The Black Arts Movement and African American Young Adult Literature: An Evaluation of Narrative Style

In this article I question whether or not African American young adult literature serves as a primer for, and a version of, African American adult literature. Using the Black Aesthetic as my literary theory and the Coretta Scott King Award as the young adult canon, I note that while the content of adolescent literature is consistent with the tenets of the Black Aesthetic and African American adult literature, the literary elements and style are not. As such, young readers of African American young adult literature are not necessarily prepared for the literary elements and style of canonical African American adult literature. Further, I note that editors, publishers, and literary critics may contribute to the construction of young adult literature, in that editors may discourage authors from experimenting with form and style. Finally, I call for reorienting Black children’s and adolescent literature away from White literary elements and style and toward Black literary elements and style.

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Henderson, L. The Black Arts Movement and African American Young Adult Literature: An Evaluation of Narrative Style. Child Lit Educ 36, 299–323 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-005-8314-4

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Keywords

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award
  • African American young adult literature
  • narrative style