YA Literature and Composition

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Tamara Girardi and Dr. Abigail Scheg
contact email: 

While adult book sales have been down for the past few years, sales of young adult titles have increased as much as 30% according to some reports. The turn of the millennium brought an explosion of YA sales with the most notable Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, and Divergent series. YA sections grew from a few shelves to prominent areas in libraries and major bookstores. In fact, a recent Pew Survey reported that 16-29 year-olds check out library books more than any other group.
Despite assumptions that kids don’t read, young adults entering college classrooms are reading recreationally more so than any generation before them. Additionally, many popular films and television shows are based on young adult novels and series. With the prevalence of contemporary young adult literature in their lives, it is logical to question how a connection can be made to their learning in academia.
This collection will explore such connections, specifically in the college composition classroom, although some references to literature and creative writing classrooms are also welcome. While the heart of the exploration involves the reading and writing of young adult literature, the ultimate goal should be to discuss how one or both might inform composition pedagogy.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
-Early young adult texts such as Maureen Daly’s Seventeenth Summer, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, and works by Judy Blume, Lois Duncan, and Robert Cormier and how these texts relate to contemporary YA literature.
-Why specific themes or tropes connect well with high school and college students.
-Contradictions between YA reader’s interests in dark issues such as addiction, suicide, terminal illness, sexuality, abuse and their parents and/or teachers anticipation that such issues are too serious for them.
-Variations in genres within the YA framework and how knowledge of genre differences might influence greater understanding and appreciation for non-traditional literary works.
-Comparison between new adult and young adult genres.
-Popularity of YA literature with adults.
-The cathartic experience of writing and reading about challenges faced during one of the most formative times in a student’s life.
-Composition assignments and pedagogy that feature YA literature in some way.
Please send inquiries or abstracts of approximately 250 words to YALitCollection@gmail.com by July 1, 2014. Editors for this collection are: Dr. Tamara Girardi (@TamaraGirardi), Harrisburg Area Community College, and Dr. Abigail Scheg (@ag_scheg), Elizabeth City State University.

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