A Brave New World?: Young Adult Literature Goes Online
Volume 49: Issue 2 (Winter 2022)
Submissions due: July 1st, 2021
2020 was an unprecedented year. Covid-19 resulted in schools being shut down all across the world. Globally, over 1.2 billion youth went online to learn. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with teaching and e-learning happening remotely on digital platforms. Time will tell how these changes affect teaching and learning, but we think online learning is probably here to stay and will persist post-pandemic. In this issue, we are curious to know how young adults, teachers, and researchers are adapting in their use and study of YAL online. In this age of disconnection, how are we staying connected to YAL online?
Teachers, we hope to feature a special section highlighting teens in this issue. We would especially love to hear from teens about the YA novels they have been reading during the pandemic: what titles made teens laugh? What titles made teens feel okay about the world? What titles made teens think more about dystopias and utopias? What titles helped teens travel to new places? What titles motivated teens to make changes in their lives? What titles motivated teens to stand up for something (or stand up to someone?) What titles did teens recommend to you or others? We hope to hear from the young people in your lives! Submissions from and featuring teen readers should be around 500 words.
Here’s a partial list of topics, meant only to suggest the range of our interests for this issue:
- What online tools are teachers using to get YAL into the hands of students? What online tools are teachers using to engage adolescent readers with YAL? (e.g., online book clubs, online author visits, etc.). How are teachers leveraging popular social media (e.g., Twitter, Instagram) to keep teens connected with YAL?
- In her online article for Edutopia, “22 YA Novels to Help Students Process the Pandemic (or Forget It for a Bit),” Terri Grief describes such YA novels as Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Fire On High and Dusty Bowling’s Insignificant Events in the LIfe of a Cactus as good for helping young adults think about resiliency and the ability to adapt and adjust to “living in extraordinary ways.” What YA novels have you used with your students that have helped them process this unprecedented time?
- E-learning may feel utopian for some teachers, and dystopian for others. What have been the wins and the struggles in using YAL in the online environment? How have teachers navigated these wins and struggles? What do teachers worry about in terms of online teaching? What do we lose if we continue to be online? How does e-learning change the nature of reading, engaging with other readers, and reading instruction itself in positive/negative ways?
- Two “dual” pandemics mark 2020–Covid-19 and racism, and these two are intimately connected. YA nonfiction books like Tiffany Jewell’s, This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work; Jason Reynolds’ and Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped: Antiracism, Racism, and You, A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning; Frederick Joseph’s The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person; and Michael Bennett’s Things That Make White People Uncomfortable (Adapted for Young Adults) have garnered attention from young adult readers and teachers. How are teachers using these books to encourage understandings about racism and to advocate for antiracism? What other books (fiction/nonfiction) are teachers using to start important conversations about race/racism/antiracism? If you’re being called to do more anti-racism work in your research, what YA authors/works are resonating with you? How are you centering YAL in this work?
- The Covid-19 pandemic has brought technology into our homes–the flow of electronic information and communication has become a ubiquitous part of our everyday life. YAL is not immune; YA authors have captured teens’ use of electronic communication in the genre. Lauren Myracle was one of the first to write an entire YA novel, TTYL, through text messaging. In Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, readers learn about the dangers of failing to log-off a school computer after emailing that amazing someone. Marie Lu’s Warcross and Brittany Morris’ Slay take readers into the exciting but dangerous worlds of virtual gaming. With its parallels to Orwellian warnings and post 9/11 policies, Cory Doctorow takes on cybersecurity, technological surveillance, and the power of Big Brother in Little Brother. And no discussion of technology in YAL would be complete without mention of M.T. Anderson’s classic Feed, which suggests that technology dumbs us down and causes less, not more, connection. How are teachers talking about the changes in self and society that e-learning brings? Is all this technology good for us? How can YAL encourage conversations about the role(s) technology plays in our lives?
- Other related topics are welcome!
YA in Action
Volume 49: Issue 3 (Summer 2022)
Submissions due: November 1st, 2021
From hashtags (think #BlackLivesMatter #StopAAPIHate #FreePalestine and #WeNeedDiverseBooks) to books for young adults, the written word can inspire us to act. Patrise Khan-Cullor’s YA edition of When They Call You a Terrorist: A Story of Black Lives Matter and the Power to Change the World (Wednesday Books, 2020) reminds us that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. With journal entries, photos, and notes that show the formation of an activist from a very young age, this meaningful, empowering account of survival, strength, and resilience seeks to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable. In Taking On the Plastics Crisis (Penguin Workshop, 2020), youth activist Hannah Testa shares with readers how she led a grassroots political campaign to successfully pass state legislation limiting single-use plastics and how she influenced global businesses to adopt more sustainable practices. And in Marke Bieschke’s Into the Streets: A Young Person’s Visual History of Protest in the United States (Zest Books, 2020), young adult readers can journey through photos, artwork, and other visual elements of significant protests, sit-ins, and collective acts of resistance throughout US history.
We want to know: What issues are you and your students passionate about? How do you define activism? What does activism look like for you and your students? How do you use young adult literature—in your classroom, in your personal life, in your research—to act and/or to inspire activism? What YA titles inspire you to act? What YA titles show you how to?
We invite correspondence about ideas for articles and submission of completed manuscripts. We would especially love to hear from adolescents about the role YAL plays in their own activism or desire to act. Here’s a partial list of topics, meant only to suggest the range of our interests for this issue:
- For people who have never been involved in activism before, books like This Book Is Anti-Racist (Jewell, 2020) can be a powerful starting point. It provides readers with actionable steps and lessons on how to take action! What other books act as guides to waking up and getting involved in activism? How are books jumping-off points for action?
- The resurgence of anti-Asian hate, sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic and racist rhetoric by Trump, is not a new occurrence in the United States. Books like We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration by Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura teach readers about pivotal moments of oppression and resistance in Asian American history and illustrate how we can connect this history to our present day. What other books provide context into excluded histories that can help us face our current reckoning and grow as activists?
- This past year, we’ve increasingly seen how important activism is when it comes to voting rights. How do books like Yes No Maybe So (Saeed & Albertalli, 2020), You Say It First (Cotugno, 2020), and One Person, No Vote: How Not All Voters Are Treated Equally (YA edition, Anderson & Bolden, 2019) demonstrate ways in which adults and adolescents can get involved in political activism?
- Titles like Parachutes by Kelly Yang and Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson inform readers about sexual assault and calls for allies to speak up about harassment, rape, and the #MeToo movement. How do works like Yang’s and Anderson’s inspire action for women’s rights? What other YA titles ask readers to “shout” for women’s rights and advocate for radical feminism?
- George M. Johnson calls themself a journalist, author, and activist. How does their book All Boys Aren’t Blue offer readers an introduction to advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights? How can an author’s online presences, like George’s, also be a model for young people on how activism can be extended from books to social media? What other books help inform young readers about the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights?
- In Love Is a Revolution by Renee Watson, the protagonist struggles with finding her place as a teen activist in comparison to her cousin, who is passionate about environmentalism and being part of a teen activist group. How does Watson’s book portray the tension people may feel when first getting involved in activism? How can it inspire teens to find their passion for activism? How does Watson’s book speak to the power adolescents hold? What books could be paired with Watson’s to show the importance of environmentalism? Consider Poisoned Water: How the Citizens of Flint, Michigan, Fought for Their Lives and Warned the Nation (Cooper & Aronson, 2020).
Please submit all manuscripts electronically to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see the ALAN website (http://www.alan-ya.org/page/alan-review-author-guidelines) for full submission guidelines.
Please note, The ALAN Review‘s editorial team is creating an inclusive writing guide for authors, which will include expectations for inclusive language use and citations. While this guide is being prepared, authors are asked to consider the inclusive language and citations used throughout their manuscripts. Please access the following resources to help determine the inclusivity of your manuscript and your references list:
- University of Idaho Brand Resource Center Inclusive Writing Guide
- The Diversity Style Guide
- GLAAD Media Reference Guide
- National Center on Disability and Journalism Language Style Guide
- Asian American Journalists Association Guide for Covering Asia and Asian Americans
- National Association of Black Journalists Style Guide
- A Note on Inclusive Citation Practices: if only white scholars are referenced, this is unacceptable; cite multiply marginalized and underrepresented (MMU) scholars and voices (e.g., #CiteASista)