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Children's Literature: Issues, Trends & Appreciation

Instructor: Correne Constantino

Correne has been teaching for 15 years! She has experience in elementary, middle school, as well as, college level instruction. She has a Bachelor's Degree in elementary education and a Master's Degree in early literacy.

This lesson focuses on making literature recommendations for children and adolescents. This lesson focuses on strategies to help young people appreciate literature. It will also discuss how issues and trends can enhance opportunities to share and recommend literature to students.

Children's Literature: Trends & Issues

Current literature trends bring readers to books. Trends have the power to create lifelong readers. It is important, as educators, to know the current trends and be reading them, in order to recommend them to youth.

Children's Literature Trends

Series books are a trend that have been very popular for the past few years. Series books are an excellent teaching tool as well. Introducing kids to book one and helping them to build a relationship with the characters is a great foundation. Then, you can encourage them to continue reading the rest of the series. This helps to establish children as lifelong readers.

Kindness (fighting against bullying) is another current trend which is excellent for helping young readers build character traits. These books focus on being kind to others and describe what true friendship is.

Recreating of classics is another trend in literature (and movies) today. The world of children's literature is seeing a lot of older classics being recreated for today's readers. An example is the Nancy Drew series. This series is being rewritten and also created into graphic novels.

Graphic novels are an excellent teaching tool that can be considered a current trend. Graphic novels are full novels- they contain all of the components of a novel including setting, problem, solution, etc. However, they are written in comic book form. This allows children more success with completing a novel, while challenging readers with making inferences and comprehension challenges.

Children's Literature Issues

An issue that young children face is transitioning from the early/emergent stages of reading into chapter book reading. Children from first grade to third are the core age group for transitional literature. Children who are fluently reading early reader (leveled) books are used to big words, few words on pages, pictures, etc. However, when they pick up a novel there are often no pictures, long chapters, small print; this can be extremely overwhelming. A transitional book is a book designed to help ease young readers into chapter books. They have shorter chapters, larger words, some pictures, and topics that connect with the age group they are written for.

Some examples are:

Elephant & Piggie by Mo Willems

Geronimo Stilton series by Geronimo Stilton

The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne

Stink by Megan McDonald

Young Adult Literature: Trends & Issues

Young Adult Literature Trends

Series novels in young adult literature are a huge trend. Similar to children's books, they get a reader hooked and wanting more. The series book helps young readers to keep reading!

Fantasty novels are currently trending and have been since the world of Harry Potter in the 1990's. This genre is widespread and has topics for many young readers; most popular today are dystopian novels and time travel novels.

Realistic fiction is another poplular genre today, especially those focusing on sensitive issues (cancer, suicide, death, etc).

Young Adult Literature Issues

The trends of young adult literature bring on some issues that teachers and parents must contend with One trend deals with very sensitive issues that may be faced in the lives of a young person. Books like 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher that explore suicide can make for very sensitive discussion. Literature that addresses sensitive topics can be recommended to students who are mature enough to handle. Many young people look for books that show them that they are not alone. So a book dealing with suicide may be a tool for healing in the life of a young person contemplating suicide or dealing with a friend/family member who has commit suicide.

In choosing literature for our students or making book recommendations, we need to know our audience. When we know our students and what interests them (as well as their ability levels), we are much better equipped to hand them a book they will love. Thus allowing them to appreciate literature and become lifelong readers.

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