I try to stay connected with current trends in Young Adult (YA) Literature so I can have thoughtful conversations about these texts with the student teachers in our literacy courses. An article by Publishers Weekly highlighted some of complex topics currently being explored in YAL. Some of the themes YA publishers are prompting include texts “that look thoughtfully at mental illness and suicide” as well as “books that tell sophisticated stories about gender identity across the LGBTQIA spectrum”. To find out about specific YA titles exploring these topics see the following link: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/new-titles/childrens-announcements/article/66587-what-to-expect-when-you-re-expecting-ya.html
In general terms, my (Lydia) dissertation research examines the ways in which student teachers construct conceptions of literacy and enact literacy pedagogy when they view themselves as in conversation with a broader field of literacy (e.g. Multiple Literacies, New Literacy Studies). One aspect of this research considers how student teachers’ personal literacy practices inform their approach to literacy pedagogy. In some cases student teachers’ personal reading practices have been influenced by the interests and reading choices of the pupils they teach. These student teachers have often engaged with texts recommended by their pupils (e.g. graphic novels, young adult literature), and these shared texts become a space within which teacher and pupil connect. One of the student teachers participating in this research discussed the text ttyl written by Lauren Myracle, who has been referred to as a modern day Judy Blume. This young adult novel, which is part of a series, is written entirely in instant messages. Interesting, this best selling novel has been on the annual list of the “Most Challenged Books” released by the American Library Association. In other words, people have requested that this book be ban from libraries and schools “due to sexually explicit material and offensive language.” I plan to share this text with the student teachers in our literacy courses this year. I think it could contribute to an interesting conversation about text structure, style, controversies, and pupils’ diverse reading interests.