Friday, March 31, 2017


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

"Writing Bridges: How Writers Scaffold Mature Content in YA Literature" by Amy Bright: "Young adult literature frequently challenges its young readers. Its ability to connect compelling plot and characters with experimental and literary technique offers readers a unique reading experience that provokes and engages them. Three recent novels—Margo Lanagan's Tender  Morsels (2008), Libba Bray's Going Bovine (2009), and Andrew Smith's The Marbury Lens (2010)—characterize this distinctive environment. Lanagan's medieval portrayal of a damaged young woman who retreats into a fantasy world, Bray's protagonist Cameron, a teen suffering from Mad Cow Disease who sets off on a hallucinogenic adventure, and Smith's transportation of his protagonist to an ultra-violent fantasy world when he puts on a pair of glasses all contribute to broadening the category of young adult literature." Click heading (and scroll down) to read article. 

Click HERE (then click "Look Inside," then "First Pages") to read and excerpt from Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

Click HERE to read an excerpt from Passenger, the sequel to Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith.

Click HERE to read an excerpt from Going Bovine by Libby Bray. Click HERE to read the NY Times review of Going Bovine.

Friday, March 17, 2017


Students MUST post reactions ( minimum 250 words) to the assigned reading(s) linked below. Students are to pick ONE either Karen Russell OR Sam Lipsyte. Extra credit to those who read both interviews, both stories, and post two separate reactions. Students are encouraged (but not required) to additionally respond to other student reactions.

Click HERE to read the Interview Magazine interview with Karen Russell OR HERE to read her interview with Guernica.

"Ava Wrestles the Alligator" by Karen Russell: My sister and I are staying in Grandpa Sawtooth's old house until our father, Chief Bigtree, gets back from the Mainland. It's our first summer alone in the swamp. "You girls will be fine," the Chief slurred. "Feed the gators, don't talk to strangers. Lock the door at night." The Chief must have forgotten that it's a screen door at Grandpa's — there is no key, no lock. The old house is a rust-checkered yellow bungalow at the edge of the wild bird estuary. It has a single, airless room; three crude, palmetto windows, with mosquito-blackened sills; a tin roof that hums with the memory of rain. I love it here. Whenever the wind gusts in off the river, the sky rains leaves and feathers. During mating season, the bedroom window rattles with the ardor of birds. Click the title (and scroll down) to read the rest of the excerpt.


The Dungeon Master by Sam Lipsyte: The Dungeon Master has detention. We wait at his house by the county road. The Dungeon Master’s little brother Marco puts out corn chips and orange soda. Marco is a paladin. He fights for the glory of Christ. Marco has been many paladins since winter break. They are all named Valentine, and the Dungeon Master makes certain they die with the least possible amount of dignity. (Click heading to read story.)

Every Morpheme Counts: The Sam Lipsyte Interview: I go through a lot of revision to get the timing, not just of the comic element but of everything. So I pay a lot of close attention to rhythm and cadence and acoustics and where things land, how sentences land, how paragraphs land, how we transition. A lot of comedy can be found in transitions too, I think. Barry Hannah was the master at landing in the right way, making the familiar strange and funny and terrifying—all of those things that the writers I like strive to do. He was such an amazing example. (Click heading to read interview.)

Monday, March 6, 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 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 "30 Diverse YA Titles to Get on Your Radar" by Kelly Jensen.

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