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Adolescent lit class begins tomorrow

Lolly’s children’s literature class at the Harvard Graduate School of Education wrapped up in December with lively discussion and debate in their Mock Awards committees, a terrific culminating event. Tomorrow, adolescent lit begins, and we’ll continue to hold our class book discussions out in the open here and invite you all to join the conversation.

Winnowing a list to only 6 weeks of reading is quite a challenge; I hope this selection prompts both rich discussion and further exploration. We start off with two books sure to garner keen response— Rainbow Rowell’s nontraditional romance Eleanor and Park and E. Lockhart’s heady novel We Were Liars.  We won’t require the students to comment on these books here because they have only just signed up for the class, but feel free to tell us what you think of them here or share any classroom experiences. No spoilers, please!

Here’s the complete reading list for the class. Some weeks they are choosing books from this list rather than reading all of them.

January 24, 2017 (first class, intro to adolescent lit)

  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell


January 31 (windows and mirrors)

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson


February 7 (historical fiction and information books)

  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

  • Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steven Sheinkin

  • No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

  • Claudette Colvin by Phillip Hoose

  • Marching For Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge


February 14 (fantasy and sci fi)

  • Feed by M. T. Anderson

  • Far Far Away by Tom McNeal


February 28 (illustrated books)

  • The Arrival by Shaun Tan

  • The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sís

  • Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang

  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki


March 7 (last class, dessert)

  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead


I hope you will join us discussing these titles. We count on you blog readers outside the class to enrich our discussions. The more, the merrier — and meatier.

Happy reading!
Lauren Adams
Lauren Adams
Lauren Adams teaches English and ELL at Natick High School and adolescent literature at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Formerly a Senior Editor for The Horn Book Magazine, she regularly contributes book reviews.

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