When Loss Gets Personal considers how secondary English language arts teachers and teacher educators can sensitively and thoughtfully teach pieces of literature in their classrooms in which death is a significant, if not central, aspect of the texts. Death is something that affects all people young and old, yet it is rarely discussed openly in classrooms despite its prevalence in texts read in ELA classrooms. Whether it is canonical or contemporary literature, middle grades or young adult literature, fiction, nonfiction, or graphic novels, literature provides a vehicle to have difficult but needed conversations about personal deaths such as cancer, accidents, suicide, etc.
Each chapter in this book focuses on 1-2 texts and provides practical activities that ask students to engage with the loss through writing assignments, projects, activities, and discussion prompts in order to build empathy, understanding, and develop critically-minded and engaged students. When Loss Gets Personal will be of interest to English language arts teachers, teacher educators, librarians, and scholars who wish to explore with their students the complex emotions that revolve around discussing deaths that occur in literature.
Michelle M. Falter is an assistant professor of English education at North Carolina State University. Michelle’s scholarship focuses on dialogic, critical, and feminist pedagogies, emotion in the teaching of literature and writing in secondary classrooms, English teacher education, and adolescent literature. She has previously co-edited the book Teaching Outside the Box but Inside the Standards: Making Room for Dialogue with Teachers College Press.
Steven T. Bickmore is an Associate professor of English Education at the University of Nevada and a past editor of The ALAN Review (2009-2014). He maintains a weekly academic blog on YA Literature—Dr. Bickmore's YA Wednesday (http://www.yawednesday.com/) and his research includes how English teachers negotiate the teaching of literature using young adult literature, especially around the issues of race, class, and gender.
Michelle M. Falter
Part I: Suicide
Chapter 1- Death and the Digital: Student Voices and Small Stories as Supplemental Texts to Thirteen Reasons Why
Emily C. Plummer
Chapter 2- Young Adults “Step Out” of Thirteen Reasons Why and Impulse: Moving from Personal Connection to Analysis
Alison Heron-Hruby, Mallory Aronhalt, Madison Beam, Hollibeth Francis, Danielle Jones, Haleigh Wells, and Brandie Trent
Chapter 3- Pursuing Mystery in A Tale for the Time Being: A Pedagogical Framework for Reading about Suicide with High School Students
Mark A. Sulzer
Part II: Terminal Illness
Chapter 4- Accepting the Deadline and Forging Ahead: Literature through the Lens of Palliative Care in a High School English Classroom
Christian Z. Goering and Ginger Goering
Chapter 5- Keeping it Real: Teaching Death Be Not Proud and This Star Won’t Go Out as Adolescent Narratives of Loss
Chapter 6- The Healing Power of Stories: Reading and Re-Reading A Monster Calls
Part III- Accidents
Chapter 7- The Thing about Grieving: Intellectual and Emotional Work in Ali Benjamin’s The Thing about Jellyfish
Mary Harrell and Sharon Kane
Chapter 8- “Grieving Like a Normal Person”: Examining Responses to Grief in Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay
Jenna Spiering and Kate Kedley
Chapter 9- Envisioning Alternate Realities of Loss: Using Imagination to Bridge Classroom Conversations about Grief through Peter Pan and The Wendy Project
Nina R. Schoonover and Ashley A. Atkinson
Chapter 10- Addressing Trauma and Death with Young Adolescents through Tears of a Tiger
Melissa A. Baker, Laronda Brown, and Marisa A. Vicere
Chapter 11- Dealing with Death through Dialogue: Existentialism & Looking for Alaska
Part IV: Familial Death
Chapter 12- The Intersectionality of Music and Mortality using Jason Reynold’s The Boy in the Black Suit
Latasha McKinney and Rebecca Maldonado
Chapter 14- “My Mother is a Fish”: Exploring Grief through As I Lay Dying
About the Editors
About the Contributors