Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6 x 8¾
978-1-4422-5238-7 • Hardback • June 2015 • $83.00 • (£64.00)
978-1-4422-5239-4 • eBook • June 2015 • $78.50 • (£60.00)
Patty Campbell is editor of Rowman & Littlefield’s Studies in Young Adult Literature series. She is the author of several books, including Robert Cormier: Daring to Disturb the Universe (2006), War Is: A Hard Look at Warfare by Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers (2008), and Campbell’s Scoop: Reflections on Young Adult Literature (Scarecrow Press, 2010).
Introduction: The Last Taboo
Chapter I: Church and Clergy, Mostly Negative
Chapter II: Bible Stories in Young Adult Books
Chapter III: Death and the Afterlife
Chapter IV: End Times and the Apocalypse
Chapter V: Mysticism
Chapter VI: The Divine Encounter
Chapter VII: Other Faiths and Spiritual Practices: Judaism
Chapter VIII: Other Faiths and Spiritual Practices: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and a Sikh or Two
Chapter IX: Mormon Themes in YA Literature – by Chris Crowe
Appendix: Godsearch Bibliography
About the Authors
As YA specialist Campbell rightly asserts, spirituality is largely missing in the young adult literature published by the major U.S. houses. She also notes the inherent interest that teens have about spiritual matters, mentioning how fantasy often deals with issues of good versus evil. There are chapters sorted by organized religions, but Campbell realizes that spirituality is a larger concept. To that end, the book includes chapters that discuss books addressing death and the afterlife (but not zombies), end times and Apocalypse, mysticism, and the 'divine encounter.' The remaining chapters cover a selected list of contemporary YA literature published by mainstream publishers (as opposed to religious presses). The vast majority of YA literature covered is Christian (and Protestant). Surprisingly, Campbell found few Jewish YA novels that focused on spirituality, and she includes Holocaust literature as it reflects how religion helps sustain those victims. Similarly, Islam and Hindi YA novels tend to address the impact that those organized religions have on the daily life of teens, especially girls, more than on spiritual journeys. . . .YA author and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chris Crowe provides the last chapter, which begins by explaining LDS spirituality and values and then discusses popular LDS authors, such as Stephenie Meyers and Orson Scott Card. He also discusses non-Mormon YA authors whose writing reflects Mormon values. The volume concludes with a bibliography of secular YA literature with spiritual themes published between 1967 and 2015, including YA novels with negative treatments of organized religion, short stories, and two poetry collections. There is also a detailed index. This volume offers some good issues to think about, and it highlights representative titles of major religions and some spiritual themes. Few such references exist, so this work is a good start.
This is a well-researched guide that is practically the definitive guide on religion in modern young adult literature. The appendix lists all young adult novels from 1967 to 2015 that include issues of faith. This is a handy tool for librarians and teachers looking for novels that tackle religion, whether in a positive or negative light, and can help in collection development.
Useful and enlightening.
— The Horn Book Magazine