Series Foreword

Exploring Social Issues through Literature was developed as a resource to help teachers and librarians keep pace with secondary school curriculum developments in the language arts such as integrated studies and teaching literature across the curriculum. Each volume in the open-ended series confronts an important social issue that has both historical ramifications and contemporary relevance to high school students. The initial topics developed for the series reflect the 'hot button' issues most requested by educators. Themes—such as environmental issues, bioethics, and racism—encompass a considerable body of literature. The books in this series provide readers with an introduction to the topic and examine the differing perspectives offered by authors and writers from a variety of time periods and literary backgrounds.

This resource was developed to address students' needs and appeal to their interests. The literary works selected range from standard canonical works to contemporary and multicultural adult fiction that would be familiar to teens and to young adult fiction readers. Many titles are found on curriculum reading lists; other considerations in selection include pertinence, interest level, subject and language appropriateness, and the availability and accessibility of the text to the nonspecialist. The authors of these volumes, all experts in their fields, also sought to include a wide spectrum of works offering as many differing perspectives on the issue as possible.

Each volume begins with an introductory essay tracing the historical and literary developments related to the identified social issue. The chapters provide brief biographical information on the writer and present critical analysis of one or more works of literature. While the focus of the chapters is generally full-length fiction, it is not limited to that and may also include plays, poetry, short stories, or non-fiction—such as essays or memoirs. In most chapters works are arranged chronologically to reflect the historical trends and developments. In other cases works are grouped according to thematic subtopics. The analysis includes discussions of the work's structural, thematic, and stylistic components and insights on the historical context that relates the work to the broader issue. Chapters conclude with bibliographic information on works cited and a list of suggested readings that may be helpful for further research or additional assignments. Please see author's Preface for this book's extended uses.

Educators looking for new ways to present social issues will find this resource valuable for presenting thematic reading units or historical perspectives on modern problems of conflict. Students of literature as well as general readers will find many ideas and much inspiration in this series.

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