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Young Adult Literature

For the young of heart...and book.

Wait, what? A young adult lit course for high school?

That's right. All of our favorite Shmoopers are young at heart, and we wanted to reward you by reopening the door to your favorite YA titles. We'll revisit six classic stories, looking at all of them through the lens of communication. So put the children and adults to bed, and channel your inner young adult—it's time to burn the midnight oil, YA-style.

Course Breakdown

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Unit 1. A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

Through The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, we'll think about the power of pictures to communicate complex thoughts, ideas, and emotions. We'll also be taking some time to consider all sorts of other big-picture stuff: cultural stereotypes, the struggle between the needs of one person and the needs of a community, and people's fear of "the Other."

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Unit 2. Words Will Set You Free

As we read The House on Mango Street, we'll focus on written communication. The book may be short, but it has a lot to say about how we say things.

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Unit 3. Finding Your Voice

As we follow Melinda through her freshman year at Merryweather High School in Speak, we're going to think about another means of communication: oral. Yep, that's the spoken stuff.

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Unit 4. Good, Evil, and the Power of Words

The Book Thief will bring on more tough stuff, forcing us to think about what happens when our communication is squelched by others. We'll also dig deeper into those Universal Themes you love so much.

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Unit 5. The Absence of Words & The End

Author Terry Trueman, whose son, Sheehan, has a severe condition that prevents him from communicating, wrote a novella called Stuck in Neutral. So we're going to finish up our YA Lit course on communication with a character who can't communicate? You betcha.


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  • Course Length: 17 weeks
  • Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10
  • Course Type: Elective
  • Category:
    • English
    • Literature

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