Monday, January 13, 2014

It's Monday What Are You Reading? Resilience Reading

"Good books build resilient souls, open hearts, change lives and change generations."
                       -Laurie Halse Anderson

Resilience:  the ability to recover readily from adversity.  Laurie Halse Anderson officially coined the term resilience fiction at ALAN 2013 in Boston to describe realistic fiction. These books are the ones that help teens, sometime adults, learn how to work through hard times.This week has been a sad week in my family. I know that it will soon get harder. I have been reading this week are My Parent has Cancer and it Really Sucks by Maya and Marc Silver and Laurie Halse Anderson's Impossible Knife of Memory.

I was lucky to hear both of the authors of these books at the ALAN conference.  I love the care and thoughtfulness that the authors' of My Parent has Cancer and It Really Sucks have taken with this book.  I think it also makes a great read for adults so they can garner possible perspectives that teens may take on the subject or help you answer questions.  I think every guidance counselor should have this book as a resource in their office as well as making sure it is in your classroom library.

What can I say about Laurie Halse Anderson's books that haven't been mentioned before.  She actively captures the grief process and the struggles that teens go through when their adult support systems fail.  Listen to NPR to learn more about Haylie's story and learn about how PSTD can affect generations.

Although I didn't read the following books this week, I think they are great books to hand to kids who might be dealing with hard times.  Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Mattson follows Amy's journey cross-country as she processes through the monumental changes that have come about in her life due to the death of her father and this story and Willow by Julie Hoban capture the same thoughts I had about my father's death.  elsewher by Gabrielle Zevin doesn't deal with the death of a parent, but deals with life after death.  It is a different yet compelling story that explores what could happen to us after death.  I love the world she has conceptualized.

I have either worked through my problems through reading, working or eating. Reading these books this week reminded me of other great books that have helped me navigate hard times, making sense of a parent dying or the dying process.  What I found is that authors of these titles have channeled emotions that mirrored mine and provided me with a map of sorts to process hard times. Resilience literature, however, also helps kids make a little sense about what their friends are going through during hard times.  They didn't write books like these 20 years ago when I needed them, but I can put them in kids' hands now.  We can never carry students through the journey, but they can at least hold their hand and possibly put the just-right book in it too.


  1. This is a wonderful post, resilience literature is definitely a gift we can give our students - so many thoughtful writers for YA out there hese days, which is lucky for us!

  2. Beautifully said. Now I can't wait to read Laurie Halse Anderson's novels!

  3. This post comes at just the right time, Beth. Thanks for the reminder that ideas for ways to solve or mange or cope with our own problems might be just a book away.


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