Building Resilience Through Young Adult Literature
Laurie Halse Anderson’s young adult novels offer a respectful and honest view of the difficult issues faced by teens today. Wildly popular with teens and teachers alike, Anderson’s novels tackle deep, devastating topics such as rape, eating disorders, sexual abuse, violence, bullying, and post-traumatic stress disorder. While some people see contemporary realistic fiction for teens as “problem literature”, the organizing principle of this guide is different. Some time ago, an educator told Anderson that these books are best described as “resilience literature,” and we agree with that categorization. Resilience is the ability to persevere or cope when faced with stress or trauma. We demonstrate resilience when we adapt, stabilize, or reorganize after suffering. These books are best understood by reading them as a collection of stories that emphasize the resilient nature of teenagers.