Issue Theme: "Tweens": Too Old for This, Too Young for That!


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Issue Theme: "Tweens": Too Old for This, Too Young for That!

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Emerging Adolescence in Engaged Reading Communities
Gay Ivey and Peter Johnston
Abstract: This article examines what students do when they are engaged in reading stories that resonate with them. The narratives that draw them in often contain topics and language that make adults nervous, particularly at this age. Students use these books and the characters within them as tools for self-reflection, as cautionary tales, as ways to understand other people better, and to develop empathy. We provide instructional implications related to a wide range of texts and teacher talk that invites productive conversations. This article can be used as a resource for teachers and, by extension, parents who are unsure or apprehensive about what students might do with texts and conversations in which they are exploring new social worlds and identities that are beginning to evolve from childhood into adolescence.

Black Tween Girls with Black Girl Power: Reading Models of Agency in Rita Williams-Garcia’s One Crazy Summer
Christy M. Howard and Caitlin L. Ryan
Abstract: This descriptive content analysis of Williams-Garcia's One Crazy Summer examines the ways in which Delphine, the African American female main character, is represented throughout the novel as she navigates the challenges she faces as a tween Black girl in the midst of the Black Panthers movement. Delphine's story fills a gap in children's literature that fails to focus on the experiences of tween black girls, particularly girls who work to enact change and agency throughout their community. This analysis of Williams-Garcia's award-winning work examines the spaces "between" young girls' adult influences, their geographical locations, and their understanding of what it means to be Black. For Delphine, navigating these components means learning from others while finding a way to "make and remake" her own Black girl power and Black girl magic even in the midst of change, uncertainty, and societal power structures.

“It’s Easier When It’s Personal”: What Made Reading Real for Two Tweens with Learning Disabilities
David Bergman
Abstract: Through a series of interviews with teachers, parents, and the students themselves, this article explores the unique experiences of how two African American adolescent readers with learning disabilities made personal connections to literature during their middle school years. Participant voices then tell the story of how these two individuals became more motivated readers in early adolescence, an occurrence that coincided with measurable gains in reading achievement.

Language Arts Lessons: Leveraging Digital Literacies for Equity and Social Justice
Detra Price-Dennis and Selena Carrion
Abstract: This column describes possibilities for using digital literacies with tweens as a platform for investigating issues of social justice.

Invited Dialogue: Motivating Tweens to Read: Insights from Author Tom Angleberger
Jennifer D. Turner
Abstract: In this article, Tom Angleberger discusses his thoughts about tween readers, his insights into their reading lives, and what makes his books appealing to them.

Children’s Literature Reviews: Tween Time: Titles to Share with Readers Ages 9–12
Grace Enriquez, Mary Ann Cappiello, Katie Egan Cunningham, and Erika Thulin Dawes
Abstract: This column features a selection of children’s literature for tweens.

Perspectives on Practice: Between Delphine and a Hard Place
Rita Williams-Garcia
Abstract: This is a personal narrative of an author’s transition from writing YA novels and characterizations to writing middle-grade fiction featuring a tween protagonist in a trilogy.