Young Adult Lit/Crit

February 8, 2008

CNN correlation

Filed under: DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? — kariredmond @ 4:42 pm

I was browsing the news on Cnn.com and saw this that might be of interest to those who are thinking about using DOES MY HEAD with their students.

~Kari

Tonight’s Lit Circle

Filed under: DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? — kariredmond @ 4:26 am

Tonight three of us (Mandy, Allison, and myself) met to discuss the novel Does My Head Look Big In This? I think that we were very successful in bringing up some relevent issues in the novel and how it would relate to adolescent students. 

For example, Mandy brought up the important point that a lot of the validation that Amal, the main character, gets is coming from the male antagonist Adam.  I hadn’t really considered that before the literature circle, and it was definately interesting how three people can have very different perspectives on the same novel. 

Allison mentioned the extraordinary use of stereotypes by the author.  Almost every character in the novel are turned into an example of common stereotypes.  I had noticed some of the stereotypes in the story, but focusing on that in our lit circle really helped bring more details to light.

Allison also brought up the scene in the novel where Amal is matching her headband with her scarf, and we all agreed that we had not considered the hijab as a fashion accessory of sorts.  I was interested mostly in how the hijab is viewed so differently as a symbol of the religion by different people in the novel.  Amal’s parents and muslim family members saw the hijab as a “coming of age” and viewed it as enhancing her beauty.  At school and on the bus, however, people were taken aback and saw it as a sign of a religious zealot and viewed her as someone to avoid. 

 Basically the literature circle was a great method of analysing the important points of the novel with the use of other’s perspectives as well as my own.  I appreciated the questions brought to the table by my “circle-mates” and I definately enjoyed their feedback on my questions.  We discussed how the novel could be useful in the classroom setting and also shared texts that could be used in conjunction with this novel. 

For example: The American Teenage Muslim Handbook by Dilara Hafiz

and   “Alone and All Together” by Joseph Geha from a collection of short stories that explores the issues of contemporary urban youth.

Hope this helps a little…. we covered an array of topics in our lit circle, and I am sure my “circle-mates” will have more to add if I haven’t stolen all of our thunder!

~Kari

February 4, 2008

Afterthoughts

Filed under: DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? — Mandy @ 4:36 am

Today I finished Does My Head Look Big In This? and I think this book is a great read for adolescents. First, there is an admirable and courageous female protagonists who is funny, inspiring and constantly drawing deep and profound observations about herself and the world around her. Secondly, this story is not a fairy tale high school romance, which I think many of us can appreciate, as this is definitely a reoccurring theme in young adult lit. Further, this is the first book I have read about an adolescent and her faith. There seem to be a lack of stories that focus on teens and religion, which is unfortunate, as I think religion is universally important topic. At the same time, many other contemporary issues are also raised in the text, including arranged marriages, cultural conflicts, stereotypes, sexism and teenage rebellion, and all of this is done through an eleventh grade Muslim teenager’s perspective. This book could definitely fit into our classrooms, and we could use multiple theories with it, including but not limited to feminist, Marxist and cultural theory.

Also, there are several memorable quotes in the text that I have marked, but one of my favorites is when Amal says “…in the land of high school, sexual rejection is catastrophic” (254). Another quote that I think is great is “Sometimes it’s easy to lose faith in people. And sometimes one act of kindness is all it takes to give you hope again” (161). These among others are very insightful thoughts, and it would be interesting to discuss these with teens. In the meantime, I look forward to discussing this title with my peers in our literature circle this week!

-Mandy

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