I read my first Jane Austen novel after watching the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. From there I read the other books – and watched various movie adaptations of each. Movie adaptations are often used in schools a culminating activity, with some sort of compare contrast note-taking work. The thing is, a good adaptation can help readers before they tackle the original, giving them the sense of the plot and characters, as well as the big ideas the work addresses.
Some recent graphic novels can serve the same purpose – giving readers access to a work of literature before they tackle the original – whether for school or for pleasure.
It’s the biggest news in publishing since the Gutenberg Bible: Harper Lee is releasing a “sequel” to To Kill a Mockingbird.
TKAM was once part of a longer novel entitled Go Set a Watchman, which is about a grown-up Scout living in New York. In it, Scout returns to Maycomb, Alabama, to visit her father.Upon reading the manuscript, Lee’s editor advised her to focus on the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood experiences, and thus a Pulitzer Prize winner was born. The discovery of Go Set a Watchman and its upcoming publication gives readers the opportunity to find out what happened later to Scout and Atticus.
To Kill a Mockingbird was made into a movie in 1962, establishing actor Gregory Peck as the embodiment of Atticus Finch. The movie came with the warning, “Not Suitable for Children,” despite the fact that three of the characters, Scout, Jem, and Dill were actual children. As New York Times critic Bosley Crowther wrote: “And for a fair spell it looks as though maybe we are going to be squeezed inside the skin of Scott and Jem as they go racing and tumbling around the neighborhood…. It is when the drama develops along the conventional line of a social crisis in the community—the charging of a Negro with the rape of a white woman—that the children are switched to the roles of lookers-on.”
The charming story of children living in small town Alabama becomes an examination of subjects considered extremely taboo in the mid-twentieth century. There was the intimation of sex between a white woman and a black man, as well as the possibility of incest and child abuse. Maycomb’s inhabitants are exposed as vicious bigots.
October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Lana Gorlinski.
As hard as it is for a bookworm like myself to fathom, many teenagers simply don’t like to read. I know many of the type, and they have a variety of reasons for not enjoying books–they’d rather watch the movie, they find it tedious and can’t sit still for that long, they’d simply rather do other things with their time. Yet I’ve found that most people who “don’t like reading” actually just don’t like the books they’ve read. Indeed, if all I had read growing up were the asinine required reading pieces I was presented with, I too may have learned to loathe the activity. But I’m of the opinion that one can’t hate the act of reading itself, because it’s not a hobby so much as it is a medium for absorbing information of all kinds; saying one hates reading as a whole is just as ludicrous as saying one hates all of music, television, or the internet. Because just as there’s a music or movie genre for every taste, so too exists a near-infinite number of book genres to suit even the most finicky of readers. Below, I’ve listed a variety of books that even the most adamant non-readers should enjoy:
If you can’t put down the video games: Try an action-packed science fiction novel, like Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card! Set in a distant-future Earth, young Ender Wiggins finds himself selected for training in zero gravity to learn how to fight against the alien Buggers that are attacking the earth. Besides the usual awesomeness that comes with aliens and outer space, this quick-paced read is also chock full of action and interesting military strategy at every turn of the page. What next: The Maze Runner by James DashnerContinue reading The Best Books for Non-Readers
October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Bella Cavicchi from Massachusetts.
Asking an avid reader to name their favorite novel usually doesn’t end with a single answer. When I must list my favorite book, though, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the first stories that comes to mind. I love everything about the novel, from Atticus’ words of wisdom to the mysterious background of Boo Radley, and it’s the classic I happily recommend the most.
Once you finish TKM, however, you may wonder what book to turn to next. Here’s a handy-dandy guide of To Kill a Mockingbird read-alikes, novels that share a similar element or theme with Harper Lee’s book. Whether you just recently shared in Scout’s story or haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird for years, I encourage you to give it a second look â€“ and with one of these new novels in hand! Continue reading To Kill a Mockingbird Read-alikes
October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Alyssa Finfer from New Jersey.
Let’s play a game. I’ll list some books, and you tell me which one doesn’t belong.
The Catcher in the Rye
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Hunger Games
I bet most of you picked the last one. Why? These books are all well written and powerful, and I bet many of you have read most or all of them, some even multiple times (I admit I have). Because of their popularity, Hollywood has made movie versions of all of them, though some are admittedly better than others. Despite this, people traditionally study the first four in English class at some point in high school or college, but rarely the last one. Also, even though all these books fit the definition of young adult literature, â€œliterature for and about the young adult,â€ you won’t find the first four in the YA section in Barnes and Noble. What’s up with that? Continue reading The Fault in Our Novels
From dystopian futures, to political protest, to legal disputes, YA literature is full of stories about fighting the rules and even laws. This post rounds up some of the best examples of teens winning these battles in YA literature across genres and time periods. Find a book that will inspire you to stand up for your beliefs.
Many dystopian novels are at their core about teens fighting unjust governments. From The Giver by Lois Lowry to Divergent by Veronica Roth (both of which happen to have been made into movies this year), these stories often center around teens who discover the dark side of their society and decide that they are willing to risk it all to fight for their beliefs and for justice.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2009 Best Books for Young Adults) – Set in a near future where a terrorist attack prompts an increase in government surveillance, both this book and its sequel, Homeland, show teens fighting back against the government and standing up for their rights. Teens who are interested in hacking will particularly enjoy this one since the main character is a hacker who uses his skills to take down those more powerful than he is.
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson – Set in a far future Brazil, The Summer Prince tackles issues relating to relationships, art, technology, and government control through the story of June Costa, a young artist living in a society that is divided by class, gender, and technology use. Johnson has created a world that feels completely foreign while still being wholly believable and fans of science fiction will enjoy getting lost in it. Continue reading I Fought the Law and I Won: Taking a Stand in YA Lit
Women’s History Month is celebrated during March, and there’s a lot of information about strong, motivated, amazing women in history being shared right now. We have strong, motivated, amazing female characters in YA literature, too, and even though they aren’t real, they do influence readers. Here’s a list of five female characters I admire in Young Adult Literature. You may agree with some, you may heartily disagree with others, so feel free to add to the discussion in the comments! (Also, there are spoilers ahead, so be warned!)
5. Bella Swan in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I know a lot of people cannot stand Bella and believe she is a whiny, annoying, weak example of womanhood, but I honestly do not think anyone gives Bella enough credit. To begin with, she is the level headed parent figure in both of her relationships with her actual parents. When thrust into a supernatural world where death seems to come after her at every turn, she is more concerned with saving and protecting her family and friends than she is with protecting herself- and her friends include vampires and werewolves who can take care of themselves very well. Bella makes some boneheaded decisions, but she’s always true to herself, and while she’s not the most kick-butt female on this list in a physical sense, I think she has both an inner strength and a loving heart that are admirable. (Twilight is a 2006 Teens’ Top Ten winner.) Continue reading Different Types of Strong: Female Characters in YA Lit