Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Students are to post one response (min 350 words) to the readings linked belowStudents are encouraged (but not required) to additionally respond to other student reactions.

A New Way for Gay Characters in YA by Jenn Doll: Scholastic Publisher and Editorial Director David Leviathan (the same Levithan behind Two Boys Kissing, Invisibility, and 2003's Boy Meets Boy) told me that the environment for gay characters in Y.A. literature has indeed changed remarkably in the past 10 years. "For so many years, so many characters have been defined by their sexuality—they're 'gay'; we don't have to give them any other characteristics," he says. "But gay characters and gay kids have lots of other things going on. No one is just this one thing." In these new books, being gay or bi or lesbian or transgendered is wrapped up in conversations of identity that often transcend sexuality, and ask what happens beyond acknowledgment, coming out, and even generalized acceptance of one's choices."

A Graphic Guide to LGBTQ YA Literature (from coming out stories to sci-fi adventures). These books aren’t necessarily right for every reader, and don’t constitute the best, or the only, LGBTQIA+ fiction for young adults available. But it is a good starting off point for those interested in exploring the way these identities are portrayed in YA fiction. Click HERE to visit the page.

Malinda Lo is the author of the young adult novels Ash, Huntress, Adaptation, and Inheritance. Ash was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award for YA Science Fiction and Fantasy, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and was a Kirkus Best Book for Children and Teens. She has been a three-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Malinda’s nonfiction has been published by The New York Times Book Review, NPR, The Huffington Post, The Toast, The Horn Book, and AfterEllen. Malinda is co-founder with Cindy Pon of Diversity in YA, a project that celebrates diversity in young adult books. Over the past several years she's written a lot about YA with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters or issues. Click here for the index of her LGBT posts. Read two.
Pick one author/book highlighted in any of the above posts/articles/etc. and read an excerpt (excerpts can be had by Googling the book title and the word "excerpt," or finding the book on Amazon and clicking "Look Inside.")

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Students are to post ONE reaction (minimum 350 words) to the assigned listening/reading/viewing linked below. Students are encouraged (but not required) to additionally respond to other student reactions.

"The Autumnal Genius of John Bellairs" by Grady Hendrix: "There’s a particular kind of nostalgia that smells like burning autumn leaves on an overcast day. It sounds like a static-filled radio station playing Brylcreem advertisements in the other room. It feels like a scratchy wool blanket. It looks like a wood-paneled library stuffed with leather-bound books. This is the flavor of occult nostalgia conjured up by author John Bellairs and his illustrator, Edward Gorey, in their middle grade gothic New Zebedee books featuring low-key poker-playing wizards, portents of the apocalypse, gloomy weather, and some of the most complicated names this side of the list of ingredients on a packet of Twinkies." Click heading to read essay.

"Is there still room for scares in John Bellairs?" by Erik Adams: "The imagery and atmosphere of Bellairs’ work inspired a previous generation of readers to become a new generation of writers: The John Bellairs Fandæmonium website collects testimonies from such fans-turned-authors; The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy recently dropped Bellairs’ name in an NPR interview about Under Wildwood, his second YA effort with wife/personal Edward Gorey Carson Ellis. It all goes to show that the art that most often sticks with us, the work that most terrorizes and tantalizes, is that which leaves room for the unknown and the unsaid, that which invites us back by leaving room to interpret what’s hovering just out of view." Click heading to read the essay.

THE HOUSE WITH THE CLOCK IN ITS WALLS By John Bellairs. Click heading, then click on "First Pages" in the left hand "Search Inside" directory (or use right hand box to scroll down), to read an excerpt from the first chapter.


THE GASHLYCRUMB TINIES by Edward Gorey: "Part Tim Burton long before there was Burton, part Edgar Allan Poe long after Poe, the book exudes Gorey’s signature adult picture book mastery, not merely adorned by the gorgeously dark crosshatched illustrations but narratively driven by them." Click heading to read/view The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

THE HAPLESS CHILD by Edward Gorey: Click title to download PDF of The Hapless Child.

The Life of Edward Gorey, Told by an Old Friend: "They are cautionary tales bereft of moral resolution - stories of gin-soaked children and pale-faced newborns brought low by nameless monsters, sudden fires and mysterious vapours. The titles set the tone: The Hapless Child, The Listing Attic, The Fatal Lozenge. Gorey always insisted they were aimed at "reasonably small children", and unconvincingly denied taking any morbid relish in their creation. They are, almost without exception, unspeakably funny. Gorey is an unclassifiable genre: not really children's books, neither comic books, nor art stills. With their hand-lettering, queer layouts, their framed and ornate borders, the small books seem frightfully old-fashioned and biscuity, as if they had been secretly pressed out and printed in suspiciously limited editions in the dark, damp cellar of some creepy railway warehouse in nineteenth-century England by some old pinch-fisted joy-killer in a black claw-hammer coat with red-hot eyes, a black scowl, and a grudge against the world – and then managing to survive the must of long years by their sheer grotesquerie and horror." Click heading to read article, continue scrolling to read an excerpt from The Strange Case of Edward Gorey.

Monday, October 23, 2017


Students are to post reactions (minimum 250 words) to the assigned reading/listening linked below. Students are encouraged (but not required) to additionally respond to other student reactions.

Click HERE to read "The Apartheid of Children's Literature" by children's/YA author Christopher Meyers.

Click HERE to read "The Ongoing Problem of Race in YA."

Click HERE to read Daniel Jose Older's Buzzfeed essay: "Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing." Click HERE to listen to an excerpt from Older's acclaimed YA novel, Shadowshaper.

Click HERE to read an excerpt from Sherman Alexie's YA novel, Diary of a Part Time Indian, winner of the 2007 National Book Award for young people's literature.

Click HERE to review "60 Diverse Books to Look Forward To in 2017" from the blog "Bookishness & Tea."

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

KELLY LINK (due NEXT Friday; that is, Oct 13)

Students are to post reactions (minimum 250 words each) to the assigned listening/reading linked below. Students are encouraged (but not required) to additionally respond to other student reactions.

KELLY LINK Interview:  Kelly Link is the author of the young adult collection Pretty Monsters. She has written two other collections, Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners. Her novellas and short stories have won a variety of awards. Neil Gaiman called her "the best short story writer out there, in any genre." She co-founded Small Beer Press with her husband, Gavin Grant, and edits the fantasy zine Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. Click heading to read the interview.

KELLY LINK NPR: Author Kelly Link says her short stories are inspired by what she calls "night time logic." In fiction that strives for realism, she says, everything has a place. Everything makes sense. It's kind of like dream logic, she tells NPR's Audie Cornish, "except that when you wake up from a dream, you think, well, that didn't make sense. Night time logic in stories, you think, I don't understand why that made sense, but I feel there was a kind of emotional truth to it." Click heading to listen to NPR interview.

THE SPECIALIST'S HAT by KELLY LINK: "When you're Dead," Samantha says, "you don't have to brush your teeth." "When you're Dead," Claire says, "you live in a box, and it's always dark, but you're not ever afraid." Claire and Samantha are identical twins. Their combined age is twenty years, four months, and six days. Claire is better at being Dead than Samantha. Click heading to read the rest of the story.