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Where does YA literature come from? PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Where does YA literature come from? Dr. Betty Marcoux LIS 566 Winter Quarter 2004 Historical Timeline of YA Literature Civil War = Children or Adult 1904 – first time definition of other than the two categories started (Appleton, 1904)

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Where does ya literature come from l.jpg

Where does YA literature come from?

Dr. Betty Marcoux

LIS 566

Winter Quarter 2004


Historical timeline of ya literature l.jpg

Historical Timeline of YA Literature

  • Civil War = Children or Adult

  • 1904 – first time definition of other than the two categories started (Appleton, 1904)

  • 1920 – adolescents seen as a separate generation (Forisha-Kovacz, 1984)

  • 1948 – “Adult Books for Young People” list began

  • 1958 – YALSA established in ALA

    • Still concerned about age categories

    • 1966 – Best Books for Young Adults starts

  • “I am coming more and more to the conclusion that adolescent literature is whatever any adolescent happens to be reading at any given time.” (Holland, 1991)


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Historical Timeline of YA Literature

  • 1930-1940s – first books began to appear that were specifically for YA reading.

    • Sue Barton, Student Nurse (Boylston, 1930s)

    • Cherry Ames, Student Nurse (Grossett, 1943)

    • The Iron Duke (Tunis, 1938)

    • Seventeenth Summer (Daly, 1942)

    • Going on 16 (Cavanna, 1946)

  • 1975: 10 favorite novels of high school youth -8 published as adult books. (Holland, 1991)

    • Catcher in the RyeGo Ask Alice

    • The OutsidersTo Kill a Mockingbird

    • A Separate PeaceJonathan Livingston Seagull

    • Lord of the FliesOf Mice and Men

    • Bright & DarkThe Exorcist

  • The Chocolate War – (Cormier, 1974)


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Historical Timeline of YA Literature

  • Criticism of YA literature

    • “slick, patterned, rather inconsequential stories written to capitalize on a rapidly expanding market” (Alm, 1955)

    • “the stuff of adolescent literature, for the most part, is mealy-mouthed, gutless, and pointless” (Jennings 1956)

  • 1960s – rise of realism in novels

  • 1967 – Carlson categorizes YA in three areas:

    • Early adolescence (11-14, grades 5-8)

    • Middle adolescence (15-16, grades 9-10

    • Late adolescence (17-18, grades 11-12)

  • 1970s – Golden Age of YA literature (popularity)

  • 1980s – Back to reality - multiculturalism - and to romance

  • 1990s – realistic problem novels at risk

    • Formula driven

    • Video/movie driven

    • Electronic interests

    • YA fiction not endangered – rather it is its readers that my be endangered

  • 2000s – format driving content; lowered buying power/funding


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Possible definitions of YA literature

  • “In the main, these authors deal with an adolescent’s relationships with others his own age, with his parents and other adults, and with such worries as deciding upon and preparing for a job, ‘going steady,’ marrying and facing the responsibilities of adulthood.’ (Alm, 1955)

  • “Perhaps the single theme most sought by the young adult is the book that details the movement of a character from adolescence into early adult life.” (Carlsen, 1973)

  • “the great American theme in the final third of the 20th century has been the tribalizing of the young.” (Peck, 1994)


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Definitions of YA literature

  • Definable?

  • Literature = all works of imagination which are transmitted primarily by means of the written word or spoken narrative – that is, in the main, novels, stories, and poetry. (Townsend, 1980)

  • YA is ever changing as ideas and understandings and attitudes evolve.


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Working definition for this course

  • From text (Nilsen/Donelson): Young adult literature is any book freely chose for reading by some 12-20 and is not necessarily distinguished by publishing house distribution.

  • NOT necessarily the publisher’s age range that is important.

  • Issues and approach is more important


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