How to Evaluate Young Adult Literature? Liz A. Gómez BonillaENGG 633:Literature for AdolescentProf. Evelyn LugoDecember 2, 2010
What is Young Adult Literature? • In today’s publishing world, the definition of YA literature is adaptable. • The genre includes books written specifically for ages 14 to 21. • They have the young adult as protagonists and are about issues these young adults deal with or may have to face in the future. • YA literature also includes what teens are reading during their free time. • This can be an adult book pushed to the YA audience, including authors such as Michael Crichton, Stephen King, Danielle Steel and John Grisham.
Conflicts In Young Adult Literature • As with any good fiction, there must be tension or conflict to move the story. • In YA lit, conflict is usually with parents, school, peers and society at large. • Good YA books have themes that are of interest to young people and include, drugs, music, coming of age, dating, fitting in, friendships, self esteem, and school. • Relationships with parents and siblings are frequently addressed in young adult fiction.
Today’s YA fiction is more sophisticated, complex and powerful because of the world young adults are exposed to. • These books can help teens and even pre-teens handle the emotional, social developmental and physical changes they experience. • Problems with bullying, sibling rivalry and teen pregnancy are plotlines in today’s YA fiction. • These plotlines reflect the reality of today’s young adults.
Evaluating Young Adult Literature • The ages of 12 to 18 years is identified as the group for whom YAL is written and to which it has its greatest appeal. • Within this age range there are two distinct categories: • 12 to 15 and 15 to 18 years • The younger group is excited to read about themselves and the experiences of being a teenager. • The older group is generally eager to leave their teen years behind and wants to read about more mature and pragmatic experiences of life. • They also want to be recognized as adults.
young adult Literature should reflect several criteria • It should reflect young adults’ age and development by addressing their reading abilities, thinking levels, and interest levels. • It should deal with contemporary issues, problems, and experiences with characters to whom adolescents can relate. • This includes topics such as dealing with parents and other adults in authority; facing illness and death; dealing with peer pressure, specifically relating to drugs, alcohol, and sexual experimentation; and facing the realities of addiction and pregnancy. • It should consider contemporary world perspectives including cultural, social, and gender diversity; environmental issues; global politics; and international interdependence.
Young Adult Literature Serves a Number of Purposes • teaches adolescents about diverse peoples and the world beyond their community • provides pleasure reading • demonstrates the range of human emotions and allows adolescents to experience them as a result of reading quality literature • reveals the realities of life • provides vicarious experiences
focuses on “essentials” that make order out of chaos • depicts the functions of institutions of society • allows readers to escape into the realms of fantasy • introduces readers to excellent writers and writing • increases literacy and the ability to analyze literature
Content Standards and Grade Level Expectations in Sixth Grade READING: The student uses reading strategies, literary analysis, and critical thinking skills to construct meaning and develop an understanding as well as an appreciation of a variety of genres of both fiction and nonfiction. • R.6.1: Analyzes the text and distinguishes text features to enhance comprehension. • R.6.2: Applies context clues, reference sources, and other vocabulary expansion strategies to assess word meaning; uses prefixes, suffixes and root words to determine the meaning of unfamiliar and compound words.
R.6.3: Distinguishes main character from supporting characters, compares and contrasts characters traits, and describes the setting in fiction. • R.6.4: Sorts and organizes relevant events, identifies cause and effect, makes predictions and inferences, and identifies problem and solution in narrative and expository text. • R.6.5: Explains the differences between fiction and nonfiction; identifies fact and opinion; states main idea or topic and determines important details.
Text Book: Houghton MiflinReading (Expeditions) • Theme 1: Nature’s Fury • When nature turns violent, it creates difficult challenges for everyone. • Theme 2: Give It All You’ve Got • Giving your best requires both determination and risk. • Theme 3: Voices of the Revolution • The spirit of the American Revolution lives on the voices of the people who were there.
Theme 4: Person to Person • Relationships bring both problems and rewards for families and friends. • Theme 5: One Land, Many Trails • The trails to and across the United States have seen many travelers. • Theme 6: Animal Encounter • People and wild animals interact in a variety of close encounters.
Literature For Sixth Graders • Books should be: • appropriate for their age (11-12 years old) • interesting • pertinent • not too long • easy to understand (vocabulary) • illustrated (pictures)
Reference • Bucher, K. & Manning, M.L. ( ). Qualities of Young Adult Literature. Retrieved from http://www.education.com • Whittemore, D. (2010). Young Adult Literature: What is It in Today's World. Retrieved from http://www.suite101.com • Department of Education of Puerto Rico, (2007). Content Standard and Grade-Level Expectations • Houghton Miflin Company (2003). Reading Expeditions.