Book Review: Young Adult Literature

By Anita M. Castillo

            As a teacher, have you ever wondered …

 “What else can I incorporate into my lesson to make it more interesting?”

“How can I relate the lesson to my students at a level they’ll understand?”

“Is there a good quality literature piece that can function as my lesson and yet have my students engaged?”

Well, search no further, the answer lies in Young Adult Literature by Katherine Bucher and M. Lee Manning.  In this particular text, Bucher and Manning investigate different genre forms from science fiction to realistic fiction to historical fiction to nonfiction to poetry to comic books to much more.  Within each genre, they discuss each literary form in detail.  First, a brief description of the genre is given. Secondly, the authors offer ideas on how to connect adolescents to their literature.  For example, “use a graphic organizer to create a character description web based on the main character in a contemporary realistic novel” (p. 91).  In addition, the use of technology is incorporated by presenting views on how to research supplementary information about your literature piece.  Bucher and Manning submit approaches to collaborate with other teachers in an effort to make connections with the literature in other content areas more meaningful.  A list of questions is prearranged to help you to consider the right choice in selecting young adult literature for your classroom instruction.  Finally, a plethora of young adult books are cited under each genre section to aid in the process of choosing a book.

Teachers need to “show readers how literature has a place in all curricular areas and also contribute to the concept of a community of learners and the promotion of lifelong readers” (p. 333).  Bucher and Manning recommend several techniques to teach, use, and appreciate young adult literature.  They discuss the proposal of a young adult literature program to provide an opportunity to enjoy reading, to interpret literature, and develop an awareness of literacy.  Also, revealed is a literature-based instruction throughout the curriculum, in which young adult literature takes the place of or is added to the conventional textbook used in schools.

Despite being geared towards middle and high school teachers, I think many of the ideas suggested can be functional in an elementary setting.  In addition, the questions given to help select a literature piece is useful for any teacher to keep in mind. This book would be a valuable resource to help any teacher with selecting a book from different genres.

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