Say YA to Reading - National Council of Teachers of English
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Say YA to Reading

Say YA to ReadingWe hope you’ll join us this Sunday, September 20th at 8 PM ET for #nctechat on Twitter. Our topic will revolve around young adult literature, which is the theme of this year’s Banned Books Week. The chat will be hosted by celebrated YA author Matt de la Peña and ALAN president-elect, Jennifer Buehler. In the course of our hour-long conversation we’ll explore ideas such as:

  • Building teacher capacity for being proactive about censorship
  • Creating classroom environments where the hunger to read is omnipresent
  • The methods teachers/librarians use for selecting YA lit to put in their classrooms/libraries
  • How censorship is often linked with diversity

Check back in a few days for the full list of questions. Below you’ll find a glimpse into the way our hosts think about the critical role of YA literature in students’ lives:

Matt de la Peña

(The following is an excerpt from the NPR article “Sometimes the ‘Tough Teen’ is Quietly Writing Stories“)

Matt de la Pena“Today when I write my own novels, I try to craft the best possible stories, and I certainly aim to be entertaining, but I’m also conscious of the powerful function literature can serve — especially in the lives of kids growing up the way I did. My goal as a writer is to recede into the background, allowing readers to fully participate. I want them to be able to watch the characters and listen to conversations and be free to form judgments of their own. I believe it’s in this space that young readers acquire experience with complex emotions like empathy and sensitivity, which makes them more likely to be in tune with emotional nuance out in the real world.”

Jennifer Buehler

(The following is an excerpt from the Text Messages podcast, episode 30: Censorship and Your Freedom to Read)

Jennifer Buehler “When we censor kids’ stories, we teach them to go behind our backs.  To restrict access to a controversial book is to guarantee that many young people are going to make a point of tracking down that book.  Adults can welcome conversations that such books might foster, or they can send those conversations underground.”

We hope you’ll take this conversation above ground and join us for #nctechat this Sunday at 8 PM ET.

To learn more about censorship, intellectual freedom, and young adult literature, visit:
Banned Books Week
NCTE Intellectual Freedom Center
NCTE Guideline: The Students’ Right to Read
Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE
ALA Frequently Challenged Books List