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The Distant Mirror
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Young adult historical fiction brings the past alive through stories of adventure, suspense, and mystery. The genre is both complex and controversial, encompassing novels that range from romance and fantasy to stark historical realism. The book examines the various approaches to young adult historical fiction and explores the issues that it has engendered. Part One focuses on the broader issues spawned by the genre itself, including its various subgenres and literary concerns such as the relationship between accuracy and readability. Part Two explores issues of contemporary interest, such as race, class, gender, the immigrant experience, religion, war, and nationalism. Finally, the question of whether novels in this genre are bound by anything other than their respective period setting is posed. The genesis for much classroom debate, suggestions for class discussions and writing assignments as well as sample written responses of these debates from the authors' classes are included. Teachers, librarians, instructors of young adult literature courses, and teen readers will find this an insightful analysis of YA historical fiction.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Acknowledgments Part 2 Part I. Historical Fiction as Genre Chapter 3 1. Portraits of the Past Chapter 4 2. The Rise and Rise of Historical Fiction Chapter 5 3. The "Truth" of Young Adult Historical Fiction Part 6 Part II. Historical Fiction as Social Realism Chapter 7 4. More than Skin Deep Chapter 8 5. A Question of Faith Chapter 9 6. Class Matters Chapter 10 7. Sugar and (Lots of) Spice Chapter 11 8. The Beckoning Shores Chapter 12 9. Battle Cries Chapter 13 10. Conclusions Part 14 Appendix: Suggestions for Additional Reading Part 15 Bibliography Part 16 Index Part 17 About the Authors

About the Author

Joanne Brown is retired from her position as a professor of English at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she taught courses in writing fiction, American drama, and adolescent literature. Nancy St. Clair is an associate professor of English at Simpson College in Indianoloa, Iowa, where she has just completed a long term as chair of the English Department and served as the Director of the Cornerstone and Senior colloquium programs. Joanne Brown and Nancy St. Clair are also authors of Declarations of Independence: Empowered Girls in Young Adult Literature, 1990-2001 (Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2002).

Reviews

...a wealth of information...An admirable effort for academia. * School Library Journal, July 1, 2006 * ...a thoughtful discussion of the many issues within young adult historical fiction....The research and discussion in this title is thought provoking, well supported, and present both sides of the issues. Writers, serious historical fiction enthusiasts, scholars, and instructors of young adult literature courses will find this volume an excellent overview of the many issues and trends in historical fiction for young adults. * VOYA * Highly recommended. * CHOICE * Aimed at teachers and librarians, this text examines various approaches to young adult historical fiction. Early chapters address broader themes, such as the genre's psychological appeal and the problem of historical accuracy. Chapters in the second part of the volume explore how particular issues such as race, class, gender, and war are dealt with in these novels. * Reference and Research Book News * ...a wealth of information...An admirable effort for academia. School Library Journal, July 1, 2006 ...a thoughtful discussion of the many issues within young adult historical fiction...The research and discussion in this title is thought provoking, well supported, and present both sides of the issues. Writers, serious historical fiction enthusiasts, scholars, and instructors of young adult literature courses will find this volume an excellent overview of the many issues and trends in historical fiction for young adults. VOYA Highly recommended. CHOICE Aimed at teachers and librarians, this text examines various approaches to young adult historical fiction. Early chapters address broader themes, such as the genre's psychological appeal and the problem of historical accuracy. Chapters in the second part of the volume explore how particular issues such as race, class, gender, and war are dealt with in these novels. Reference and Research Book News

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