Mixed Heritage in Young Adult Literature

Mixed Heritage in Young Adult Literature

The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
March 2009
272 pages
Cloth ISBN: 0-8108-5969-6; ISBN-13: 978-0-8108-5969-2

Nancy Thalia Reynolds

Mixed-heritage people are one of the fastest-growing groups in the United States, yet culturally they have been largely invisible, especially in young adult literature. Mixed Heritage in Young Adult Literature is a critical exploration of how mixed-heritage characters (those of mixed race, ethnicity, religion, and/or adoption) and real-life people have been portrayed in young adult fiction and nonfiction.

This is the first in-depth, broad-scope critical exploration of this subgenre of multicultural literature. Following an introduction to the topic, author Nancy Thalia Reynolds examines the portrayal of mixed-heritage characters in literary classics by James Fenimore Cooper, Mark Twain, and Zora Neale Hurston—staples of today’s high school English curriculum—along with other important authors. It opens up the discussion of young-adult racial and ethnic identity in literature to recognize—and focus on—those whose heritage straddles boundaries. In this book teachers will find new tools to approach race, ethnicity, and family heritage in literature and in the classroom.  This book also helps librarians find new criteria with which to evaluate young adult fiction and nonfiction with mixed-heritage characters.

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