Jim Blasingame

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R eading Latino/a children’s literature has become a great passion and an important component of my work as an educator. The journey began while looking for children’s literary texts that somehow speak about aspects of my Puerto Rican/Latina identity and those communities close to mine. I was looking for personal and literary growth but also for ways in(More)
A brief return to the high school classroom in 2004 provided me with the opportunity to teach young adult literature for the first time in my career. In the six years I taught English and reading, from 1996 to 2002, I only used classic works—Great Expectations, A Separate Peace, Romeo and Juliet, etc. It wasn’t that I didn’t like or want to teach young(More)
Despite research and anecdotal evidence suggesting the value of young adult literature in the school setting, the genre continues to be marginalized and avoided in many classrooms (Glenn, 2007; Baker, 2002; Bean & Moni, 2003; Cadden, 2000; Emge, 2006; Moorman, 2008; Stevens & Bean, 2007). Arguments surrounding issues of literary quality, controversial(More)
normalcy. She knows it, flaunts it, and demands it. She wants to stir her audience out of any sense of complacency, lest we miss the significance of her story. Her tale is one of survival in the midst of war, a familiar theme in young adult literature. This novel, however, explores not the past experiences of war, but the ways in which war might impact life(More)
F or ten years I was an 11thand 12th-grade English teacher at a K–12, fully inclusive, public school. Our mission was to respect the individuality of every student, to promote each child as capable and unique, and to hold all students accountable for their personal best. Classrooms were integrated with mixed-abilities from several cultural backgrounds(More)
Janet’s (all names are pseudonyms) first response while reading Inexcusable by Chris Lynch was blunt, but was the kind of direct response I hoped “This book is messed up!” Janet exclaimed as she walked into my classroom. I followed her as she proceeded to take her place in the back of the class. “Wait a minute,” I said, “what does messed up mean?” “You know(More)
W hile the affirmation of nontraditional families may be a hallmark of much contemporary YA fiction, it is particularly complicated in the case of one popular subgenre: the teen pregnancy and parenting novel. Here, the compulsion to honor adolescent readers’ diverse family relationships—and to tell the truth about the variety of their lived(More)
In both Izzy, Willy-Nilly (Cythnia Voigt, 1986) and The Crazy Horse Electric Game (Chris Crutcher, 1987), the teen protagonists face the life-altering Against her better judgment, fifteen-year-old Izzy let Marco drive her home from the football team’s post-game party even though he had been “swilling beers” all night. Once she got into the car with him,(More)
In “The Death of Genre: Why the Best YA fiction Often Defies Classification” (The ALAN Review, 35.1: 43-50), Scot Smith speaks of having to constantly reclassify and reshuffle texts as he and his students consider the books on the genre lists used in his classes. Knowing that “Young adult literature has a long tradition of authors whose works defy genre(More)