Thursday, August 27, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Lessons from a Past Erin (1)

Today, I'm trying something new out on the blog. I'm not sure if this has been done before, so if it has, I take no claim for it at all. I just thought it would be cool to share some of what I learned in college. What you're going to find in these Throwback Thursday lessons are notes that I took during my Young Adult Literature class. Some of what I use will be notes that I took during class, and other times, I'll share the thoughts that I came up with while learning.

Keep in mind that I don't really have a lot of notes from this class. It was only a fifteen week course, but I'll share as much as I can, and if it proves to be a much loved feature, I'll keep this format and share some of my own lessons.

So I give you Throwback Thursday: Lessons from a Past Erin. In this feature, I'll be sharing some of my old notes and thoughts that I had when I first started to really read YA. It's kind of hard for me to even believe that before that class, I hadn't read many YA novels, especially considering where I am now.

An Introductory to YA

I realize a lot of you reading this blog are familiar with YA literature, and therefore, you don't need an introduction, but I thought the notes I took on one of the first days of class were interesting. I don't remember much from that day, except for my professor giving us a pretty standard definition of Young Adult Literature.

Young Adult Literature is defined as literature written for children ages eleven through eighteen and marketed as young adult literature. 
  1. The main character must be a teenager
  2. The protagonist's actions are major factors in the plot's outcome
  3. The events and problems in the plot relates to teenagers; the dialogue reflects their speech
  4. The point of view is that of an adolescent and reflects an adolescent's interpretation of the world around them

Now here's the million dollar question... Do do I agree with the above definition? My answer isn't a yes or a no answer because I don't think of YA as black and white. There's a lot of gray area when it comes to how people define it. So my answer is kind of... There are a few things I would change because I know that the audience of YA is very broad.  It's not just limited to teenagers.

I am an adult who most certainly thinks that YA literature is not limited to strictly teenage consumption. If an adult wants to read YA, I say go for it! I've shared many YA books with my mom and aunt, and they love it! I also realize that I'll be reading YA for life because I've chosen to be an English teacher, and I think it's important for me to know what kids are reading outside of the curriculum. 

Class Discussion

If you've read this entire post, I'm sure you have some sort of opinion on this definition of Young Adult Literature, and I'd love to hear it! Feel free to leave a comment to tell me what you think of the definition my professor gave the class many, many years ago. Or, tell me what your definition is YA is! Keep in mind that this isn't graded, so there are no right or wrong answers! I just think it would be really interesting to see the book community's take on Young Adult Literature.


During the next Throwback Thursday: Lessons from a Past Erin, we'll be discussing characteristics of quality young adult literature. So think about some young adult novels or series that you consider quality, and we'll see how they stand up to the list that I have.

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