Crossed Borders, Changed Lives: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Twenty-First Century Young Adult Immigrant & Refugee Literature

deadline for submissions: 
September 1, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Deborah De Rosa
contact email: 

Please submit letter of interest or an abstract by 9/1/22. 

Goal: completed first draft of collection by 12/1/22

Crossed Borders, Changed Lives: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Young Adult Immigrant & Refugee Literature will include scholarly and artistic articles in a collection that focuses on moments of diversity, equity (or inequity), and inclusion (or exclusion) pertaining to images of immigrants and refugees in recent Young Adult (YA) fiction.

CONTENT & CONTRIBUTERS:

The collection will address themes such as inclusion / exclusion (racism), equity/ inequity, identity construction, transnationalism / emotional transnationalism, social justice, empathy, etc.

Perhaps because of the anti-Muslim responses 9/11/2001 to Trump’s policies against immigrants from South America as well as Muslim countries (2017-2021), fiction writers have been diligently documenting the immigrant’s experience and creating a wonderful explosion of literature (from picture books, to middle-grade readers, to YA novels) about the immigrant experience. These stories, most by minority writers (often women) about teens (often girls), not only serve as “doors” for immigrant children to enter and see themselves represented, but also “windows” for Americans to experience the joys and sorrows of immigrant experiences and hopefully deepen empathy, reversing the political inhumanity.

Crossed Borders, Changed Lives will include essays by scholars and YA authors who make immigration central to their literary work. Recently, YA authors have told the stories of immigrants from South America (Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico), the Caribbean (Cuba and Haiti), Africa, Asia (Afghanistan, Korea, China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam), the Middle East (Bangladesh, Istanbul, with an emphasis on Muslim immigrants); and Europe (Russia). Each author explores the reasons for leaving “Home” (political turmoil, poverty, family) and the child’s experience adjusting in his/her new “home.” I will ask the authors of the fiction texts to contribute an essay about their work.  These author-essays will then work in concert with the voices of scholars who talk about the theme in general or YA texts (see included list) in particular. This comingling of the scholarly and the artistic (30-50 essays) supports the intention of making the collection inclusive, diverse, and equitable. See Appendix A  for YA texts about immigrants and Refugees

CONTRIBUTION TO THE FIELD

Several scholars have published on themes related to immigration in children’s literature (bibliography available upon request), but few have published on the recent YA novels (list available upon request).  Furthermore, I have identified no collection of essays by the authors of the YA fiction as well as academics. Current collection include: Mcguire and Rogers (Children’s Literature on the Move, 2013), who discuss the idea of globalism and nationality in European children’s literature, with a particular focus on Ireland. Similarly, Samu and Dutt (Home is Here and Far Away, 2001) focus on characters from India and New Zealand. Finally, Yitzhaki and Richter (Immigrant and Immigration in Israeli’s Children’s Literature, 1996) discuss immigration, but in Israeli children’s fiction.

Naidoo (Diversity in Youth Literature, 2013) identifies the increased diversity in children and YA literature, but she explains guidelines for selecting, evaluating, and promoting a wide range of diverse texts. Ginsberg and Glenn (Engaging with Multicultural YA Literature in the Secondary Classroom, 2019) write primarily for the classroom, situating each YA text in a critical context appropriate for the classroom. Although they include immigrant texts, they also reference gender, sexual orientation, and class. 

Ymitri (Growing up Asian American in Young Adult Fiction, 2017) may come closest to one portion of my proposed collection as it examines the wide range of Asian American experiences. Similarly, Lowery (Immigrant in Children’s Literature, 2000) writes primarily for teachers about how individuals can come to understand the similarities and differences in the immigrant experience via reading. However, published in 2000, she obviously does not include the many YA works since then. Brown (Immigration Narratives in Young Adult Literature, 2011) also comes close to my topic, but again the 15 texts she includes were published before 2008. 

Potential publishers

  1. American Library Association
  2. Ashgate Publishing Co.
  3. Cambridge Scholars Publishing
  4. Greenwood Publishing Group
  5. McFarland & Company Publishing
  6. Michigan State University Press
  7. Oxford University Press
  8. Palgrave Macmillan
  9. Peter Lang Publishing
  10. Routledge
  11. University Press of Mississippi