English 112B Young Adult Literature Spring 2003 Dr. J. E. Patten
Read the following article very carefully. You must “pretend” to be a teacher in the Los Banos Bay Combination High School. The school is unusual in that it has junior high (7th, 8th, and 9th) combined with high school (10th, 11th, and 12th). The district also has parents who are very liberal and do not believe in censoring any material the teachers choose.
The following notice regarding an incident at Los Banos Bay Combination High School, May 9, 2003 appeared in the local newspaper, Los Banos Bay Chronicle:
Emergency School Board Meeting to be held May 13 at 7:00 pm: Parents and Teachers in a Quandary about the future of Los Banos Bay Combination High School (LBBCHS)
Last week, as everyone in our home town knows, a terrible fire completely ruined our school library and the adjoining book room that housed ALL of the classroom books. LBBSCH has not one book left in its entire school. Because of the terrible budget shortfall this year at the State level, LBBSCH cannot afford to re-supply all the books that were lost in the fire. Our dedicated teachers must all work together to find a solution. The meeting scheduled for next week will be to determine which books we absolutely must have as part of our reading curricula and for which grade levels. It is hoped that we can find books that will offer educational opportunities to several grades, rather than having a given book be grade specific. Our parents and townsfolk have always cooperated before when we have had any dispute regarding book selection. The parents of this town are particularly understanding of the teachers’ roles and their earnest desire to help our students learn, so censorship is not issue in considering book choices.
All of the teachers at LBBSCH have just completed an advanced credit course from a Dr. Patten at SJSU where they studied many young adult literature books and stories. Fortunately, we can rely on their expertise to come up with a list of books—no more than 15 for the entire school—that will serve us well until the crisis is over. We anticipate that in the year 2006 a better economy will enable us to purchase more books, and perhaps enable us to rebuild our library. Until then, the books we choose must present challenging reading material, offer though-provoking ideas, be considered literature with excellent use of language, encourage students’ imagination, and motivate students to continue reading. These books may be classics as well as new books in the field of Young Adult literature. We will, of course, ask that the teachers provide good arguments for each of their choices. Parents are hoping that literature taught in these Young Adult Classrooms will address current issues—however obliquely– and offer hope in this ever-changing world.
Assignment: Take on the persona of an English teacher at LBBCHS and provide a thorough and sound argument for choosing 10-15 books as part of the new curriculum for the English department. Be as creative as you wish.
Remember you are on your honor to do this assignment entirely by yourself, in no more than 2 ј hours. Email it to [email protected]
Thank you all for a wonderful semester; it was a pleasure working with you. I couldn’t have asked for a better class. Have a great summer, and do keep in touch.
It is due next Tuesday at noon. Please email the proposals to [email protected]