Immigration Narratives in Young Adult Literature: Crossing Borders

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Scarecrow Press, Dec 2, 2010 - Literary Criticism - 174 pages
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Although the United States prides itself as a nation of diversity, the country that boasts of its immigrant past also wrestles with much of its immigrant present. While conflicting attitudes about immigration are debated, newcomers—both legal and otherwise—continue to arrive on American soil. And books about the immigrant experience—aimed at both adults and youth—are published with a fair amount of frequency.

In Immigration Narrative in Young Adult Literature: Crossing Borders, Joanne Brown explores the experiences of adolescents as portrayed in young adult novels. Her study features protagonists from a wide variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds in order to provide a complete discussion of the immigration experience of young adults. In this volume, Brown analyzes young adult novels that portray various aspects of the immigrant experience—journeys to the shores of the United States, the difficulties of adjustment, and the tensions that develop within family units as a result of immigration. Brown also examines how ethnicity, religion, and country of origin affect the adolescent characters' adjustment to their new country, as well as the process of moving from social outsiders to accepted citizens.

This thoroughly researched book includes theories of adolescent development and perspectives on immigration itself applied to the literary analyses. It also offers a framework for anticipating the success of young immigrants and relates this analysis to the novels Brown discusses. With an appendix of additional novels for further reading, this book will be a useful resource for librarians and teachers of adolescent literature, as well as for students, both those born in the United States and those who are immigrants themselves.

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Chapter 1 The Golden Door
Chapter 2 The Beckoning Shores
Chapter 3 The Journey
Chapter 4 Strangers in a Strange Land
Chapter 5 Illustrated Immigrati
Rebels with a Cause
Chapter 7 Conclusion
Works Cited
Suggestions for Further Reading

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About the author (2010)

Joanne Brown is professor emeritus at Drake University. She is the coauthor of Declarations of Independence: Empowered Girls in Young Adult Literature, 1990-2001 (2002) and The Distant Mirror: Reflections on Young Adult Historical Fiction (2005), both published by Scarecrow Press.

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