Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Acknowledging Ability and Agency in Book Discussion Communities

Adolescent Boys Experiencing Psychosocial Distress Examine Suicide in Young Adult Novels

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2018), 12, (3), 287–302.

Abstract

A reading community of adolescent boys who evidenced psychosocial disabilities identified two books as influential in contemplating the issue of teen suicide. Through the lens of Disability Studies, this critical inquiry not only reveals literature’s role in supporting readers’ self-awareness and agency, despite marginalization by social and historical constructs, but also offers opportunities for the adolescents to critique the status quo, create personal insights on the issue of teen suicide, and share the realities of their lives with the teacher facilitating their discussions. The article points to the potential of young adult (YA) literature, shared strategically with attention to bibliotherapy principles, to impact both how youth situate themselves in society and how others support their identity development.

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Author details

Mathis, Janelle

Vaughan, Polly