with prose)
  19. 19. Double entendre titles
  20. 20. Moral inclinations: dedications, notes, and excerpts
  22. 22. African American Vernacular English (AAVE) or Latino “Spanglish”
  23. 23. Regional dialect
  24. 24. Standard English</li></li></ul><li>Why are Inner city Teens Reading “Street Lit”?<br />Teen Voices (2005-2008):<br /><ul><li>age 16: “The stories in all these books are reality and </li></ul> what really happens in the streets.”<br /><ul><li>age 16: “They let me know that I’m not the only one in a situation. </li></ul> It’s comforting.”<br /><ul><li>age 14: “Because it’s based on how we live, that there are a lot</li></ul>of things going on in the world and we need to be involved.”<br /><ul><li>age 18: “It teaches you about life on the streets and the hardships </li></ul> young adults face nowadays.”<br /><ul><li>age 16: “They help you realise (sic) you’re not alone in things you go through.”
  25. 25. age 17: “I like reading it because the stories are realistic and they reflect the things I see in my neighborhood. A lot of the stories show the other path I could have taken and make me appreciative of my life.”</li></li></ul><li>Circulation Outcomes of The Classics<br />
  26. 26. But it’s not all they read …. they do move on …. up …. <br />And out of Street Lit … eventually.<br />VJM: Did you read Wifey by Kiki Swinson?<br />Sandra*: I was reading that! But then … it <br />interfered with my Jane Eyre.<br />Nadja: Yeah gurl! Did you finish Jane Eyre?<br />Sandra: Yeah! I really liked that book!<br />Nadja: Me too!<br />Both: [begin garbling excitedly about Jane Eyre].<br />*pseudonym<br />
  27. 27. Teen-Friendly Street Fiction<br />KaShamba Williams<br />for 16 and up<br />KaShamba Williams<br />for 12 - 15<br />
  28. 28. Teen-Friendly Street Fiction<br />For Ages 13 and up<br />Nicole <br />Bailey-Williams<br />Dana<br />Davidson<br />Angela <br />Johnson<br />Piri <br />Thomas<br />New!<br />
  29. 29. Teen-Friendly Street Fiction<br />Walter Dean Myers<br />For ages 10 and up<br />
  30. 30. Teen-Friendly Urban Fiction Series<br />KIMANI TRU<br />CHRISTIAN SERIES<br />DRAMA HIGH<br />
  31. 31. Teen-Friendly Urban Fiction Series<br />Ni Ni SIMONE<br />DENIM DIARIES<br />BABYGIRL DANIELS<br />
  32. 32. Online Resources<br />Drama High’s website:<br />Janet McDonald’s website:<br />KimaniTru’s website:<br />Learning About Walter Dean Myers:<br />Street Literature (blog):<br />Reading in Color:<br />ReShondaTate Billingsley’s Website:<br />TeenReads:<br />Urban Fiction Booklist (annotated) for School & Public Libraries:<br />Miss Domino (blog):<br />Wikipedia Article on Urban Fiction:<br />