Literature for Today's Young Adults

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  • Edition: 9th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-04-09
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Long respected as the number one book in the field, Literature for Today's Young Adultsgives teachers, librarians, parents, counselors, and other group leaders-as well as instructors and students in college courses in Adolescent/Young Adult Literature-a comprehensive look at YA literature framed within a literary, historical, and social context as a means to motivating teens to become life-long readers. Included is helpful information on evaluating YA books of all genres, using YA literature effectively with English Language Learners, incorporating digital and other new literacies into classroom teaching, and dealing with today's increasingly diverse and challenging censorsorship issues.

Author Biography

Alleen Pace Nilsen has been a co-author of Literature for Today’s Young Adults since the very first edition in 1980.  She and Ken Donelson were also co-editors of the English Journal and founding editors of The ALAN Review.  They both served as Presidents of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN) and as Directors of English Education at Arizona State University.  Dr. Donelson retired  from ASU in 2002 and Alleen retired in 2011.  She is the author of two editions of Presenting M. E. Kerr as part of the Twayne United States Authors Series, 1986 and 1997, and of Joan Bauer: Teen Reads: Student Companions to Young Adult Literature, Greenwillow, 2007.   She edited Living Language: Reading, Thinking, and Writing, Allyn and Bacon, 1999, and with her colleague and husband, Don L. F. Nilsen, she co-authored the Encyclopedia of 20th-Century American Humor, Greenwood Press, 2000, and Vocabulary Plus: A Source Based Approach: K through 8 and High School and Up, Pearson, 2004.   She has published widely in such journals as School Library Journal, English Journal, The ALAN Review, College English, and Humor.


James Blasingame is an associate professor of English at Arizona State University and Director of the English Education program.  He is Past-President of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English and was the editor of The ALAN Review, a professional journal devoted to young adult literature, from 2003-2009.  He is the editor of the Books for Adolescents pages of the International Reading Association’s Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and winner of the International Reading Association’s Arbuthnot Award for the 2008 outstanding university professor of young adult literature.  He was named the ASU Parents Association Professor of the Year in 2008.  He has published over 100 interviews with authors of young adult literature and over 300 book reviews.  Dr. Blasingame was a high school English teacher, coach, and administrator for 21 years in Iowa, Nebraska, Utah, and Kansas before completing his doctorate at the University of Kansas in 2000.  He has been at ASU for 12 years, teaching courses in young adult literature and methods of teaching writing, as well as supervising student teachers.  He is a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  


Don L. F. Nilsen is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Arizona State University, but as an “extra” to his regular job, he also worked with young adult literature and with English Education students.  With his wife, Alleen, he is the co-founder of the International Society for Humor Studies.  The two of them also were co-presidents in 2009 of the American Name Society.  Together they wrote Pronunciation Contrasts in English, which recently came out in a new edition (Waveland Press, 2010) and the Encyclopedia of 20th-Century American Humor, (Greenwood) which was chosen by the American Library Association as an “Outstanding Reference Book for 2000.”  Both his interest in humor and in the teaching of English as a second language are reflected in his contributions to the ninth edition of Literature for Today’s Young Adults. He and Alleen have also been co-presidents of the American Name Society and in 2007 they published the well-received Names and Naming in Young Adult Literature, Scarecrow Studies in YA Literature No. 27.   

Table of Contents

Part One: Understanding Young Adults and Books

Chapter 1           Young Adults and Their Reading

Chapter 2         A Brief History of Young Adult Literature

Chapter 3         Digital and Other New Literacies for Teachers and Librarians


Part Two: Modern Young Adult Reading

Chapter 4         Contemporary Realistic Fiction: From Romances to Tragedies to Magical Realism

Chapter 5           Fantasy, Supernatural, Science Fiction, Utopias, and Dystopias

Chapter 6         Poetry, Drama, Humor, and New Media

Chapter 7           Adventure, Westerns, Sports, and Mysteries

Chapter 8         Historical Fiction: Of People and Places

Chapter 9           Nonfiction: Information, Literary Nonfiction, Biographies, and Self-Help Books


Part Three: Adults and the Literature of Young Adults

Chapter 10        Evaluating, Promoting, and Using Young Adult Books

Chapter 11          Young Adult Literature in the English Class

Chapter 12        Censorship: Of Worrying and Wondering        

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