I am pleased to announce the publication of a special themed issue of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA). Volume 10, Issue 1 features three papers that examined movements that affect teens through the lens of literature, and how literature reflects certain movements.
In the first part of a two-part series, Kasey L. Garrison examined the portrayals of various facets of culture in a sample of teen literature from two Australian book awards in her article, “What’s Going on Down Under? Part 1: Portrayals of Culture in Award-Winning Australian Young Adult Literature.” Garrison found that the most prevalent cultural theme was gender, which was situated in stories that focused on issues of harassment or body image. From her analysis and discussion of culture in this sample, Garrison concluded that Australian literature for teens holds a great deal of potential to serve as the impetus for discussions about social justice issues and movements such as the #metoo movement.
Responding to the increasing number of books for teens being published about people with mental illness, Diane Scrofano explored how the narratives of characters with mental illness are being situated. In her article, “Disability Narrative Theory and Young Adult Fiction of Mental Illness,” Scrofano used the narrative categories of restitution, chaos, and quest narratives to understand how characters with mental illness were being portrayed in 50 novels for teens. Scrofano discusses the implications of each narrative category and recommends that librarians and educators try to share more stories of mental illness in which characters have full and meaningful lives beyond their illnesses.
In her paper, “One, Two, Three, Four! We Don’t Want Your F**king War! The Vietnam Antiwar Movement in Young Adult Fiction,” Deborah Wilson Overstreet examined the depictions of the anti-Vietnam War movement in young adult novels, through the lens of three distinct narrative structures. Her findings suggest that the ways in which this sample of books depicts the responses of and to the anti-war movement, may not align with the historical record. Wilson Overstreet concluded her research by discussing the importance of providing today’s teen readers with accurate depictions of activism in order to help readers understand how they can effectively make their voices heard.
JRLYA is YALSA’s open-access, peer-reviewed research journal, located at: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya. Its purpose is to enhance the development of theory, research, and practice to support young adult library services. JRLYA presents original research concerning: 1) the informational and developmental needs of teens; 2) the management, implementation, and evaluation of young adult library services; and 3) other critical issues relevant to librarians who work with teens. Writer’s guidelines are located at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/author-guidelines/.
Robin A. Moeller, editor, JRLYA