It is a bit surreal when a project you have been working on for years is finally ready for public consumption. The edited collection that I have been working on with Casey Wilson for the past 800 million years (or 4 years, depending on your perspective) is finally live in the University Press of Mississippi catalog. The book is scheduled to be published April 2020, so you can’t quite hold it in your hand yet, but it does look and sound very real from the catalog description.
From the catalog:
While critical and popular attention aﬀorded to twenty-ﬁrst-century young adult literature has exponentially increased in recent years, classroom materials and scholarship have remained static in focus and slight in scope.
Twilight, The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Hate U Give overwhelm conversations among scholars and critics – but these are far from the only texts in need of analysis.
Beyond the Blockbusters: Themes and Trends in Contemporary Young Adult Fiction offers a necessary remedy to this limiting perspective, bringing together essays about the many subgenres, themes, and character types that have until now been overlooked. The collection tackles a diverse range of topics – modern updates to the marriage plot; fairy tale retellings in dystopian settings; stories of extrajudicial police killings and racial justice. The approaches are united, though, by a commitment to exploring the large-scale generic and theoretical structures at work in each set of texts.
As a collection, Beyond the Blockbusters is an exciting entryway into a field that continues to grow and change even as its works captivate massive audiences. It will prove a crucial addition to the library of any scholar or instructor of young adult literature.
You can find the complete University Press of Mississippi Spring-Summer 2020 catalog here!
I’m delighted to announce that my most recent article has been published in the Lion and the Unicorn‘s January 2019 issue. This article came out of a very public kerfuffle on Twitter that played out in real-time while I was teaching my course on Bestsellers, Best Of and Banned Books at Georgia Tech. I was blessed with 75 students who helped unpack the events as they happened in real time as well as two incredible co-authors, Karen Viars and Liz Holdsworth, who brought their expertise in fan culture and library acquisitions to the project. Come for the public spectacle, stay for the nuanced reading of best-seller lists, public interactions of YA professionals via Twitter, and a look at the impact of faking bestseller status on library acquisition policies.
Article Citation: Fitzsimmons, Rebekah, Karen Viars and Liz Holdsworth. “YA Twitter versus Handbook for Mortals: A Case Study in Bestseller List Manipulation, Controversy, and the Effects on Library Acquisition.” The Lion and the Unicorn, vol. 43 no. 1, 2019, pp. 108-132. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/uni.2019.0006
I will be presenting at the Ivan Allen College Advance Lunch and Discussion this Thursday, February 28 from noon – 1:30. The overall theme of the discussion is “Envisioning & Shaping Futures: On-Line Teaching and Learning” and I will be talking specifically about using Twitter in the online/hybrid classroom to help bolster discussion and community exchange.
Gallery Talk: Children’s Literature, Illustration, and Collecting Books
Discover insights into children’s literature, understand illustration styles, and learn how book collections are curated, featuring four local panelists. Free.
Wednesday, July 11, 7:00pm
Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking 500 10th St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30332
I’ll be talking specifically about the creation and marketing of the Golden Book series and their role in the landscape of children’s literature today.
This year at CHLA in San Antonio, Texas I am making two presentations.
On Friday, June 29 at 11:00 am, I am participating in Panel 3B: The Syllabus Exchange. I will be presenting on Multimodal Assignments and talking about my most recent course, The History and Rhetoric of Science Writing for Children.
If you attended but were unable to take a copy of my handout home with you, please feel free to download a copy here:
CHLA 2018 Syllabus Swap Handout: Multimodal Assignments
On Saturday, June 30 at 3:30pm in the June Cummins room, I will be presenting a conference paper entitled “The Handbook for Mortals and the Muddy Waters of YA Best Seller Status.” If an attempt to make my presentation more accessible, please feel free to take a look at the complete PPT slide deck and the text version of my talk, available below.
Presentation Script (Text only version)
Handbook Muddy Waters PowerPoint Presentation
I hope to see you in San Antonio!
I will be presenting on the 2018 MLA Panel 314 titled “Blended Learning: Balancing Social Media and Face-to-Face Pedagogies.” The panel is sponsored by the HEP* Teaching as a Profession and will take place on Friday, January 5, 2018, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Chelsea Room, Sheraton.
My paper “Better Learning through Hashtags: Building Community and Improving Discussion with Twitter” will discuss productive ways to integrate Twitter into composition and English classroom practices; it will cover both general best practice guidelines and specific examples of successful activities, based on a case-study course taught at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2016 and 2017. This presentation will argue that as a classroom tool, Twitter can be used to improve comprehension, expand peer-to-peer interaction, reinforce active learning, and introduce multimodal forms of class participation. Well-designed Twitter assignments and activities can expand students’ spheres of interaction beyond the physical classroom and into a digital social media environment. This presentation will discuss the potential of “livetweeting” as a framework for student active learning work that embraces the interactive and collaborative nature of Twitter as a social media platform.
My Powerpoint is available here: MLA2018_BetterLearningThroughHashtags
I will be presenting at SAMLA 2017 on Sunday, November 1!
11-21 Beyond the Blockbusters: Themes and Trends in Contemporary Young Adult Literature
Chair: Rachel Dean-Ruzicka, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Rachel Dean-Ruzicka,
Georgia Institute of Technology (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“Say Something Once, Why Say it Again?” The Prolifera on of Psychics and Psychos in Young Adult Literature
- Rebekah Fitzsimmons, Georgia Institute of Technology
Genre Conventions of YA Dystopian Trilogies
- Ya’ara Notea, Beit Berl College (email@example.com)
Reimagining Forma on: The Female Bildungsroman’s Comeback in the 21st Century
- Jeremy Johnston, University of Western Ontario (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Purging the Silence: Young Adult Literature and the Discourse of Mental Health
Special thanks to Rachel Dean-Ruzicka for organizing the panel!