Welcome to the online companion resource for the presentation Connecting Religious Teens with Literature!

This presentation was part of part of the  2010 YALSA’s Young Adult Literature Symposium and was presented by Sarah Holtkamp and Jennifer Lowe. You have stumbled upon an electronic location of our handouts from the conference.

Why Religion?

We chose this topic because it is one that made both of us nervous.

Nothing is more terrifying for a librarian than a reference question they have no idea how to answer. This can be even more frustrating when it is a Reader’s Advisory question. The goal is to help everyone leave the library with a book in their hand and when this doesn’t happen, it can be very sad.

For both of us, we found that we struggled in this area. Neither of us comes from a particularly religious background. Religion is often something that librarians shy away from. It means different things to different people, so it can be tricky! We realized that we were being asked questions about religion and felt very anxious to answer them. What better way to solve this problem than to dive in headfirst and create a presentation to familiarize ourselves with this topic?

Why did we decide to talk about these specific topics?

First of all, we knew we had to limit ourselves. Because of what we wanted to share with you, we knew that we would not have enough time to go through every religion. We decided to focus on Evangelical Christianity and Islam because those are two communities that we serve and have the most contact with (and have received the most questions from!)

We are not trying to purposely exclude anyone, rather we hope to focus and investigate these two areas more in depth. I would like to encourage each of you to consider your library and the communities you serve and determine areas you need to work on, just as we did.

For the purposes of this presentation, our definition of young adults is 6th-12th graders. We choose literature we are discussing today for a spectrum of ages.

We think every teenager has a right to find a reflection of themselves in a book. Perhaps not an exact match, but minimally aspects of their lives. Growing up as white, middle-class Americans we took this for granted and realize how important it was for our personal development and how much it impacted the people we are today.

Below are lists of resources we want to share with you.


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