Names and Naming in Young Adult Literature

Overview

This book shows how authors of young adult literature use the creation of names for people, places, events, inventions, animals, and imaginary concepts as one of their most important literary techniques. Chapters address how authors use names to stretch readers' emotions, to reveal ethnic values and differences, to create "other worlds," and to establish tone. Other chapters focus on how authors use names to help readers remember who is who, such as J. K. Rowling in the Harry Potter books, or to communicate ...

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Names and Naming in Young Adult Literature

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Overview

This book shows how authors of young adult literature use the creation of names for people, places, events, inventions, animals, and imaginary concepts as one of their most important literary techniques. Chapters address how authors use names to stretch readers' emotions, to reveal ethnic values and differences, to create "other worlds," and to establish tone. Other chapters focus on how authors use names to help readers remember who is who, such as J. K. Rowling in the Harry Potter books, or to communicate separate messages to adults and to young readers, as exemplified by Richard Handler in the Lemony Snicket books. Names and Naming in Young Adult Literature equips readers with the interest and the skill to make similar observations about names and naming when they read other books. Looking at the names an author has chosen to use is a wonderful first step in introducing readers to the concept of literary criticism as something to help readers get more pleasure and information from their reading. Public and school librarians, college instructors of young adult literature, teachers of creative writing, high school English teachers, and anyone else who is interested in young adult literature will find this book extremely interesting.

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Editorial Reviews

Names: A Journal Of Onomastics
This book encourages critically reading a book to focus on the names and naming. Something else that makes this book valuable is the use of various text features. The bibliography at the end provides a listing of works by all of the authors cited, thereby giving the reader a useful guide. The chapter titles that include the names of the authors featured in the chapter help to insure focus. The bolded divisions within each chapter provide clarity. This book would be useful for anyone who is a fan of young adult or children’s literature and anyone who teaches young adult or children’s literature. Note that many of the authors and their books included by Nilsen and Nilsen are familiar and read by those younger than twelve- to eighteen-year-olds labeled here as young adults. Children who are ten and eleven read some of the books discussed, including A Series of Unfortunate Events, Catherine, Called Birdy, and certainly the entire Harry Potter series. Thus, the books cited in these eight chapters have a broad range. There is much to commend this book as a reference and as a pleasurable read.
Booklist
School, public, and academic libraries will find this title an asset.
CHOICE
This book offers an accessible, engaging, expansive overview of young adult fiction....Recommended.
Reference and Research Book News
Nilsen and Nilsen (English education and linguistics, Arizona State U.) examine how authors of young adult literature use naming as a literary technique. They discuss how names are used for fun and humor; to establish tone and mode, time periods, or realistic and imagined settings; to reveal ethnic values; to build an audience made up of different age groups; or as memory hooks. They present examples of books by authors such as J.K. Rowling, Maya Angelou, Amy Tan, Gary Paulsen, Karen Cushman, Gary Soto, Francesca Lia Block, Orson Scott Card, and Daniel Handler.
American Reference Books Annual
A well-paced discussion...Valuable.
Names: A Journal Of Onomastics
This book encourages critically reading a book to focus on the names and naming. Something else that makes this book valuable is the use of various text features. The bibliography at the end provides a listing of works by all of the authors cited, thereby giving the reader a useful guide. The chapter titles that include the names of the authors featured in the chapter help to insure focus. The bolded divisions within each chapter provide clarity. This book would be useful for anyone who is a fan of young adult or children’s literature and anyone who teaches young adult or children’s literature. Note that many of the authors and their books included by Nilsen and Nilsen are familiar and read by those younger than twelve- to eighteen-year-olds labeled here as young adults. Children who are ten and eleven read some of the books discussed, including A Series of Unfortunate Events, Catherine, Called Birdy, and certainly the entire Harry Potter series. Thus, the books cited in these eight chapters have a broad range. There is much to commend this book as a reference and as a pleasurable read.
Choice
This book offers an accessible, engaging, expansive overview of young adult fiction....Recommended.
American Reference Books Annual (ARBA)
A well-paced discussion...Valuable.
Rebecca Sheridan
The test is written in a scholarly style....This volume offers an interesting exploration of the use of this literary device for teachers of teen literature and for librarians who share books with teens.
School Library Journal

The authors observe that teens in the process of developing their identities often experiment with names, manipulating and creating them as a way of presenting their individuality to others. Here, they examine contemporary authors who use names as a literary technique. They cite as examples M. E. Kerr, Gary Paulsen, and Polly Horvath, who use them to evoke humor, while Robert Cormier treated them as an expression of tone in several works. The Nilsens also look at the naming devices used by Karen Cushman, Gary Soto, Adam Rapp, Nancy Farmer, Orson Scott Card, Ursula K. Le Guin, Sandra Cisneros, Maya Angelou, Cynthia Kadohata, and Sherman Alexie, among others, to show how they establish time periods or settings, or reveal ethnic values. The text is written in a scholarly style for readers interested in teaching and sharing literature with young adults. Although some sources are mentioned in the text, the addition of footnotes citing all of the sources would clarify references. Still, this volume offers an interesting exploration of the use of this literary device for teachers of teen literature and for librarians who share books with teens.
—Rebecca SheridanCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Alleen Pace Nilsen and Don L. F. Nilsen are professors of English at Arizona State University, where Alleen specializes in English education and Don specializes in linguistics. They are longtime members of the American Name Society and are co-presidents of the organization through 2008. Alleen is a founding member of ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English).

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Introduction: Names and Naming in Young Adult Literature Part 2 Chapter 1: Names for Fun: M. E. Kerr, Gary Paulsen, Louis Sachar, and Polly Horvath Part 3 Chapter 2: Names to Establish Tone and Mode: Robert Cormier and Francesca Lia Block Part 4 Chapter 3: Names to Establish Time Periods: Karen Cushman and Her Historical Fiction Part 5 Chapter 4: Names to Establish Realistic Settings: Gary Soto, Adam Rapp, Meg Rosoff, and Nancy Farmer Part 6 Chapter 5: Names to Establish Imagined Settings: Yann Martel, Orson Scott Card, and Ursula K. Le Guin Part 7 Chapter 6: Names to Reveal Ethnic Values: Amy Tan, Sandra Cisernos, Maya Angelou, Cynthia Kadohata, Sherman Alexie, and Others Part 8 Chapter 7: Names to Build a Dual Audience: Daniel Handler and the Lemony Snicket Books Part 9 Chapter 8: Names as Memory Hooks: J. K. Rowling and the Harry Potter Books Part 10 Bibliography Part 11 Index Part 12 About the Authors

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