Section 2: History of YA Literature



A Chronology of Young Adult Literature
(including crossovers from Children’s and Adult Literature)

Canterbury Tales -- 1387
A Book of Courtesy -- 1477 (the first book for young people published in English)
The Fables of Aesop -- 1484
Le Morte d'Arthur -- 1484
The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe ? 1719
Little Goody Two Shoes by John Newbery -- 1765
Grimm's Popular Stories -- 1823
American Sunday School Union books -- 1824 to 1880s
The Wide, Wide World by Susan Warner (aka Elizabeth Wentwell) -- 1850
The House That Jack Built by Walter Crane -- 1865  (Caldecott's version 1878)
Alices' Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carol -- 1865
Elsie Dinsmore series by Martha F. Finley (the most popular girl series) -- 1867
Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger --1867
St. Elmo Augusta  Jane  by Evans Wilson --1867

American Library Association founded  -- 1876
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott -- 1868
The Story of Bad Boy by Thomas Bailey Aldrich -- 1870
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne -- 1872
Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain -- 1876
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell -- 1877
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson --1883
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle --1883
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain -- 1885
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes  by Arthur Conan Doyle --1892
Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling -- 1894
The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope --1904
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin -- 1904
Peter Pan in Kensington Garden by J. M. Barrie -- 1906
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham -- 1908
Zane Grey novels 1920s
Newbery Medal est. 1922
Little House in the Big Woods  by Laura  Ingalls Wilder -- 1932
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien -- 1937
Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly -- 1942
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes --1944
Call Me Charlie by Jesse Jackson -- 1945
The Story of the Negro by Arna Bontemps -- 1948  Newbery Honor
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger  -- 1951
Young Adult Services Division of ALA established -- 1957
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansbery --1959
Tituba of Salem Village by Ann Petry --1964
North Town  by Lorenz Graham -- 1965
Mildred Batchelder Award established 1966
The Contender by Robert Lipsyte -- 1967
The Outsiders  by S.E. Hinton -- 1967
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee --1968
The Pigman by Paul Zindel --1968
Zeeley by Virginia Hamilton --1968
Soul Brother and Sister Lou by Hunter -- 1968
Coretta Scott King Award established 1969
Where  the Lillies Bloom by Cleaver and Cleaver --1969
Sounder by William Armstrong --1969
Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume  -- 1970
Go Ask Alice anonymous -- 1971
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George -- 1972
Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack!  by M.E. Kerr -- 1972
A Hero Ain’t Nothing but a Sandwich by Alice Childress -- 1973
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier -- 1974
Dragonwings by Laurence Yep -- 1975
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry  by Mildred Taylor -- 1976
I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier -- 1977
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan --1978
Beauty by Robin McKinley -- 1978
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson -- 1980
The Friends by Rosa Guy -- 1981
Hoops  by Walter Dean Myers  -- 1981
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher -- 1983
The Moves Make the Man by Bruce Brooks  --1985
Young Adult Choices Awards established --1987
Margaret A. Edwards Award established --1988
YASD becomes Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) -- 1992
Pura Belpre Award established -- 1996
Monster by Walter Dean Myers -- 1999
Printz Award established -- 2000
YALSA focus on Graphic Novels -- 2002
YALSA focus on Slam Poetry -- 2003

 II. Some terms to know

Investigating Historical Texts and Trends

Why study the history of YA literature?  It is certainly true that for a number of reasons young adults are generally most responsive to contemporary narratives. Still there are books that retain relevance across the decades.  There are some significant reasons for investigating the history of any literary tradition.  A few of the many benefits of learning about young adult literary history include (relate these to the historical piece you have read):

Challenged Books

Paul Zindel’s  Pigman was challenged as suitable curriculum material in Harwinton and Burlington, CN. in 1990 because it contains profanity and has subject matter that sets a bad example and gives a negative view of life.

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was banned from the Lindale, TX advanced placement English reading list (1996) because it “conflicted with the values of the community.”

The Outsiders was challenged in George Washington Middle School in Eleanor, WV in 2000 because of the focus on gangs and gang violence.

Nat Hentoff’s The Day They Came to Arrest the Book was challenged in the Albemarle Co. school system in Charlottesville, VA (1990) because it offers an inflammatory challenge to authoritarian roles.

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry was removed from the 9th grade reading list at the Arcadia LA High School (1993) because it of its “racial bias.”

The Chocolate War was challenged by the Grosse Point, MI school district (1995) because it deals with “gangs, peer pressure, and learning to make your own decisions.”

Source: Banned Books American Library Association, 2001


Authors on the World Wide Web

Historical Collections on the World Wide Web

Many libraries and organizations have used the World Wide Web quite effectively to make their historical collections accessible to the public. Picturing Childhood, an online version of the catalog produced to accompany an exhibition held at UCLA, is a wonderful introduction to the history of illustrated literature for children. Beautiful scanned images from Gustav Dore, Walter Crane, and many other figures of historical illustrated books accompany the text making this a rich, informative site.

Public Domain Books on the World Wide Web

Hundreds of public domain children's books are now available free of cost on the World Wide Web. Some of these texts are more appropriate for scholarly research purposes, as they no longer have an immediate appeal to children of the new millenium. Other books such as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and the Tales of Peter Rabbit are still being enjoyed by children today. So how might teachers take advantage of the fact that these classics of children's literature are readily available?

Numerous sites now serve as depositories of public domain literature, some with simply the text, others elaborately designed utilizing hypertext and including original illustrations (see Literature Online for more examples of this).