Moving Beyond Personal Loss to Societal Grieving considers how secondary English language arts teachers and teacher educators can sensitively and thoughtfully teach pieces of literature in their classrooms in which large-scale deaths are a significant, if not central, aspect of the texts. As mass shootings and violence against black and brown bodies increase, and issues such as AIDS, war, and genocide remain important to discuss as part of a shared, critical, and social consciousness, this book provides resources for educators to directly tackle and discuss these topics through the texts they read in their 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 these difficult but needed conversations about not only the personal but social effects of death and grief in our society.
Each chapter in this book focuses on 1-2 texts and provides practical activities that ask students to engage with death, dying, and loss through writing assignments, projects, activities, and discussion prompts in order to build empathy, understanding, and develop critically-minded and engaged students. Moving Beyond Personal Loss to Societal Grieving 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.
Steven T. Bickmore
Part I: Grief and Facing Mortality
Chapter 1- Disruption of Adolescent-Adult and Death-Life Binaries: The Experiences of Elizabeth Hall in Elsewhere
Chapter 2- Confronting Death and Mourning in the Liminal through Short Stories
René Saldaña, Jr.
Chapter 3- Mourning a Missing Generation: Using Pedro and Me to Teach the AIDS Epidemic and to ACT UP in ELA Classrooms
James Joshua Coleman
Part II: Murder
Chapter 4- When it Feels Like Death, but It Ain’t: Spirit-murder in All American Boys
Stephanie P. Jones
Chapter 5- The Hate U Give: Experiencing Death and Grief in the Face of Social Justice
Tiye Naeemah Cort
Chapter 6- Discussing Death in Getting Away with Murder in Order to Understand a Movement
Part III: Mass Tragedies
Chapter 7- Finding Closure through Mockingbird: When A Community Tragedy is Personal
Chapter 8- This is Where It Ends: How Studying School Shootings from Multiple Perspectives Promotes Critical Literacy
Shelly Shaffer, Amye Ellsworth, and Kellie Crawford
Chapter 9- Graphic Young Adult Literature Representations of Brutalized Communities: Exploring Loss through Don Brown’s Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans
Shelbie Witte and Jennifer S. Dail
Part IV: War And Genocide
Chapter 10- Discussing War-related Death and Trauma through Storytelling in The Things They Carried
Gretchen Rumohr-Voskuil and Deborah Vriend Van Duinen
Leilya Pitre and Steven Bickmore
Chapter 12- “We Were Dangerous, and Brainwashed to Kill”: Death and Resilience in A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
Janine Julianna Darragh and Ashley S. Boyd
Chapter 13- Teaching the Act of Witnessing in Maus and Night
Crystal Chen Lee and Cathlin Goulding
Chapter 14- When a Character Dies: Comfort and Discomfort in Refugee Book Groups
Sarah J. Donovan
About the Editors
About the Contributors