1st Edition

Teaching Challenged and Challenging Topics in Diverse and Inclusive Literature Addressing the Taboo in the English Classroom

    218 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This groundbreaking text provides practical, contextualized methods for teaching and discussing topics that are considered "taboo" in the classroom in ways that support students’ lived experiences. In times when teachers are scapegoated for adopting culturally sustaining teaching practices and are pressured to "whitewash" the curriculum, it becomes more challenging to create an environment where students and teachers can have conversations about complex, uncomfortable topics in the classroom. With contributions from scholars and K-12 teachers who have used young adult literature to engage with their students, chapters confront this issue and focus on themes such as multilingualism, culturally responsive teaching, dis/ability, racism, linguicism, and gender identity. Using approaches grounded in socioemotional learning, trauma-informed practices, and historical and racial literacy, this text explores the ways in which books with complicated themes can interact positively with students’ own lives and perspectives.

    Ideal for courses on ELA and literature instruction, this book provides a fresh set of perspectives and methods for approaching and engaging with difficult topics. As young adult literature that addresses difficult subjects is more liable to be considered "controversial" to teach, teachers will benefit from the additional guidance this volume provides, so that they can effectively reach the very students these themes address.

    Foreword: The Necessity of Teaching Taboo Topics

    Stergios Botzakis


    Rachelle S. Savitz, Leslie D. Roberts, and Jason DeHart


    1 Un Maravilloso, Dual-Language Read Aloud: Making Families Visible Through Testimony in the Primary Classroom

    Beth A. Buchholz and Jean Carlos Garcia Reyes

    2 What Makes You Unique?: Valuing Classroom Diversity Within Writing Instruction

    Kate Bentley, Amy Broemmel, and M. Chris Douglass

    3 Sliding the Glass Door: Making Time and Space for Difficult Conversations With Youth Through Multivoiced Young Adult Literature

    Heather Waymouth, Keith Newvine, Sarah Fleming, Pamela Margolis, Sarah Mellon, and Tina Middaugh


    4 Exploring Gender Identity and Equity Through Lily and Dunkin

    Jennifer S. Dail, Julie M. Koch, Shelbie Witte, and Lauren Vandever

    5 Remixing for Relevance: Talking Gentrification in Pride

    Brooke Bianchi-Pennington and Arianna Banack

    6 Layering Discourse: Encouraging Diverse Perspectives in a High School Literature Class

    Renee Stites Kruep and Lauren Popov

    7 Curating Socially Just Classroom Libraries for Middle Grade Readers

    Kristie W. Smith and Erica Adela Warren


    8 ‘I Don’t Understand, I Don’t Speak Spanish’: Exploring Linguistic and Cultural Differences Through Picture Books

    Julia López-Robertson and Maria del Rocio Herron

    9 Combating Ableism With Classroom Literature

    Emily Poynter and Rachelle S. Savitz

    10 Engaging Dynamic Discussions Through Storytelling

    K. N., H. S., Amanda Carter, and Nayelee Villanueva

    11 Cultivating Students’ Civic Agency Through Participation in a Social Justice-Themed Book Club as a Subversive Approach to Critical Literacy in Education

    Elizabeth E. Schucker

    12 Scattering Stars: Graphic Novel Book Studies With Middle Grades Students to Explore Refugee Stories

    Rebecca Harper and Alicia Stephenson

    Afterword: On Taboos and Teaching Them Anyway

    Kimberly N. Parker


    Rachelle S. Savitz is Associate Professor of Reading/Literacy at East Carolina University, USA.

    Leslie D. Roberts is Assistant Professor of Reading at Georgia Southern University, USA.

    Jason DeHart received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA.