Examining Images of Urban Life: A Resource for Teachers of Young Adult Literature

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Laura Nicosia/Montclair State University
contact email: 

CFP for collection under contract:

Examining Images of Urban Life: A Resource for Teachers of Young Adult Literature

We are seeking submissions for a collection (under contract with an award-winning press) on the images of urban life in children’s and young adult literature. Despite the abundance of sociological, psychological, political, and educational related books on life in urban settings, there are no collections exclusively focused on examining what it means to live in urban environments as depicted in contemporary and popular children’s and YA literatures. Consequently, educators and teachers-in-training do not have a resource to help them focus their lessons and conversations on this topic or these texts.

This collection seeks to gather contributions that examine how living in a city affects character identity and growth, and the ways authors world-build the urban setting. Too often today audiences hear the word “city” and automatically classify it as “gritty” or “hard-hitting,” and its inhabitants at best “tough,” and at worst, “victims.” While deficit narratives have been, and continue to be the current parlance, we seek essays with a more balanced understanding of fiction set in urban environments. Our collection aims to problematize these literary clichés and help readers come away with an expanded understanding of the 21st century city as depicted in children’s and YA novels.

Urban life is varied and rich, and its literature is both, as well. Some novels portray the city as magical places, others as stifling, imposing environments, and others still as a harsh but dynamic, living landscape. Cities are the center of culture, business and arts, and are meeting places for diversities of all kinds. This collection is centered around a reconsideration of what the city represents, to its authors, readers and inhabitants.   

Submissions may include, but are not limited to, critiques of the following authors’ works: 

  • Benjamin Alire-Saenz
  • Jason Reynolds
  • Kwame Alexander
  • Matt de la Peña
  • Jerry Spinelli
  • Coe Booth
  • Rebecca Stead
  • Walter Dean Myers
  • Sharon Draper
  • Robert Lipsyte
  • Sandra Cisneros
  • Nikki Grimes
  • Angie Thomas
  • Alex London
  • Beverly Cleary
  • Alan Sitomer
  • Rita Williams-Garcia
  • Christopher Paul Curtis
  • S.E. Hinton          

By July 15, 2019 please submit a 250-300-word abstract, a 75-word biographical statement (including your affiliation), and contact information to the editors:

Dr. Laura Nicosia: lauranicosia@gmail.com

Dr. Jim Nicosia: nicosiaj@montclair.edu