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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

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LIS 403/515 - Materials for Young Adults

Course Outline


Calendar Description:

Materials for young adults of junior and high school age, young adults’ reading interests, and current trends and issues in young adults’ literature.


Upon completion of the course a student should be able:

  1. To appreciate the significance of literature in the lives of young people.
  2. To apply criteria for the evaluation of literature in terms of literary merit, media format, and the developmental needs of young adults.
  3. To explore methods of reading guidance which stimulate contact with literature in all forms.
  4. To consider the priorities of programming for young adults. 


  1. The relationship between literature and the basic needs and interests of young adults.
  2. Some general types of literature such as adolescent novels, science fiction,  fantasy, adventure, mystery, historical fiction.
  3. Examples and issues involving texts in non-print media.
  4. Issues such as intellectual freedom, stereotyping, bias.
  5. The principles of evaluation essential to build and maintain library collections for young adults
  6. The professional literature and bibliographic tools for reviewing, selecting, and using literature with young adults.
  7. The essential components of programming and budgeting for programs for young adults. 


Course instruction will include lectures, assigned readings, and evaluation of texts for young adults in print and various media. Opportunities will be given for participation in oral and written presentations.

Course Relationships:

Elective course. Prerequisite: LIS 501.

Assignments and Evaluation

Winter 2010
Book talk and read-on list15%
Program development and funding 20%
Final paper or creative response30 %
Class contribution20 %
Details of these assignments, due dates, late penalties, etc. are attached. Raw scores (i.e. marks on assignments) are totalled at the end of the course and converted to the A-F letter grade scale, taking account of both absolute achievement and also relative performance in the class. Students in LIS 403 and LIS 515 will do related assignments but expectations and marking criteria will be different.

Tentative Timetable

LIS 403/515
Materials for Young Adults

Winter 2010

Tentative, provisional schedule

January 7, 2010                     introduction, course outline, etc.

January 14, 2010                   Topic:             books in a commercial world

Book:             Feed by M.T. Anderson

                                                Video:             The Merchants of Cool  (supplied in class)

Background:  “Assessing Adolescents’ Motivation to Read” by S.M. Pitcher et al.  Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 50(5), February 2007, 378-396

January 21, 2010                   Topics:                        books as commercial products
                                                                        series books

                                                Books:             Gossip Girl by Cicely von Ziegesar
Cathy’s Book by Sean Stewart & Jordan Weisman

Background:  “Commodities in Literature, Literature as Commodity:  A Close Look at the Gossip Girl Series.”  Amy Pattee.  Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 31(2), Summer 2006, 154-175.        

January 28, 2010                   Topics:                        classics and their many variations
                                                Book:              Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Background:   “Introduction.”  Charles H. Frey and Lucy Rollins.  In Classics of Young Adult Literature.  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2004, 1-13.

February 4, 2010                    Topics:            adolescents in communication
                                                                        social software and literature

                                                Books:             Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
                                                                        I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Background:   “Calling All Ye Printz and Printzesses.”  Marc Aronson.  Exploding the Myths:  The Truth about Teenagers and Reading.  Scarecrow Press, 2001, 109-122.

February 11, 2010                  Topics:                        graphic novels and picture books
                                                                        reading through adolescence

                                                Books:             The Arrival by Shaun Tan
                                                                        Blankets by Craig Thompson
                                                                        Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
                                                Background:   “What is Radical Change?  An Introduction.”  Eliza T. Dresang.  In Radical Change:  Books for Youth in a Digital Age.  New York:  H.W. Wilson, 1999, 3-16.

February 25, 2010                  Topic:             library programming/special school

Book:              The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Background:   “Maps.”  Patrick Jones. New Directions for Library Service to Young Adults.  Chicago:  American Library Association, 2002, 13-46.

March 4, 2010                        Topics:            becoming a citizen
Teen Advisory Boards

                                                Books:             Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
                                                                        American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Background:  “Funding Options for your Teen Library Advisory Program.”  Diane P. Tuccillo, Library Teen Advisory Groups.  VOYA Guides No. 2. Lanham MD:  Voya Books/Scarecrow Press, 2005, 13-24.

March 11, 2010                      Topics:                        realistic fiction
                                                                        grant proposals

                                                Books:             The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time
 Indian by Sherman Alexie
Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers                                               

Background:   “Money, Money, Money:  Taking the Pain
out of Grant Writing.”  Maxwell D. Jackson.  Teacher Librarian 32(3), February 2005, 16-21.

March 18, 2010                      Topics:                        evaluating new books
                                                                        selection issues

Books:             Half World by Hiromi Goto
                                                                        The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones

Background:  “Evaluating and Selecting Young Adult Literature.”  Katherine Bucher and M. Lee Manning. Young Adult Literature:  Exploration, Evaluation, and Appreciation.  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall, 2006, 23-54.

March 25, 2010                      Topics:                        poetry
                                                                        censorship vs. selection

                                                Books:             Ann and Seamus by Kevin Major
                                                                        So Cool by Dennis Lee
                                                                        Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shem

                                                Background:   “Queer Perspectives on Social
                                                Responsibility in Canadian Schools and Libraries: 
                                                Analysis and Resources.”  Alvin M. Schrader and
                                                Kristopher Wells. School Libraries in Canada 24(4), 1-10.

April 1, 2010                           Topics:                        historical fiction

                                                Books:             What I Was by Meg Rosoff
                                                                        The Landing by John Ibbitson
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
                                                Background:   “The Twentieth Century:  Giving Everybody a History.”  Fiona M. Collins & Judith Graham.  In Historical Fiction for Children:  Capturing the Past.  London, David Fulton, 2001, 10-22.

April 8, 2010                           Topics:                        adult reading for teens

                                                Book:              Fall by Colin McAdam

                                                Background:   “The Hole,” by Francis Spufford, from The
Child that Books Built.  London:  Faber & Faber, 2002, 149-211.         

Readings and Resources

LIS 403/515
Materials for Young Adults

Winter 2010

Tentative reading list

Books will be discussed in this order.  If you read ahead (a very good idea), take notes of your initial responses to each book for the purpose of contributing to class discussion.
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Gossip Girl by Cicely von Ziegesar
Cathy’s Book by Sean Stewart & Jordan Weisman
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
Half World by Hiromi Goto
The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones
Ann and Seamus by Kevin Major
So Cool by Dennis Lee
Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shem Salvadurai
What I Was by Meg Rosoff
The Landing by John Ibbitson
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Fall by Colin McAdam

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