Fostering Mental Health Literacy through Adolescent Literature provides educators a starting point for engaging students in the study of adolescent literature that features mental health themes with the intended goal of developing students’ mental health literacy while simultaneously attending to English Language Arts content and literacy standards. Each chapter, co-authored by a literacy expert and mental health specialist, features a specific adolescent novel and provides middle and high school teachers background information on the novel’s featured mental health theme(s), along with pedagogical approaches for guiding readers into, through, and out of the novel. In doing so, this text seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues thereby reducing associated stigma and normalizing individual and peer mental health experiences for all adolescents.
Brooke Eisenbach is a former middle school teacher and current associate professor of middle and secondary education at Lesley University where she teaches courses in young adult literature, as well as middle school and high school methods of instruction
Jason S. Frydman is a nationally certified school psychologist, registered drama therapist, and assistant professor of psychology at Lesley University. His research focuses on trauma-informed programming in educational settings and school-based creative arts therapies.
Introduction: Preparing to Engage with Mental Health Themes in Adolescent Literature
Jason S. Frydman and Brooke B. Eisenbach
What’s Mined is Ours: Mental Health and American Rurality in Kristin Russell’s A Sky For Us
Jeff Spanke and Sara Tyner
Literacy and Loss: Examining Loss and Grief through Characterization in The Boy in the Black
Sherri Harper Woods and Terri Benton
First Person Perspective: Understanding Adolescent Eating Disorders Through the Text Good
Laura L. Wood, MaryBeth DeGennaro, and Brooke B. Eisenbach
Secrecy, Silence, and Transgenerational Trauma: Conflict and Character Development in I Am
Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Daniela Bustamante and Katie Sciurba
Exploring graphic memoir trajectories: Processing the effects of substance use disorder and
healing through art in Hey, Kiddo
Grace Enriquez and Michelle Pate
Teaching When Reason Breaks: Understanding Depression and Interrogating Bias through
Elsie Lindy Olan, Kia Jane Richmond, and Mary Mae Kelly
“I’m Not Like That”: Reading Heroine to Engage Students in Conversations and Research About
Opioid Use Disorder
Amanda Rigell, Arianna Banack, and Allen Rigell
Reading A Hero’s Journey through OCDaniel
Caitlin Corrieri and Elyanna Genovese
Exploring Mental Health Literacy through Book Clubs
Lesley Roessing and Jessica Traylor
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON MENTAL HEALTH
Fostering Mental Health Literacy through Adolescent Literature is a perfectly timed answer to a critical issue in schools: the prominence of mental health challenges rising in the lives of our teens. Eisenbach’s vast knowledge of Young Adult Literature and Frydman’s mental health expertise helped to curate and edit a book that includes chapters from leading educators and counselors in the field, setting mental health literacy education in the authentic context of Young Adult Literature. As a former secondary language arts teacher and mental health counselor (and now parent to a teen), I recognize it as the book we’ve needed and wished for. The research-based solutions in Fostering Mental Health Literacy through Adolescent Literature help integrate the many facets of English Language Arts and literacy standards, with attention to mental health awareness.
In Fostering Mental Health Literacy through Adolescent Literature the editors have curated a helpful, practical guide for classroom teachers to navigate the sometimes tricky but incredibly important work of introducing and integrating mental health literacy into the classroom. They provide the reader with what we so often need to do this work - helpful and straightforward ways to approach these topics in the classroom with students in middle and high school. This text presents a continued step toward bridging the knowledge set of both teachers and mental health professionals to guide students through challenging and necessary conversations.
Some books are timely, and some books arrive at the perfect time. Eisenbach and Frydman’s Fostering Mental Health Literacy through Adolescent Literature is both. As teachers and students emerge from more than a year of COVID forced social isolation, they have gathered a powerful collection of essays by a remarkable group of contributors that address a range of Mental Health Issues using landmark YA texts from The Boy in the Black Suit to Hey, Kiddo. In these trying times teachers and students need hope and this edited collection provides this hope through pedagogical strategies for teachers who want to guide an entire class, establish book clubs, or to guide independent reading.
This powerful collection of resources for the middle and high school English Language Arts teacher provides a richly researched scaffold for mental health awareness, using carefully selected adolescent books. This text will give the teacher the confidence to explore these important themes without becoming a school counselor themselves. Each chapter meticulously guides the reader into the particular mental health issue, demonstrating ways the teacher can engage the interest of students on the impact of trauma, abuse, poverty, and toxic stress on diverse individuals and indeed society at large. This book will excite teachers and provide them the tools they require to enhance their efforts in addressing the socioemotional needs of their adolescent students. Congratulations to the editors for fashioning a truly remarkable collaboration between mental health and education!