Find ______ in YAL. Refuge? Escape? Connection? Yourself? Courage? A voice? Meaning? Hope? All of these things and more?
Volume 47: Issue 1 (Fall 2019)
Submissions due: March 1, 2019
In recent adolescent reading engagement research, Drs. Gay Ivey and Peter Johnston (2018) define engaged reading as “more than just liking a book or getting through it. Students engaged in reading [enter] the social worlds of the narratives, and [take] up the perspectives of the characters, negotiating the problems they encountered, weighing difficult decisions, and experiencing characters’ emotional‐relational lives and the consequences of their decisions” (p. 144). Ivey and Johnston’s research shows that as a result of engaged reading, adolescents find connection with characters and other readers; find different identities for themselves; find other people’s humanity; and also find a sense of agency or power to make positive changes in their relationships, academic and personal lives, and their communities (Ivey & Johnston, 2013). We think these are important reasons to read YA literature, and for this call, we want to hear from you about what you and the YA readers in your lives find in YA literature. Why do you and the YA readers in your life read the genre? What does it do for you? For adolescent readers? For teacher educators? For teachers? For scholars of the genre? We invite correspondence about ideas for articles, and submission of completed manuscripts. We would especially love to hear from teens about what YA literature matters in their lives, and why. Here’s a partial list of topics, meant only to suggest the range of our interests for this issue:
- A character in Lauren Oliver’s YA novel Delirium says, “I know that the whole point—the only point—is to find the things that matter, and hold on to them, and fight for them, and refuse to let them go.” What are the “things that matter” to adolescents in the YA literature they read? How and why do adolescents engage with YAL? What does reading YAL actually do for the teens for whom the genre is intended?
- Researchers Ivey and Johnston (2018) suggest that “emotionally disturbing” books tend to engage adolescent readers: They say: “The books to which adolescents are drawn no doubt contain sensational situations and details that make them curious, including encounters with drugs (e.g., In Ecstasy by Kate McCaffrey), sex-related crimes (e.g.,Trafficked: My Story of Surviving, Escaping, and Transcending Abduction Into Prostitution by Sophie Hayes), and psychological hardships (e.g., Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu, 2010)” (p. 144). Gay & Ivey say these books don’t put teens at risk–instead, these books help adolescent readers navigate moral complexities. What do you think? What YA titles, authors, and genres do you find adolescents engaging in?
- Engaged reading has been linked with reading achievement. Getting students engaged in reading increases their academic achievement and decreases achievement disparities among groups of students (Guthrie, Wigfield, & You, 2012; OECD, 2011). Engaged reading, a primary dimension of school engagement (Guthrie et al., 2012), also positively influences most aspects of young adults’ intellectual, social, and moral development (Ivey & Johnston, 2013). What are ways you center an engagement perspective in your classroom or research? What evidence can you share that engaged reading increases reading achievement? How do we make policy-makers care about engagement?
- 2018 Teen Book Award Finalists include Angie Thomas’ The Hate You Give, Jason Reynolds’ Long Way Down, and John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down. What do adolescents have to say about these books? Why and how do these books–books that focus on systemic racism, gun violence, and mental illness–engage young people? How can we pay more attention to these texts–and teen voices–in our curriculum, research, and advocacy?
- What dis/connections can be drawn between the scholar Rudine Sims Bishop’s (1992) call for books that serve as “windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors” and reading engagement? What dis/connections exist between reading affirmation and reading engagement? How might recent movements (e.g., WeNeedDiverseBooks, #ownvoices) in the publishing industry connect to reading engagement?
- What dis/connections can be drawn between Louise Rosenblatt’s transactional theory of reading and Ivey & Johnston’s definition of engaged reading?
- Other ideas welcome!
As always, we also welcome submissions focused on any aspect of young adult literature not directly connected to this theme. All submissions may be sent to email@example.com. Please see the ALAN website (http://www.alan-ya.org/page/alan-review-author-guidelines) for submission guidelines..