Coming of Age in Comics and YA | Newberry

Coming of Age in Comics and YA

Monday, February 29, 2016

9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Led by Ji-Hyae Park, Roosevelt University
Full, wait list available
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

Comics, along with YA literature, have become the target—or scapegoat—yet again for those who decry the downward spiral of American culture. The urge to adapt comic book franchises and YA series into blockbuster movies have raised the hackles of critics who associate their popularity with the “death of adulthood in American culture,” the discouragement of originality and creativity, and the stultification of readers. These public outcries against comics and YA occur even as many teachers, librarians, and other adult readers have promoted the use of comics in the classroom to aid in teaching literacies, advocate for updating resources and expanding titles in YA and comics to appeal to today’s adolescents and teens, and form book clubs exclusively devoted to reading YA literature. Coming of age seems to be the common ground in the complaint against the influence of comics and YA on contemporary culture, yet this is a trope at least as old as the origins of the novel. Why is “coming of age” under attack? Why are comics and YA being targeted often in similar terms, especially when the trends of representing coming of age in YA literature, associated with dystopian fantasy and adventure, are different from some of the recent trends in youth-oriented graphic novels, based in realism and family or domestic drama? In this seminar we will examine the trends in YA literature and comics as they represent coming of age in order to investigate the ways in which the two intersect and depart, as well as interrogate why the trope of coming of age might be a source of cultural anxiety.

Cost and Registration Information 

Newberry Teachers’ Consortium members may register for this seminar through their designated membership contact as space permits. Non-member educators may register for this seminar by purchasing an individual membership at the time of registration. Registration for all NTC seminars opens Wednesday, September 2, 2015. For more information about NTC membership, please contact Charlotte Ross, Teacher Programs Manager, at

The seminar will be followed by a catered lunch. Registrants should RSVP for lunch to assist Teacher Programs staff in reducing waste.

A link to the assigned pre-readings for this seminar will be distributed to participants via email.

If you believe you are registered for this seminar but have not received an email confirmation or reminder, please contact Teacher Programs staff.

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