Web Watch
Focus on Young Adult Literature

David Gill
University of North Carolina - Wilmington
Deborah L. Gill
Pender High School

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Sites devoted to young adult (YA) literature on the World Wide Web (WWW) are plentiful. Some are maintained by publishers and feature such elements as plot synopses, teaching guides, and sample chapters. Others provide reviews of new and classic novels for young adults and are designed to give readers direction in choosing material that matches their interests. Still other sites are devoted to the study of YA literature as a genre and as a teaching tool.

What follows is an annotated list intended to provide a representative sample of the sorts of resources in YA literature that are available on the WWW. Included are on-line versions of traditional print resources along with sites maintained by commercial organizations, educational institutions, and individuals. The list is presented in simple alphabetical order by site name.

• The ALAN Review

The ALAN Review, published by the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English, is now available on line. Back issues from 1994 to the present are posted at this site. This is one of only a handful of scholarly journals devoted to YA literature.

• Booklist

Reviews of both adult and children's books are available in this online rendering of the American Library Association's Booklist magazine. A cumulative index to all reviews published in the magazine is provided, along with an “editors' choice” list of top books and videos. Also included are special features such as interviews with authors and a variety of essays. The material is generally very good, and reviews are in depth and detailed. Definitely a site worth visiting.

• Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site

Though plagued by disruptive advertising, this site does has some worthwhile information. It is the creation of a language arts consultant and author, and features reviews of books for children and adolescents, with a slant toward the elementary grades. Some reviews include teaching ideas and suggestions.

• The Children's Literature Web Guide

This website is the creation of a librarian in the Faculty of Education, University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada). It provides detailed information regarding Internet resources pertaining to books for children and young adults. Although it is primarily a collection of links to other locations on the web, the site has such useful features as listings of award winners and bestsellers. Also included is the Doucette Index, a searchable resource that links books to teaching ideas. Discussion boards allow site visitors to post questions or comments about lessons or books.

• Fairrosa Cyber Library

This personal website, created and maintained by a teacher-librarian, is devoted to the study of literature and includes much information on authors and illustrators. It is a big site, so it can be hard to navigate. Much of the material is provided through links to other websites, some of which are very good, while others are less so. Fairrosa includes reviews of YA books, searchable by author's last name. Also of interest are a long list of authors—annotated with biographical information, interviews, and usually a picture—and articles on adolescent and children's literature.

• The Internet School Library Media Center Historical Fiction Page

This website, based at James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA), provides various lists of books that deal with historical content. Although there are no accompanying annotations, links to other sites with suggestions for unit and lesson plans are offered. There is no search engine, but the alphabetical listings are generally short enough to be easily scanned.

• Kay E. Vandergrift's Special Interest Page

Vandergrift is a professor in the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies of Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA). This website is a collection of her articles related to children's and YA literature. Some of the material describes how to encourage young readers and explores approaches to take when discussing or teaching literature. There is a source list with links to related pages.

• Rockbridge County High School Library Media Center, Young Adult Literature Pages

This well-organized website based at a Virginia (USA) high school provides links to many sites related to young adult literature, and particularly to author information, biographies, and home pages. There is also access to a good collection of reviews of young adult and children's books.

• Teacher's Resource Center

This is one of the best websites for young adult literature. It is sponsored by Random House through its Bantam-Doubleday-Dell division, and almost every young adult book it publishes appears here. The excellent and detailed descriptions, illustrated with pictures of the books' covers, are accompanied by excerpts from independent reviews and by extensive teaching ideas. A search engine enables users to find a specific book without scanning the entire web page. Title, author, and illustrator indexes, along with such specialized indexes as awards received, grade level, and “interdisciplinary,” allow easy searching—for example, you can locate Newbery Award books, books for reluctant readers, or books on a common theme.

• Young Adult Literature Library

This website is the creation of a student at the University of Iowa, Iowa City (USA). It offers a generous number of his detailed and in-depth reviews of YA books as well as related bibliographies.

Author Information

David Gill teaches English education in the Department of Special Studies of the Watson School of Education, University of North Carolina - Wilmington, USA. Deborah Gill is a high school science teacher at Pender High School, Burgaw, North Carolina, USA. At the time of writing this piece, both authors were at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA.

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Editor's note: Readers who find this web watch useful might also be interested in the following:

Reading Online, www.readingonline.org
Posted January 1999; updated March 2000
© 1999-2000 International Reading Association, Inc. ISSN 1096-1232