Teaching Black and Brown Childhood: Race, Ethnicity, and Young Adult Novels the Classroom

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

In the midst of the election of the Trump administration, the growing racial tensions that coalesced into the violent protests in Charlottesville, and the rising rates of hate crimes committed against black and brown individuals, there has been a slew of young adult novels published by writers of color that tackle the ways in which young people within these communities must simultaneously navigate the complexities of childhood while also confronting racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and police brutality. Works like the The Hate U Give (2017) by Angie Thomas, The Poet X (2018) by Elizabeth Acevedo, and The Education of Margot Sanchez (2017) by Lilliam Rivera offer narratives that ask the readers to consider the hardships and triumphs of children of color as they negotiate the complex world of adolescence while also seeking to overcome the social and economic barriers that seek to subsume them into the marginalization. These novels and other recent young adult novels forefront new voices and innovative modes of writing about the lived experiences of marginalized youth. 


This panel seeks pedagogical papers and approaches to incorporating black and brown young adult fiction into literature and composition courses. In what ways can these young adult novels by writers of color offer models to empower students of color to write in the classroom? How can using these texts build bridges, empathy, or highlight the cultural collisions and connections between various racial and ethnic groups in the classroom? What types of assignments and projects can be built around these texts of black and brown childhood to generate action and movements for change and social justice?

Abstracts are due by Septembet 30. Pleasde submit abstracts at: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/User/SubmitAbstract/18314

The 51st Annual Convention NeMLA conference will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, March 5-8, 2020.