The Necessity of Young Adult Fiction: The Literary Agenda (Paperback)
Discusses how young adult fiction offers new ways of thinking about climate change and definitions of citizenship. The Necessity of Young Adult Fiction argues that YA fiction helps us to think about some of most pressing problems of the twenty-first century by offering imaginative reconceptualizations about identity, nation, family, and the human relationship to the planet. Using examples from YA fiction that range from the Harry Potter series to Nnedi Okorafor's trilogy set in contemporary Nigeria, this book argues that the cultural work of YA fiction shapes readers perceptions, making them receptive to--and invested in--the possibility of positive social change. The novels examined could all be considered "fantastical," but they offer insights into the real world that all readers--and particularly young adult readers--might draw on in order to reimagine social structures and the well-being of the planet. The book is designed to bring readers into the conversation about how we might create cosmopolitan societies that are shaped around conversation and engagement rather than fear and isolation. Each of these novels, in different ways, illustrate the dangers inherent in fundamentalist visions of the world. Through its discussions about the relationships between reading and citizenship, monsters and families, the local and the global, The Necessity of Young Adult Fiction demonstrates that YA fiction is doing some of the most important and creative work in literature today.
Deborah Lindsay Williams, Clinical Professor, Liberal Studies, New York University Professor Williams is a Clinical Professor in Liberal Studies at New York University. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Paris Review, Brevity, and The Common; she has published widely on children's literature and US women's writing, including her book Not in Sisterhood. With Cyrus RK Patell, she is co-editor of The Oxford History of the Novel in English, Volume Eight: US Literature Since 1940.