Opening Plenary Sessions: 8:30-10:00 (CDT)
Plenary 1: Making Good on the Promise of YAL: How YAL is Living in Sholarship Today
Presenter(s): Ricki Ginsberg, Colorado State University, author of Challenging Traditional Classroom Spaces with Young Adult Literature: Students in Community as Course Co-Designers (2022); Mollie Blackburn, The Ohio State University, author of Moving Across Differences: How Students Engage LGBTQ+ Themes in a High School Literature Class (Open Access, 2023); Cristina Herrera, Portland State University, author of ChicaNerds in Chicana Young Adult Literature: Brown and Nerdy (2020).
Plenary 2: Should I Teach This Text? Creating Text Complexity Rationales
Presenter(s): Lara Searcy, Northeastern State University with Brogan Spears, Karrine Ortiz, & Kevin Shank, NSU Graduate Students
Discussant(s): Kyle Foster, Author TBD
During a time when legislation stands in opposition to principles of academic freedom, educators need tools (such as text complexity rationales) to make their classroom a place that is inclusive of race, ethnicity, culture, and all perspectives that reflect the richness of human experience.
Concurrent Session 1: 10:00-10:45 (CDT)
1A. Navigating School Shootings through Upper MG and Young YA Novels
Presenters: Danielle DeFauw, University of Michigan-Dearborn: Erin Bow, author, Simon Sort of Says/ Disney-Hyperion
Discussant(s): Shelly Shaffer, Gretchen Rumohr
Middle Grade and Young Adult literature provides opportunities for teachers and families to facilitate conversations with children and adolescents about school safety. In this session, # authors of upper MG / young YA novels will share their experiences writing novels that address school shootings and recommendations for healing and change.
1B. Learning to Love Ourselves Through the Power of Young Adult Literature
Presenter(s): Susan Azim Boyer, Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win and The Search for Us/St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books; Jen Ferguson, The Summer of Bitter and Sweet and Those Pink Mountain Nights/ Heartdrum Harper Collins; Maya Prasad, Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things and Wild Wishes and Lovestruck Kisses/Disney Books; Elisa Bonin, Dauntless and Stolen City/FierceReads; Priyanka Taslim, The Love Match/Salaam Reads Simon & Schuster
Discussant(s): Brogan Spears, Katie Sluiter
Young adult literature, in particular, is uniquely suited to act as a catalyst for teen readers to engage and celebrate their most vulnerable and authentic selves.
1C. Do We Dare Disturb the Universe?: Fulfilling the Promise of YA Literature
Presenter(s): Sean Conners, University of Arkansas; Kalynn Bayron, This Wicked Fate
Discussant(s): Terri Suico, Keith Newvine
In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of The Chocolate War, Dr. Sean Connors invites YA author Kalynn Bayron to reflect on what it means to “disturb the universe,” either through critiquing exclusionary practices and policies in her work, advocating for more diverse YA books, or re-imagining the YA canon altogether.
1D. Exploring Language and Stereotypes /Bias in in Young Adult Literature: Mental Health Literacy in High School English Classrooms
Presenter(s): Kia Jane Richmond, Northern Michigan University; Heather Nayback, Munising High School, MI
Discussant(s): Jinan El Sabbagh, Patricia Lane
Participants will use a close reading technique to examine stereotypes/bias in language from young adult novels focused on mental health. Based on research and high school classroom workshops, the presenter will lead participants through an activity and focus on language used by authors of YA novels featuring characters with depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Concurrent Session 2: 11:00-11:45 (CDT)
2A. Nurturing Teacher-Scholars in YA Lit courses
Presenter(s): Jinan El Sabbagh, Oklahoma State University with Erica Fleming, Sophia Berges, Maren Money, OSU students
Discussant(s): Crag Hill, Nora Shalaway-Carpenter
In this classroom practice session, we (a teacher educator, a doctoral student, and two undergraduate preservice teachers) will discuss the rationale, process, and application of composing a practitioner-oriented article in response to the prompt “What is YA Literature” in their Teaching YA Literature course.
2B. Let’s Talk Insecurities: Creating Spaces for Safe Conversations in the English Classroom
Presenter(s): Leilya Pitre, Southeastern Louisiana University
Discussant(s): Shaylyn Marks, Akira Park, Jeffrey Kaplan
This presentation focuses on facilitation of a YA novel Don’t Even Think about It by Sarah Mlynowski (2014) exploring adolescents’ insecurities and ways they learn to face them. The presenter shares some possibilities to organize the work around the novel including thematic literature circles, multimedia projects, and creative writing.
2C. Using Young Adult Literature in Youth-led Book Clubs to Enhance Students’ Literacies and Center Emotional and Identity-based Engagements
Presenter(s): Jody Polleck, Hunter College–CUNY
Discussant(s): Kia Jane Richmond, Danielle DeFauw
Using 20 years of her own practices and research in facilitating youth-led book clubs, the presenter will discuss how to center young adult literature in these in- and out-of-the classroom communities to enhance students’ literacies while also centering humanizing and culturally-affirming and sustaining emotional and identity-based engagements.
2D. “We're, like, not alone”: Finding Validation in Latinx YAL
Presenter(s): Sandra M. Saco, Arizona State University
Discussant(s): James Blasingame, Morgan Jackson
This presentation centers the research of a Latina teacher-educator committed to centering the experiences of Latinx students. She offers her perspective and practices on the use of culturally sustaining YA literature, examining the tensions that Latinx students face. The presenter will provide strategies for centering these practices in the classroom.
Lunch Plenary: 12:00-12:45 (CDT)
Plenary 3: Keeping Reading Alive with Students in Middle School (10am PDT)
Presenter(s): Robin Pelletier and Pinecrest Academy Sloan Canyon Students
Discussant(s): Nikki Bylina Streets, Sarah Donovan
Teachers are faced with student apathy for reading due to lack of engagement, disinterest or competing activities. How can educators engage students to renew their reading passion? This session will have students from my classroom/book club to discuss how educators can keep a passion for reading alive in young adult literature. The goal’s to create student feedback teachers can implement.
Concurrent Session 3: 1:30-2:15 (CDT)
3A. The Promise of New Adult Literature: Books for Readers Approaching Adulthood
Presenter(s): Sharon Kane, State University of New York at Oswego
Discussant(s): Lara Searcy, Anne (Bird) Cramer
We will employ a Readers’ Advisory lens to explore ways to use diverse New Adult literature with readers in their late teens. A senior elective can offer fiction and nonfiction addressing topics including preparing for college and careers; navigating new and changing relationships; wellness; activism; and other aspects of “adulting.”
3B. YA Verse Novels as Mentor Texts for Writers
Presenter(s): Melanie Hundley & Emily Pendergrass, Vanderbilt University
Discussant(s): Arianna Banack, Susan Azim Boyer
This session focuses on how ELA teachers can use young adult novels in verse as mentor texts to help students develop their writing skills, respond to and analyze texts, and create multiple genres of text. We will offer strategies for and examples of student writing including poetry, hypertexts, and videos.
3C. Dispelling Shadows of Uncertainty: Facilitating Professional Growth Through Dialogue and Young Adult School Stories
Presenter(s): Dawan Coombs, Brigham Young University; Jon Ostenson, Brigham Young University
Mercedes Allen, Mountain Ridge High School; Nicole Sanchez, West Lake STEM Junior High
Discussant(s): Sarah Fleming, Sandra Saco
How can dialogue about young adult literature support novice teachers as they wrestle with uncertainties they will inevitably face? This session explores how dialogue with respected others, young adult texts, and personal and professional identities helped novice teachers find light in moments of darkness throughout their professional becoming.
3D. Telescopes and the Future of LGBTQ+ Youth Literature
Presenter(s): Josh Coleman, University of Iowa
Discussant(s): Michelle Falter, Mollie Blackburn
While BIPOC and trans characters are increasingly represented in LGBTQ+ youth literature, white cismasculine protagonists still dominate across genres. This presentation shares findings from the “Telescopes to Queer Futures'' project and focuses on speculative fiction. I will share approaches for constructing YAL databases and conducting distant readings of texts.
Concurrent Session 4: 2:30-3:15 (CDT)
4A. “Does this Show Evidence of Corrupt Police in Society?”: Analyzing Systems in YA Literature Circles
Presenter(s): Shelly Shaffer & Melissa Bedford, Eastern Washington University
Discussant(s): Dawan Combs,Jason DeHart
We present a literature circle role that is used to analyze systems in society (Voices from the Middle, May 2023). In this session, we ask teachers to use the “Systems Analyst” role in order to analyze an excerpt from a Young Adult text.
4B. The Promise of Student Empowerment to Become Upstanders by Utilizing YA Novels
Presenter(s): Deborah Greenblatt, Medgar Evers College, The City University of New York; Liza Wiemer, Delacorte Press/Penguin Random House
Discussant(s): Ashley Boyd, Erica Fleming
An author and an educator will share their work on student empowerment by utilizing YA novels, focusing on The Assignment. This presentation will engage participants to reflect and share why students are bystanders and how these books hold the promise to change attitudes and behavior to become upstanders.
4C. Developing Racial Literacy with Youth through Young Adult Literature
Presenter(s): Keith Newvine, State University of New York at Cortland
Discussant(s): Sean Connors, Jody Polleck
A challenging aspect of curriculum reform in ELA classrooms that is focused on racial justice, among other things, is how to invite youth to consider their various identities in ways that are safe, intentional, and deliberate. This presentation will provide specific ways to develop racial literacy with youth through YAL.
4D. Post-Humanist Perspectives in Young Adult Science Fiction
Presenter(s): Amy Piotrowski & Kalie Chamberlain, Utah State University
Discussant(s): Caitlin Donovan
Science fiction often features post-humanist ideas, including A.I., robotics, and virtual reality. It also focuses on problematic social concerns, including surveillance, information control, and data collection. This session suggests ways teachers might explore current ethical issues in science and technology using engaging, contemporary young adult fiction.
Concurrent Session 5: 3:30-4:15 (CDT)
5A. Looking at Young Adult Literature through an Intersectional Lens
Presenter(s): Caitlin Crouch, Bailey Ritter, & Arianna Banack, Purdue University
Discussant(s): Josh Coleman, Melanie Hundley
Through the novels Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Firekeeper’s Daughter, we demonstrate how to examine literature in secondary classrooms through an intersectional lens. This session uses specific questions adapted from Borsheim-Black and Sariginiades (2019) to draw attention to character’s intersectional identities.
5B. A University, State Department of Education, National Endowment for the Humanities Partnership to improve Indigenous education through YAL
Presenter(s): James Blasingame, Arizona State University; Brenda Thomson, Executive Director Arizona Humanities Council; Alexander Soto, Arizona State University Libraries Labriola Center; Brooke Curleyhair, Arizona Department of Education Office of Native American Education
Discussant(s): Ricki Ginsberg, Deborah Greenblatt
This panel will explain how the Arizona state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Arizona State University Labriola Center, and the Arizona Department of Education partnered to provide multiple sessions of training and author talks concerning culturally sustaining pedagogy, the best and also the most recent in Native American Young Adult Literature.
5C. Searching for Racial Justice in Young Adult Speculative Fiction
Presenter(s): Sarah Fleming , SUNY Oswego
Discussant(s): Shelley Shaffer, Chea Parton
This presentation reviews three speculative fiction titles - The Getaway (2022) by Lamar Giles, The Weight of Blood (2022) by Tiffany D. Jackson, and Bloodmarked (2022) by Tracy Deonn - and how the centering of these texts can help students develop a racial literacy and invite them to work toward racial justice.
5D. Book Conversations: Moxie, Patron Saints of Nothing, & Legendborn,
Akira Park, Washington State University: Incorporating Asian-American narratives and experiences in the English classroom through Randy Ribay’s Patron Saints of Nothing: This presentation will demonstrate classroom practices, integrating Randy Ribay’s young adult novel Patron Saints of Nothing and explore how such incorporation can contribute to the importance of discussing the current experiences of Asian-American individuals.
Melanie Bell, Washington State University: You've Got Moxie: Youth Resistance to Patriarchy and Neoliberalism: This paper uses Jennifer Mathieu’s Moxie to exemplify how young students resist patriarchal norms. These ideologies force women into vicious social cycles of domesticity and labor to ensure the futurity of patriarchy structures. Mathieu’s characters deny this, calling out problematic norms, policies, and people who classify women as marginal.
Waverly Whisenant, Rebecca Lesnefsky, & Stephani Nummelin, University of North Carolina: Subtle Subversion in the Classroom: Using YAL for Inclusivity: We will outline the ways in which Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn can be used to execute critical progressive pedagogies that allow teachers to subtly subvert restrictive narratives associated with school requirements and current legislation.
Discussant(s): Amy Piotrowski, Robin Pelletier
Closing Plenary Sessions: 4:30-5:30 (CDT)
Plenary 4: Reading Rural Environmentalism: Connections Between People and Place in Rural Literature and Secondary ELA
Presenters: Nora Shalaway-Carpenter, Candlewick Press; Darcie Little Badger, Levine Querido; Jeff Zentner, Crown Books and environmental lawyer; Chea Parton, Purdue University; Jacqueline Yahn, Ohio University
Discussants: Ashley Boyd, Michelle Falter
This session will feature a conversation between environmental literacy scholars and rural YA authors that focuses on nuanced understandings of the connections between rural people and the environment. It seeks to foster critical literacies of ecology and place in secondary ELA and teacher preparation classrooms.
Plenary 5: The Promise and Potential of Scholarly Books about Young Adult Literature
Presenters: Terri Suico, Saint Mary’s College; Crag Hill, Oklahoma University; Shelley Unsicker-Durham, Oklahoma University
Discussants: Sarah Donovan, Gretchen Rumohr
The number of scholarly books about YAL has grown significantly in the past 20 years. This interactive session will report on findings from a critical content analysis on these texts. Participants will engage in discussing the books and the promise and potential the texts present for teaching and scholarship.