New Year, New Feature | A Call for Rural YA/MG Book Reviews

Although I didn’t do a formal year in review this year (I’ll probably do one in June for the site’s anniversary), I’m always looking at what our guest contributors, YA authors, and I have been accomplishing through various Literacy In Place facets.

Because I started this site with the intention of helping pre- and in-service teachers find resources to help them teach in ways that honor and recognize rural experiences through various literacy practices, I’m constantly thinking about what more the site could do to aid in that endeavor.

What I landed on this year was that, while my Reading Rural YAL YouTube series and podcast provides the opportunity for teachers/readers/listeners to learn in-depth about a handful of books, it doesn’t afford us breadth. I tried using Goodreads, but I’m absolutely terrible at it, and I’ve finally decided just to face that fact and try something new. And, sure, there’s the list, but that puts the onus on teachers who are super busy to do some of that legwork themselves.

I’m only one person and I can only read and review so many books during the year, so I decided to take a page out of Dr. Steve Bickmore’s YA Wednesday, and invite folks to contribute their reviews for the collective greater good. So, if you’ve read some rural YA or middle grades books this year and would like to contribute your thoughts to the good of the cause, I’d love to hear from you.

Invitation and Call for Reviews

Finding reviews specific to rural young adult and middle grades literature is difficult to say the least. They make an appearance every now and then, but usually in a list that is dedicated to some other theme or facet and not with specific consideration of rural representation and potential for rural ELA curriculum.

So, that’s what I’d like this space to become.

Reviews will be relatively brief 1000 – 1500 word considerations of the text. Though I’m open to ideas and suggestions, I imagine they would look something like this:

  • Summary of the book (no spoilers!)
  • Mini-analysis regarding how it handles issues facing rural places and communities. 
  • Whether or not/why you recommend the book.
  • A critical rural teaching idea or application

If you or your students have read rural YA or MG books and would like to tell others about them/recommend to other readers or for inclusion in rural ELA curriculum, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks to Jesse Bair for being the one to go first. Check out is recent review of Adam Cesare’s Clown in a Cornfield.

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