Teaching Reading with YA Literature

Hi. I’m Cathy Fleischer. I’m the editor of the Principles in Practice
Imprint for the National Council of Teachers of English books. And we’re happy today, because we’re going
to talk about Jennifer Buehler’s new book, Teaching Reading with YA Literature: Complex
Texts, Complex Lives. We’re really delighted that Jennifer is here. Jennifer is a professor at St. Louis University,
she’s president of ALAN. For many years she’s done Text Messages through
ReadWriteThink, which are wonderful podcasts about young adult literature and we are delighted
that this book is out. So, welcome for this. Jennifer has brought along a couple of her
friends, which we’re also super excited about. We have Matt de la Peña who is the author
of so many young adult books as well as a children’s book that won the Newbery award
last year. Congratulations on that, it’s a beautiful
book. And A.S. King, who again is the author of
many young adult books and so many honors that you have as well, but one, an Amelia
Elizabeth Walden Award. So this is great. I’m super excited to have them here because
if I could name my two favorite young adult authors they are right in the room with me
so really happy about this. I grew up as a reader of young adult literature,
those books meant a lot to me and they really helped me to think about the world and myself
and they were not the books that I read in school. I felt that I got permission to bring those
books into my classroom as an early career teacher when I read Linda Rief and Nancy Atwell. But like Rief and Atwell I really only knew
to create classroom libraries, (well, they knew more than I did) but as a beginner I
knew to create a classroom library and I knew to cultivate reading choice and to help kids
find identities as readers. But what I really didn’t know is how to take
teaching young adult literature to the next level. So it was really either one option or another:
students choosing books from a classroom library or students reading a young adult novel as
a whole class study in a way that didn’t look any different than the way we would read a
piece of classic young adult literature. So I was given the opportunity to think about
what a more complicated way, or a more visionary way of teaching young adult literature might
be. And you called me to think about what would
a pedagogy of these books look like? Can you conceptualize that? And can we find teachers out in the world
who are teaching these books who can help illustrate what a more thoughtful and sophisticated
YA pedagogy could be. So those were some of the roots of the book
and the hope is that it calls teachers to feel like they not only can use these books
in the classroom but they can keep using them in more and more interesting and effective
ways. One of the things you suggest in your book
is right now there’s such an emphasis on text complexity. We see that term everywhere for teachers but
it’s pretty reductive in that it mostly talks about Lexile scores and books are named as
whether they’re complex or not based on that. But in your book you talk about two different
ways of thinking about complexity. Finding complexity and making complexity. In that first kind, in finding complexity
you do a beautiful analysis of two well known YA books, We Were Here by Matt and Ask the
Passengers by Amy as examples of YA texts that really, they are extremely complex in
and of themselves. I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit
about this notion of text complexity and why you selected these two books in particular
to illustrate that. Okay, so first of all it seemed really crucial
to make the case that the books are complex because a lot of people don’t believe that. People base their opinions on young adult
literature on the latest best seller or what is being said in popular culture about the
books and they’ve never read them. So it’s first just crucial to make the case
that there is complexity there. Then to illustrate what complexity can mean
beyond some kind of numeric measure. You know our field is being driven by Lexile
levels as one catch phrase by Common Core. We’re being limited in the ways that we’re
being invited to think about text and use text. So I wanted to push back on all of that. I thought what do I do as a reader when I’m
engaged in a book that I think is great that is challenging me in my mind and moving me
in my heart? I’m engaging in it as a text. And I’m bringing parts of my own story and
experience and questioning to the text. So those were pieces of how the finding complexity
and making complexity framework came into being. I’m an English teacher and I’m a student of
English so I know how to look at a text and examine it for stylistic features and content
and theme and I know that I’m a reader who’s always making meaning of books based on my
context, events happening in the world, conversations I’m having with my family and friends and
colleagues, my past experiences as a reader. So, I want to name all of that as stuff that
counts. And stuff that matters more than what a computer
program says about the vocabulary or the sentence structure of the text. Now, I thought, we talked as we worked on
this book together, that argument will really come home if I can ground it in two particular
texts. So I chose We Were Here and I chose Ask the
Passengers because I’ve taught those books in my young adult literature class lots of
times. I began teaching those books in my young adult
literature class, which is a class that serves college students now, because I loved them. They were books that I knew that mattered
to me and I would go to the mat for those books because of the, because of the quality
of them and because of the ideas they explored. Unpacking where I found complexity in them
is probably my favorite part from writing this whole book. That was the chapter that I actually wrote
the fastest and with the most confidence and pleasure because it was a chance to dig into
these stories. So We Were Here is a book about group home
kids, three of them, who leave their group home and try to figure out who they are in
the world that’s labeled them as essentially throw-aways, kids that have messed up. They’re journeying to Mexico in hopes of starting
a new life but they’re journeying to hopefully find a way to make sense of what they’ve done
and find a way if it’s possible to forgive themselves and move on. What I love about We Were Here is that it’s
written in the form of journal entries. The voice in the book is extremely powerful. You can hear this kid, Miguel’s voice. He is a reader. So I did a lot of work analyzing Miguel’s
voice and the way he talks and the figurative language he uses, which is powerful. It was a real pleasure to think about how
his decision to steal some books from the group home when he leaves plays a part in
him figuring out what his story is. So that’s a little bit about the substance
of the book and the style of it. One more layer: there’s a deep amount of moral
complexity in this book and there’s a line that I remember reading the very first time
I read the book that I’ve paused on ever since in each re-reading and it’s the line about,
“people think there’s this line that you can cross” (My favorite line in the book too!) And it comes up every year, I never have to
prompt students to find that line, they always find it. “They think there’s this line that you can
cross, something that separates good people from bad people but there is no line. There is no line.” So the ability to have conversations about
morality and existentialism, there’s so much that we can find and make and re-layer. So there’s that book and there’s more that
we can say but that’s a placeholder for that book. And then Ask the Passengers. So another book that I love because of the
voice of the character and the sensibility of the character. Astrid is a girl who’s trying to figure out
her sexuality but that’s also in the context of trying out, trying to figure out what it
means to be trapped in a small town. A pretty unforgiving small town. A really judgmental small town. Sort of trapped in a family that’s struggling
to be connected and to care about each other. Astrid is asking a lot of questions about
what is identity and what is truth but she’s drawing on Greek philosophy to help her do
it. I love this. She is taking a humanities class and the questions
that she’s being invited to think about in her humanities class take the book to a meta
level. Is motion possible? What does it mean to live in a cave? Plato’s allegory of the cave. I mean these are both authors that are drawing
on classics to tell the stories of teenagers. But what I especially love about Ask the Passengers
are two more layers. One is that Astrid is channeling Socrates
to help her on her journey. She is encountering him in a magical realism
way. She nicknames him Frank S. because she wants
to feel close to him. He gives her comfort. He shows up in key moments in her life. So how amazing is that? To find magical realism in a young adult novel
and a teenager whose muse or whose comfort figure is Socrates. And last but not least she’s sending up love
to passengers on planes as they fly overhead because she doesn’t really have a place on
the ground in her everyday life to express love. That piece, I always ask my students, what
would the book lose, how would the book be different if there weren’t vignettes that
depict passengers in airplanes traveling overhead, and brief snippets of their stories, and we
have great conversations about how that layer makes the book even more universal than it
would otherwise be. So, see how much there is there to unpack? I can’t say it quickly, because there are
so many layers. That’s complexity. We think as teachers a lot about text complexity. Do you as authors think about that when you’re
writing for teens? Do you see your own books as complex in these
ways? Do you think about that when you’re writing? I mean, I’ll start and just say, I mean. For me, the most important thing is layers. Like, if there are no layers then there is
less chance that things are going to resonate long after a reader leaves the book. And I will say this, just hearing you break
that down makes me actually a little emotional because it’s an honor to have somebody actually
explore all the layers in your work. There is nothing that you could do that’s
more complimentary. Do you feel that way? Yeah. I agree because well I think that our experience
as authors is that even though we talk to teachers who do have complex ideas about our
books. You really only get the basics like, oh this
is (for me with Ask the Passengers) “Oh this is your gay book.” And I said, well no. Ah, no. It’s not quite that. And so to hear you break that down, yeah. Absolutely emotional. Do I think about it when I write? I find, I can’t write just a straight up book. I find I get bored. And I write books they way they come to me. So I don’t plan anything. Ever. So as they come suddenly Frank, well suddenly
Socrates shows up (she thinks he should have a first name because it’s more, you know,
it’s warmer and so she gives him one) and then it just kind of takes on a life of its
own but I think maybe it’s because I find teens very complex and find the teen experience
very complex and we’re complex people so and life is complex so why would we dilute that
experience? Because we’ve been told that teens aren’t
that complex. In actual fact I think sometimes they’re more
complex than adults. Yeah. And I think one more thing that comes to mind
for me is, you know, different readers will bring different tools to a book and you don’t
want to just have a couple things going on, the surface stuff. You want the best reader to be able to find
even more layers on additional reads. And you know I’ll be honest I read a lot of
adult novels I bet you do too but guess what my favorite YA novels are? You know it’s funny because we both read the
books that you worked with and why is Amy one of my favorite authors? Because of the layers. Same here. And We Were Here is like my, I love other
books but that’s like THE BOOK, like the one that has, you know, lights around it. I love that book. So it’s interesting, as readers we’re looking
for complexity too. We’re looking for the same thing. And I think, the last thing that comes to
mind is, I think there’s what the book is about and then there’s what the book is REALLY
about. And not everybody can get to that really part. I agree with that, absolutely. I go to these schools all year long. I talk
to teenagers and I explain to them that really the term “teenager” wasn’t really in popular
use until the early 1950’s and before that you all were just human beings. But for me, yeah, it’s not just the books
that they’ll bash, they’ll bash anything. The, oh yeah, you’re walking with your phone? Well then you’re a millennial. Or, I was just called a millennial, which
is awesome, I’m like Yeah!I pulled that off. It’s the flannel, it must be the flannel. It might be, I’ve been wearing these since
the… yeah, anyway. But, yeah, I find that first of all I think
we greatly underestimate teenagers in our society. We greatly underestimate them. And I think that leads to them greatly undervaluing
themselves. And I think that that’s a shame because I
find teenagers to have this fantastic open mind and adults are asking them to box their
mind and become and adult and how do you define that? I’m an adult. You know I was roller skating only yesterday,
um, am allowed to do that? I’m not sure. I think I am as an adult but this is this
idea that there is a line, that there is a line between what a teen is and what an adult
is and it’s not really true! Because I do things that teenagers do and
I also do things that adults did when I was a teenager. Does that make sense? So I don’t think it’s so cut and dry the way
we look at teens. But for the most part we roll our eyes at
them. I mean that is the number one thing. And you know as a mother, every time it was
like, “Just wait until they’re teenagers.” And I thought, are they going to explode? They’re not. I can tell you for a fact, so far no child
exploding in my house in fact they just get more and more exciting as individuals it’s
unbelievable. But instead we have this very negative attitude
towards teenagers and anything that has to do with them. Really. I mean, you know, say the word “Twilight Movie”
to any adult and they’ll go, Uhh. You know, and I mean, that’s a bad example
but I’m trying to think of anything else that would be teen-related so, yeah. I do think so. I mean, I remember my mom yelling at me because
I used to write on my arm. Because we all wrote on our arms or our hands
and then my kid comes home and she has written and I’m like, oh those are awesome because
I feel like that’s how she’s expressing herself. I don’t know. But you know, we just, we move past it and
we move past it very quickly. I watched a sister and brother I know, she
was about three years older than him. The minute she hit 21 she looked down on 18. Yeah?And so then it’s, “Ah. Teenagers.” And I’m like, you were just a… and you’re
only… you but it’s just how it goes we’re taught, we’re an adult now, we have a job
now we have a degree now or whatever it is that, that level is. But outside of that I think teenagers greatly
undervalue themselves because of how we look at them. And I think that’s a shame. And I think, going to the books that that’s
why I tend to have challenge, and have layers and challenge teen readers because you know
some of my books are more challenging for adults than they are for teens. I’ve had that. I’ve had that situation. You know? And teens are like “I love this book” and
the teachers are like, “I couldn’t. My kids will never understand this book.” And I’m thinking what are you saying? What are you saying about you, what are you
saying about the book, and what are you saying about your students if you say that they’ll
never understand it? When, in actual fact, they understand it on
a more complex level. I think you write a book and you do the best
you can. You try to put as much stuff in it as possible
and to be as authentic as possible and to tell the best story. And then the reader comes along and does the
rest of the work. So when a kid says that book saved my life. It’s not necessarily true. They’re actually giving the writer too much
credit, in my opinion because what they’re really doing is they’re saving themselves
by using your book as a tool. And there’s so much of their flesh in the
margins of your book. They’re the ones making it so important to
them. But, I will say this, I think representation
is incredibly important, because of this. I recently was at a school and these two boys
that were like huge, huge readers. They’d been introduced to my books, they’d
read them all. And I videoed them and I said, because they
were telling me that seeing themselves in a book was important, and I said, WHY? And they told me another book that they loved
but they said, “I wasn’t a part of that world. I loved the book and I love it and I love
talking about it but I wasn’t a part of it so when I read a book that had somebody like
me in it there was a little something extra.” And I was like, you know what? Maybe that’s the best definition of the necessity
for diverse characters in literature is “there’s a little something extra” to it. It’s also an invitation. So yeah, I think when you only have a few
options on the bookshelf that is kind of like you, I think it’s a little something extra. And I think that goes a long way. You know it’s interesting because I think
that goes even beyond diversity because, I don’t know if you remember the very first
time I met you I was telling you about how my son decided that Ball Don’t Lie was like,
the true story of basketball. You know that book is set in this gritty setting
and my son is like this white kid in suburban, you know, Michigan but he found that something
extra in that because he felt it depicted who he, how he envisioned himself at the time. So you know what’s the interesting thing about
Ball Don’t Lie, there’s so much slang that if you are a true baller, and you hoop you
get it on a whole other level. And that is Jesse. As a former baller, it’s a total different
story if you play ball. Yeah. And a teacher, may not fully get those things
and therefore it becomes the kid’s book and not the teacher’s. And I think there’s something to that. Yeah, that’s great. One of my intellectual heroes has been Patty
Campbell a longtime critic and writer in the field of YA lit. And she wrote a piece a long time ago that
tried to distill what are the essences of YA lit. So she talked about style but she also talked
about a core substance in YA lit is a central question that every YA lit books asks and
that is, in her words, “Who am I and what am I going to do about it?” And I tell my students that one of the things
that keeps me reading these books, year after year, with pretty much unflagging passion
and commitment, is a belief in the importance of that question. For teenagers but also for me. I’m continuing to ask that question in my
own life. Who am I? Because the answer keeps having more layers
to it. The answer changes as I grow and change. And what am I going to do about it? What am I going to do with my privilege, or
my platform? What am I going to do if I read a book and
I see myself through the eyes of a kid on the margins? What can my college students do, for example,
because they’re usually reading from a place of privilege? And what does it mean to dignify the experience
of coming into adulthood by centering it around the importance of that question? I think YA lit provides a space for all of
that. So it’s a matter of respecting these books
is a gesture toward respecting teenagers and the integrity of that work. Yeah, I think sometimes with the canon, what’s
the difference between the canon and YA? There’s been more respect over the course
of years and years toward those books and now they become the canon. So the more we get scholars looking at quality
YA and really unpacking it, that’s going to mean that those resources are available and
then teachers can have them. I feel like some teachers who only lean on
the canon, at the end of the day, isn’t that kind of lazy? You know? It’s a very static canon. To me the canon is very static. I was writing a speech last year and I went
to so many different school websites all over the country and looked at their reading lists
for certain age groups and it was the same books over and over again and it was very
static and it hadn’t changed since my day and there are books there that haven’t changed
since my mother’s day and she graduated in ’56. I don’t understand why there’s a block there. I think it is because of the respect, it is
because of the lack of respect for teenagers and the lack of respect for the teenage experience
out there without, out there without any apology. I think. And I think that perhaps teachers or adults
would prefer teenagers apologize for just the experience that they’re going through
as if we haven’t done it ourselves. And as if we aren’t continuing to do it. Because I mean, my books wouldn’t exist if
I wasn’t continually growing. You know, you have to continually grow and
my books are always just little pieces of me at that time. People say, “Do you dig back to your teen
years to write your books?” And I’m like, No! I’m dealing with it right now! I think a lot of that has to do with it. And I think the canon is static at the moment
and if there was a way we could start putting new books in there… but I don’t know how
to do it. You know you brought up something earlier
that makes me think of YA. You said we didn’t call teenagers teenagers
until fairly recently and we also didn’t call YA, YA until very recently, even more recently. So that kind of might factor in too. That labeling of a certain type of literature. Yeah and I mean, as authors I think we get
this thing as well. Regardless of, you know if you think about
it, look at the adult book shelves. The adult shelves have so many different genres. There are so many different kinds. Whereas, if we use young adults just as a
genre label then everything is fitting in there: horror, romance, literary, realism,
whatever, you know all this stuff is just fitting in the same thing. And I don’t know if that does it justice or
not. I don’t think any bookstores are going to
make their YA section that diverse but as teachers, I think, in classrooms we can, you
can do that. Can I add a couple things? Oh absolutely. Okay. So I’m trying to think back to the points
I want to connect to. One is about canons. So there’s a, there’s a, I’ll say it, a laziness
if that’s all you care to teach, but it may also be a fear of taking a risk and a lack
of a fully realized vision. And I think a couple of those pieces, risk
and vision, are impacted by a lack of a vocabulary to talk about these books. And so the reason I thought to bring this
into the conversation is when you said it helps so much when people unpack what’s in
these texts, it helps so much when we start to get critical writing around young adult
literature and individual books because I feel like that gives us a language for saying
what these books contain, what they aspire to do, where the richness is in them, and
absent that language and that external framework, it can be really hard on your own to come
up with it. And I’m speaking from my own experience as
a teacher. I have said this about Patty Campbell’s influence
on me I didn’t realize the importance of critical writing because the only critical writing
I’d seen as a high school and college student was about the classics until I saw critical
writing about literature applied to YA and then began to aspire to do that because a
light bulb came on that if I can make that contribution it would further bolster the
evidence that the books are good. So there’s that. Just having a framework and a language for
talking when you’re busy just discovering what the field contains and that goes back
to YA as a genre. I like to talk about YA as a field. It’s a field of study. It’s a field of literature with lots of layers,
lots of genres in it, it’s own history and once we start to lay that out it’s a way to
say that YA has its own story and it own evolving canon the way classic literature has its own
story, its own history and its own evolved canon. And it’s a newer field, if it’s a field. Because then you know, more and more critical
learning will be done in the years to come and so then it will be more accessible for
teachers. Right? There will be more comfort. Yeah, and I think the more we can put all
this stuff in dialog with itself, or pieces in dialog with each other, that we have the
classical canon, and we have the evolving YA canon and they are not separate. It’s not either or. They’re in dialog with each other we can put
books in conversation with each other. So all those things offer up more possibilities. You know, way back when, and I’ve known Jennifer
for many years, when you were teaching high school you started this young adult reading
group with parents, so parents could… she’s really smart… there’s lots of ideas like
that in the book! But I mean it was such a cool thing because
it got them to start having more familiarity. So I think it’s both sort of the critical
analysis of it that makes it seem more, feel like more of a respected field but its also
really trying to get these books in the hands of people who are the decision-makers or who
can influence the decision-makers so if parents know about it then parents are able to say
to administrators, “these should be in the classroom because these are really good books
that impact the kids.” I think there’s some of that going on too. And so there’s the parents first person experience
as a reader discovering what the books have to offer and then, what I learned about the
failure of the binary of there’s either a workshop or there’s whole class units of study,
what about just the dialog that takes place when we kind of free ourselves up from a packaged
approach to what the use of the books can look like. If a parent has a conversation with their
kid that the book makes possible, that starts to open up a vision for what kind of conversations
their kids might be able to have in school, with other kids, and with a thoughtful adult,
that wouldn’t otherwise be possible if we were just trooping through literary terms
or all reading in isolation books that we’ve chosen individually. A lot of YA feels very fresh and I think it’s
because its taking in world events that are happening now and so kids are responding to
that and if you think about those conversations that are coming up that might not be coming
up in the canon always because those same issues weren’t as urgent back then or even
existed back then. It’s a new world and I think YA is looking
at that new world. Or how YA can help us understand the worlds
that we’re seeing in the canonical pieces too. Like the things that repeat and repeat and
repeat and repeat. It’s said this way now but look how it was
then. Absolutely and in Ask the Passengers it’s
one of those things that almost, in many of my books, I discuss white fear and white hate
because I grew up surrounded by it and I’ve been trying to figure it out my whole life
and to me it’s my way of being able to talk to, maybe reach one of those kids who is in
one of those homes who has been raised in this way to maybe flip that switch so they
just go oh, this looks appalling let’s look at the other way around you know, to do that. And that’s it. It’s a new world and we have to try and figure
out our own way to kind of help because I can’t not help. There’s a line at the very beginning of Ask
the Passengers where Astrid has laid out, “they say this in my town, they say that in
my town,” but at the very end of that chapter is “maybe it’s like this in your town too”
which is a pretty cool meta moment. And that’s what these books invite. Like, huh! I wonder if I am living in this kind of world
or I wonder if I am implicated in this. Well at that age I knew a bit. I definitely knew. But I didn’t really know, know until I was
19 or 20 and I was sort of looking around going wow and so maybe we can discover this
earlier and that kind of thing. And I think one of the, you know we were talking
about layers earlier, I think the best way for a writer to create these layers that are
explored in this book is to just focus on asking questions and exploration as a writer
and not looking to the right answers. You know I mean, the key word in that sentence
is MAYBE. She doesn’t know for sure but she’s starting
to go, she’s questioning it, maybe, maybe it’s like that for you too, you know? So you’re not preaching to them or giving
them the answer but you’re thinking, like, let’s engage you. Particularly with my 9-year-old. My 9-year-old won’t listen to you. Yeah, teens smell a rat. They do, they’ve got radar like nothing else. Someone asked me the other day, “Why are you
so serious?” And I’m like “I’m not so serious. I’m real.” And they were like, “well…” (and it was
a friend of mine, who IS real) and I was like, “what is your problem with me being real?” “Well, they’re teenagers.” And I’m like, “That’s your problem.” It’s not the real it’s the fact that you think
teenagers can’t be real. Those are the most real people on earth because
they haven’t layered themselves in, I don’t know, bubble wrap. Adult bubble wrap. What’s your hope for a teacher who reads this
book? I guess it comes down to two things. One is fuel. If a teacher comes to this topic thinking
I DO use these books in the classroom, here’s more evidence that you can take to bolster
your case. Another hope is, the corollary to that is,
I hope the book provides vision and an invitation for new possibilities because I’ll tell you
writing the book was really responding to a call to figure out for myself what more
was possible for these books in the lives of teens and in the lives of teachers and
classrooms. And so I’ve tried to lay out some new ideas
about what else we could be doing with these books that stretches teenagers and stretches
our vision of what our work in the English classroom is for. So I really hope that the books bolster the
cause and also invite teachers to think beyond what they’re already doing or what’s been
offered to them by their administrators with a packaged curriculum they’ve been handed.

2 Replies to “Teaching Reading with YA Literature”

  1. The year I was supposed to pick out the new 7th grade anthology; not a task I was looking forward to, I was overwhelmed as the books came in and all the bells and whistles companies included. The first weekend I began to see how so much was the same. One story came to my attention; it was Riki Tiki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling. I vaguely remembered the story and was a bit bewildered; this story is so impactful that all 7th graders in the United States need to read it? So, I read it again…and had the same impression–why in every anthology???? I continued looking and came back to my colleagues with the recommendation…what if we didn't replace these and instead had all that money to buy young adult lit paperbacks that we could replace every few years with new YAL paperbacks.
    Having graduated in 1972, I had only been prepared for being a teacher by taking classes based on the classics My introduction to YAL had been through a younger teacher who handed me The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi (I was thrilled to find a well written book for middle school kids that had a female as a hero). The same shopping trip I picked up Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I found myself excited about how much more the students would like these books.
    When I talked with the staff, I was disappointed to find out the school board required that a hard back anthology be purchased for every middle school student when we rotated into our year of book funds. And, at that point nothing was going to change their minds. But, slowly we found money, and slowly YAL books began appearing in the bookroom. Being on a 4 person interdisciplinary team, I began picking books that I could use with social studies (The Reluctant God–they do Egypt) as well as Greek mythology with stories re-told with an adventurous spirit from authors who brought ancient mythology to life, AND even included Greek mythological beasts (not referenced in the old anthologies). And, once it was out in paperback, we purchased Jurassic Park because of its connections to math and science.( An aside: That first year we read the book and took our kids to the movie (after that we used the video then the DVD), and to my absolute joy for the first time I heard, " It was okay, but the book was so much better."
    I'm retired now, and sadly the replacement teachers have actually gone back to using an anthology, the paperbacks gather dust in the book room. The teachers didn't know about the paperbacks and using the anthology is easier. But, if I ruled the world, teacher education would denounce anthologies as outdated and very heavy to carry. And, YAL would be the books in these programs.

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