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!
Please submit all manuscripts electronically to: email@example.com. Please see the ALAN website (http://www.alan-ya.org/page/alan-review-author-guidelines) for full submission guidelines.