Turning the Tide: The Youngest Generation
New Spotlight Series
Ushering in our 7th year, in July 2019 I announced a new section at this site. The title for this new highlight on children’s, teen, and YA fiction reflects my belief that youth today are completely charged up and are speaking a language of do, not say. They are strong and hopefully will turn the tide. In this series, I want to capture the literary versions of heroes like Greta Thunberg, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Bana Alabed, Emma Gonzales, David Hogg, Mari Copeney, Payla Jangid, and hundreds of thousands more, who are shook up and amazing in their actions against social injustice and climate change.
“The Youngest Generation” is a nod to my talk with Edan Lepucki about her short story “There’s No Place Like Home”. In the story, the youth were in a stuck generation, where environmental catastrophe made it impossible to really live much longer. They would remain children until they died. This idea haunted me tremendously. In the story, they were also called the youngest generation.
I’ve been considering this new section of the website for years and have built it up slowly, beginning with the YA/teen bookshelf and a children’s bookshelf. I’ve always incorporated youthful novels and short stories into the site, but last year I began a months-long focus on such literature, which highlighted literary heroes like Tic Brewer in Marissa Slaven’s Code Blue, Lauren in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, John KixMiller and team’s Phoebe in Protectors of the Wood, Leaf in Jo Marshall’s children’s Twig Stories, and–one of my all-time favorites–Hushpuppy in Beasts of a Southern Wild.
I wish to say a personal thanks to reviewer Kimberly Christensen, who voluntarily contributes children and YA/teen reviews to Dragonfly. Her reviews will be featured here as well.
Disclaimer: Parents should always review books ahead of time that their children read. The stories highlighted here range from children’s to young adult, and some stories geared toward young adults may not be okay for younger children.
- NPR: 8 Ways to Teach Climate Change in Almost Any Classroom: This article surprised us by linking to our site in the “Assign a Novel” section.
- The Guardian: The “Greta Effect” Leads to a Boom in Children’s Environmental Books
- Curiosity Quills Press: Teaching Environmental Awareness in Fiction
- School Library Journal: Read Wild: Crossover Eco-fiction, When There Isn’t Enough YA Lit About Nature
- ASLE: Environmental Fiction and Criticism (seminar)
- Cambridge Ecofiction Book Group: Links and Free Resources
- Penguin Books: 7 Books to Help Teach Children About the Environment
- Canadian Teacher Magazine: Bringing Oral Storytelling into the Elementary School Classroom
- Todd Mitchell Books: Teaching links, including a teaching kit for Todd’s children’s novel The Last Panther
The featured image is licensed for use and © Can Stock Photo/hjalmeidah.