Canonical Young Adult Literature: Criticism & Critique

deadline for submissions: 
November 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Victor Malo-Juvera & Crag Hill
contact email: 

Call for Chapter Proposals

Working Title: Canonical Young Adult Literature: Criticism & Critique



Victor Malo-Juvera, University of North Carolina Wilmington,

Crag Hill, University of Oklahoma,

Proposal Submission Deadline: November 1, 2018

Proposal Decisions: December 22, 2018


The field of young adult literature has exploded over the past twenty years and has become a major cultural influence not only through the direct reading of texts by millions of teens (and adults), but through cinematic adaptations, via the role that YA literature has played in recent social justice movements, and by the burgeoning space that YA texts occupy as part of secondary school curricula across the nation.   As the field of YA literature has grown, a canon has formed and although some may decry them as exclusionary, those protests do not alter the fact that a canon of young adult literature exists.  Although many traditional literary critics and scholars such as the Blooms, both Allan and Harold, emphasize the role that literary quality plays in canonical inclusion, we argue that to be taught is to be canonical and that what sets canonical young adult texts apart (in some instances) from the bestselling young adult texts is that the canon is taught in classrooms across the country.

We became motivated to do a text on canonical young adult literature as an extension of a collection we edited for Routledge (forthcoming 2019), Critical Approaches to Teaching the High School Novel: Reinterpreting Canonical Literature, which features 13 in depth critical literary analyses of texts that comprise the literary canon of secondary schools.  As we worked on it, we found ourselves repeatedly discussing issues of canonicity and young adult literature; thus, this text became a logical next step for us.

We realize that there is a diverse body of knowledge in the field of English education regarding the teaching of YA literature and that there are also numerous texts that deal with criticism of YA literature and with larger issues of social justice related to YA literature; however, what is largely missing from the field are the types of critical literary analyses that are endemic to children’s literature and philology/literary studies.  Our text will help fill this void as we intend to promulgate a wide array of critical interpretations of the texts that make up the YA canon. This book will not only be intended for secondary English language arts teachers who can draw pedagogical inspiration from the analyses, but also for professors in both English and Education departments who teach YA literature courses.


Each chapter will feature a critical literary interpretation of a canonical YA text; we may be open to chapters that use two or more texts if proposals provide a compelling rationale, but it is critical to keep in mind that our manuscript will foreground texts rather than theoretical or pedagogical approaches.  We are open to publishing more than one chapter on a text if the modes of interpretation are not similar.

Although proposals may utilize well known literary modes of criticism such as Marxism, feminism, biographical, new criticism, Black crit, and post colonialism, we are completely open to proposals that utilize other paradigms to interrogate texts.  For example, a chapter may address issues of assimilation and cultural pluralism in Sandra Cisneros’ House on Mango Street; use postcolonialism to interpret issues of oppression in Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War; use genre/archetypal analysis to examine divergence from non-YA dystopian literature in Hunger Games and The Giver; or use trauma theory to discuss Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

 A successful chapter will:

Ɣ    Focus on a widely read/taught canonical YA novel/s;

Ɣ    Provide a background of the text/s discussed and its place in the YA canon;

Ɣ    Provide a background of the theoretical paradigm/s used;

Ɣ    Feature a deep textual analysis that theoretically grounded;

 Though we are certainly open to all proposals, we are especially interested in ones that address the following texts (in no particular order): Speak, The Chocolate War, Esperanza Rising, American Born Chinese, The Outsiders, The Giver, Hatchet, Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, Holes, Stargirl, Crank, Persepolis, Maus, Monster, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Make Lemonade, A Step from Heaven, The Book Thief, Number the Stars, The Devil’s Arithmetic, Pigman, House on Mango Street, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, and any of the Harry Potter texts.

 Submission Procedures

We invite authors to submit a blinded chapter proposal (maximum of 500 words) and a separate cover page that indicates all authors’ full names, email addresses, and affiliations. All proposals should be in APA Style formatting.

 A successful proposal will:

Ɣ    Provide a background of the text/s to be discussed and its place in the YA canon;

Ɣ    Provide an overview of the literary analysis/interpretation you intend to write as well as an argument showing why this type of analysis is appropriate and needed.

Inquiries can be directed to either Vic or Crag. Please submit the proposal and cover page as separate Word documents to by November 1, 2018. Please write: “YA Canon Chapter Proposal” in the subject line.

Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by December 22, 2018. The proposed book will then be marketed to the publisher with a clear outline based upon the accepted chapters. Final chapters should be 7,000 – 8,000 words.

Canonical Young Adult Literature: Criticism & Critique