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Title:#BlackBoyYALit: Seeing Black boys in 21st century young adult literature
Author(s):Williams, De Anza
Director of Research:Tilley, Carol L
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Tilley, Carol L
Doctoral Committee Member(s):McDowell, Kate; Moeller, Karla J; Magee, Rachel M
Department / Program:Information Sciences
Discipline:Library & Information Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):African American culture
African American male teens in youth literature
African American young adult fiction
authors and trade publishing
cultural authenticity
Abstract:My dissertation investigated how African American male teens are portrayed in contemporary realistic fiction books published for young adults from 2000 to 2017. Educators and librarians’ value young adult literature not only for its role in developing adolescent literacy, but also for its ability to help teens to affirm their identities, observe how others deal with problems, and connect emotionally or psychologically with characters. Yet for more than two decades, African American male teens have underperformed on tests of reading proficiency. Researchers such as Feger (2006), McCullough (2008), and Tatum (2005; 2009) suggest that if African American male teens had access to more books that were culturally specific and relevant to their lives, their reading performance might be improved. Using qualitative content analysis, this study explores: (1) the characteristics of African American male teen protagonists in young adult fiction (2) the subject matter of the novels as well as their cultural relevancy and (3) who are the producers (the authors and the publishers) of contemporary realistic fiction featuring African American male teen protagonists through the lens of critical race theory. Through answering these questions, this study provides insight into the presentations of race and gender of Black male teen characters in 21st century young adult literature.
Issue Date:2021-04-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 DeAnza Williams
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17
Date Deposited:2021-05

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