Teaching Challenged and Challenging Topics in Diverse and Inclusive Literature : Addressing the Taboo in the English Classroom book cover
1st Edition

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

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after January 31, 2023
ISBN 9781032283029
January 31, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
220 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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 K-12 teachers and scholars who have used 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-sensitive practices; and critical, historical, and racial literacy, this text explores the ways in which books with complex 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 challenging topics. As literature that addresses difficult topics 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.

Table of Contents



Stergios Botzakis


Rachelle Savitz, Leslie Roberts, and Jason DeHart

Section 1

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

Jean Carlos Garcia Reyes, Beth Buchholz

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

Kate Bentley, Amy Broemmel, M. Chris Douglass

Chapter 3 Sliding the Glass Door: Making Time and Space for Difficult Conversations with Youth through Multivoiced Young Adult Literature

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

Section 2

Chapter 4 Exploring Gender Identity and Equity through Lily and Dunkin

Jennifer Dail, Julie Koch, Shelbie Witte, Lauren Vandever

Chapter 5 Remixing for Relevance: Talking Gentrification in Pride

Brooke Bianchi Pennington, Arianna Banack

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

Lauren Popov, Renee Stites Kruep

Chapter 7 Curating the Socially Just Classroom Library in the Middle

Kristie W. Smith, Erica Adela Warren

Section 3


Chapter 8 ‘I don’t understand, I don’t speak Spanish’: Exploring Linguistic and Cultural

Differences through Picturebooks

Julia López-Robertson, Rocio Herron

Chapter 9 Combating Ableism with Classroom Literature

Emily Poynter, Rachelle S. Savitz

Chapter 10: Engaging Dynamic Discussions

K.N., H.S., Amanda Carter

Chapter 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

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

Rebecca Harper, Alicia Stevenson


Kimberly N. Parker

Contributor Biographies

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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 is Assistant Professor of Reading Education at Appalachian State University, USA.