Adolescents in the Search for Meaning: Tapping the Powerful Resource of Story

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Overview

As is painfully evident from the reports of school shootings, gang violence, dysfunctional family life, and from statistics on adolescent suicide, many teens live troubled lives. Even those who live a "normal" life still face the challenges adults face, but teens are also engaged in establishing independence and finding their identity. However, few adolescents have the same resources as adults for surviving life challenges. Building from the idea that story is a powerful source of meaning, particularly those stories that resonate with our own lives, this book suggests that the stories of other young adults offer a resource yet to be fully tapped. Adolescents in the Search for Meaning begins from the perspective of young adults by sharing the results of a survey of over 1400 teens and also includes the insights of authors of Young Adult Literature. The book presents over 120 novels that teens have identified as meaningful as well as books recommended by YA authors and experts in the field of YA literature. For any teacher, librarian, parent or counselor wanting to reach young adults, this book is ideal.
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Editorial Reviews

Teacher Librarian
Bottom line: Recommended.
Reference and Research Book News
Here Warner (adult and children's literature, San José State U.) offers both the results of a survey of 1400 teens and a list of over 120 books they say have been meaningful in their time of life. Along with a very interesting report on the readings teenagers said helped them Warner shares how much authors of young adult literature care about their readers and reviews of books about real-life experiences, facing death and loss, identity, discrimination, struggles with decisions, courage and survival, allegory, fantasy, myth and parable.
August 2006 Reference and Research Book News
Here Warner (adult and children's literature, San José State U.) offers both the results of a survey of 1400 teens and a list of over 120 books they say have been meaningful in their time of life. Along with a very interesting report on the readings teenagers said helped them Warner shares how much authors of young adult literature care about their readers and reviews of books about real-life experiences, facing death and loss, identity, discrimination, struggles with decisions, courage and survival, allegory, fantasy, myth and parable.
VOYA
This professional resource documents a research study conducted by the author to discover whether young adult literature has a positive and meaningful impact on teens by providing them with stories that can "heal, teach, motivate, and transform" their lives. The author surveyed approximately 1,400 teens to ascertain the major issues that affected their lives and whether books were helpful in coping with these issues. In addition, the author contacted seventeen authors of young adult literature to query them as to why they felt young adult literature was important and what their experiences have been as both readers and authors of young adult literature. The book is divided into two parts. The first documents the research findings, and the second compiles lists of recommended books under five different subject themes that teens identified as important to them, including real life experiences and exploration of identity. There is a brief annotation for each suggested book, a list of teaching ideas and resources, and the author's rationale for recommending the book to teens. Warner offers an important study documenting the power of young adult literature to provide assistance to teens coping with the myriad issues related to adolescence. The author would have done well to summarize her research findings rather than documenting them so extensively-busy librarians are hardly likely to wade through all this material. The book is more an academic text than a practical readers' advisory resource, although educators and school librarians will find the teaching ideas and resources useful. 2006, Scarecrow Press, 336p.; Index. Charts. Biblio. Appendix., $45 pb. Ages adult professional.
—Jan Chapman
School Library Journal
Warner argues that adolescent literature can act as a means of support for young people as they face what she calls the "major issues" of teen life. This is not a new argument, but she goes further with her claim as she attempts to solicit information from young people about the issues they face and connect these findings with similarly themed fiction. While this subject-related correspondence seems to be the primary criteria she uses for recommending powerful literature for teens, she also draws from the literary recommendations of teens themselves. According to Warner's findings, teens look first to parents, siblings, grandparents, or relatives, then to friends and peers. Very few report seeking guidance from books, journaling, or magazines. Roughly 50 percent of her respondents report that no book has helped them. In spite of this disheartening response, the author takes pains to include teens' own recommendations within the second half of her book, which annotates titles by category. While the bibliographic component does, to some degree, reinvent the wheel, Warner's research findings could inform and direct youth services librarians and teachers.-Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810854307
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/3/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary L. Warner has been teaching English to adolescents for almost thirty-one years. She currently teaches Young Adult and Children's Literature at San José State University, where she also works with the English Credential Programs and serves as Associate Director of the San José Area Writing Project. She has published numerous articles on Literature as a Source of Meaning for teens and adults and is the editor (and author of two chapters) of Winning Ways of Teaching Writing: A Practical Guide for Teaching Writing Grades 7-12.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Foreword Part 2 Preface: The Power of Story Part 3 Acknowledgments Part 4 Introduction: Contemporary Realities Part 5 Part 1: Introduction Chapter 6 1. Young Adults Sharing Their Perspectives Chapter 7 2. Young Adults Sharing Reading Choices Chapter 8 3. Young Adult Authors Describe Their Commitment to Adolescents Part 9 Part 2: Recommendations Chapter 10 4. Books about Real-Life Experiences Chapter 11 5. Books about Facing Death and Loss Chapter 12 6. Books about Identity, Discrimination, and Struggles with Decisions Chapter 13 7. Books about Courage and Survival Chapter 14 8. Books on Allegory, Fantasy, Myth, and Parable Part 15 Appendix: Cross-Index of Books, Alphabetized by Author Part 16 Bibliography Part 17 Author and Title Index Part 18 Subject Index Part 19 About the Author
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