YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2012/2013


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The Ear, the Eye and the Arm
by Nancy Farmer


YAL Presenter Unit 2012/2013

Subjects: English
Grade Level: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th
Posted: 2012, CCSS, Common Core State Standards
Unit Created by: Beverly Rowls

What makes this a good YAL choice...

I love science fiction! I love mystery novels! I love learning about the diverse countries of Africa! Wow! What could be better than a book that combines all three?! Those were my thoughts when I found The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer. I started to read the book and became enthralled, then disillusioned, finally, thoughtfully critical. I observed stereotypes and negative illustrations about Zimbabwe and the Shone people. I felt it would be difficult to recommend this book given that I found it to be objectionable and provided a very distorted image of African people, even for science fiction. As I pondered these thoughts, it occurred to me that this would be a great opportunity to teach young adults to read with a discriminating eye, regardless to what they were reading. Young people need to question the texts they read. They need to be taught how to do this. Teachers need to be able to identify multicultural texts that may not be complimentary toward the minority group in the novels or short stories and teach their students how to read, and enjoy, such texts while maintaining a critical awareness of what was written. I enjoyed the book, especially after I read it from within the lens of critical literacy. There was action, intrigue, danger; there were strange people and places, magic, mile-high buildings, all the types of events to keep the reader on their toes and guessing what the final outcome would be. Placing a focus for the workshop on teaching how to read critically turned this book into one that I could recommend for discerning young adults. — Beverly Rowls


YAL Conference Workshop Description & Documents
Critical Considerations and Concerns in Selecting Multicultural Literature: The Ear, the Eye and the Arm
Beverly Rowls, Presenter

Kidnapped! Mystery and intrigue surround three siblings as they mature outside the watchful supervision of their overly protective parents. The actions of three, mutant detectives save the day! The past is mixed with the present as this story unfolds within a Zimbabwe of the distant future. In this workshop we will examine how mystery, science fiction, and critical literacy can be used to support the Common Core State Standards. We will explore: what negative and stereotypical views do we perpetuate in our selection of young adult literature, especially when using multicultural characters, locations and themes? Are we, as educators, delving deeply into the critical considerations and concerns found in all literature or only keeping the status quo alive? We will utilize strategies to closely examine issues of critical literacy, mystery, and point of view for the classroom. Join me as we deconstruct the less than pristine images of a futuristic Zimbabwe. — Workshop Description for YAL 2012


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