Young Adult Page
All of living is a process of coming of age, of reconciling the essence of the inner self with one's outer being, with the world, and with the changing expectations for that self in the world. The teen years, when young people are perched precariously on the brink between childhood and adult responsibilities, are, of course, when the coming of age process is most obvious. It is then that most young adults are making decisions which will have tremendous influence on the shape of their lives to come. Although the male coming of age story has been well documented, both in literature and in developmental theories, only lately have we realized that neither the authorized views of human development nor traditional coming of age novels really represent female lives.
Obviously, we need to be involved in changing all those societal factors that impede the development of young women, but we also need to actively present a wide variety of positive female images for them to emulate. Identifying strong female voices in children's and young adult literature and sharing that literature with young people is one way to present such positive images.
Many of us believe it is very important for young women to encounter the kinds of stories that will provide them with a rich variety of strong, female characters, both young protagonists and older women, to serve as role models at critical stages in their development. These stories help to shape the lives of young women and also help to shape the ways females are perceived by young males.
Allison, Dorothy. Bastard Out of Carolina. New York: Plume/Penguin Books, 1993.
Alvarez, Julia. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. New York: Plume/Penguin Books, 1992.
Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. New York: Random House, 1970.
Atwood, Margaret. Lady Oracle. New York: Fawcett Crest, 1976.
Averill, Thomas Fox. Secrets of the Tsil Cafe. New York: Berkley Publishing, 2002.
Barry, Lynda. Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.
Bedford, Simi. Yoruba Girl Dancing. New York: Viking, 1992.
Beals, Melba Pattillo. Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High. New York: Washington Square Press, 1994.
Bolton, Ruthie. Gal: A True Life. New York: Harcourt, 1994.
Brown, Rita Mae. Rubyfruit Jungle. New York: Bantam, 1977.
Cahill, Susan, ed. Growing Up Female: Stories of Women Writers from the American Mosaic. New York: Mentor, 1993.
Campbell, Bebe Moore. Sweet Summer: Growing Up With & Without My Dad. New York: Ballantine, 1989.
Cary, Lorene. Black Ice. New York: Knopf, 1991.
Chambers, Veronica. Mama's Girl. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996.
Chao, Patricia. Monkey King. New York: HarperCollins, 1997.
Chase, Joan. During the Reign of the Queen of Persia. New York: Ballantine Books, 1983.
Chernin, Kim. In My Mother's House: A Daughter's Story. New York: Harper & Row, 1983.
Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books, 1989.
Clair, Maxine. Rattlebone. New York: Penguin, 1994.
Cofer, Judith Ortiz. Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood. Houston, TX: Arte Publico Press, 1990.
Cohen, Leah Hager. Heat Lightning. New York: Avon Books, 1997.
Conway, Jill Ker. The Road from Coorain. New York: Knopf, 1989.
Corman, Avery. Prized Possessions. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.
Delany, Sarah Louise and A. Elizabeth Delaney. Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters' First 100 Years. New York: Kodansha International, 1993.
Dillard, Anne. An American Childhood. New York: HarperPerennial, 1988.
Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. New York: Holt, 1984.
Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments, With Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies. Trans. by Carol and Thomas Christenson. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Eulo, Elana Yates. A Southern Woman. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993.
Fitch, Janet. White Oleander. Boston, MA: Little Brown, 2000.
Fraser, Sylvia. My Father's House: Memoir of Incest and of Healing. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.
Gibbons, Kaye. Charms for an Easy Life. New York: Putnam, 1993.
Gibbons, Kaye. Ellen Foster. New York: Random House, 1988.
Greenberg, Joanne. No Reck'ning Made. New York: Holt, 1993.
Hammad, Suheir. Drops of This Story. New York: Harlem River Press, 1996.
hooks, bell. Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood. New York: Henry Holt, 1996.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper & Row, 1937.
Kaysen, Susanna. Girl Interrupted. New York: Turtle Bay Books, 1993.
Kincaid, Jamaica. Annie John. New York: Plume/Penguin, 1986.
Kincaid, Jamaica. Lucy. New York: Plume/Penguin, 1991.
Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. New York: Random House, 1976.
Laurence, Margaret. A Bird in the House. New York: University of Chicago Press, 1993.
Leffland, Ella. Rumors of Peace. New York: Harper & Row, 1979.
Loeb, Karen. Jump Rope Queen & Other Stories. Minneapolis, MN: New Rivers Press, 1992.
Lorde, Audre. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press, 1982.
McCullers, Carson. The Member of the Wedding. New York: Bantam, 1966. [c1946]
McKinley, Robin. Deerskin. New York: Ace, 1993.
Mairs, Nancy. Remembering the Bone House: An Erotics of Place and Space. New York: Harper & Row, 1989.
Major, Devorah. An Open Weave. New York: Berkley, 1997.
Manning, Martha. Chasing Grace: Reflections of a Catholic Girl Growing Up. San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1996.
Marshall, Paule. Brown Girl, Brownstones. New York: The Feminist Press, 1981.
Minatoya, Lydia. Talking to High Monks in the Snow: An Asian American Odyssey. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. New York, Dell, 1982 [c.1968]
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Pocket Books, 1970.
Oates, Joyce Carol. I Lock My Door Upon Myself. New York: Plume/Penguin, 1991.
Oates, Joyce Carol. We Were the Mulvaneys. New York: Dutton/Plume, 2001.
Oufkir, Malika and Michelle Fitoussi. Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail. Trans. by Ros Schwartz. New York: Hyperion Press, 2001.
Palwick, Susan. Flying in Place. New York: TOR, 1992.
Piercy, Marge. Braided Lives. New York: Fawcett Crest, 1982.
Quindlen, Anna. Object Lessons. New York: Random House, 1991.
Riley, Patricia, ed. Growing Up Native American. New York: Avon, 1993.
Robinson, Marilynne. Housekeeping. New York: Bantam, 1982.
Rubio, Gwyn Hyman. Icy Sparks: A Novel. New York: Viking Penquin, 2001.
Sanders, Dori. Her Own Place: A Novel. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 1993.
Sanders-Self, Melissa. All That Lives: A Novel of the Bell Witch. New York: Warner Books, 2002.
Santiago, Esmeralda. When I Was Puerto Rican. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1993.
Sapphire. Push. New York: Knopf, 1996.
Sarton, May. Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing. New York: Norton, 1975.
Sexton, Linda Grey. Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton. Boston, MA: Little Brown, 1994.
Shange, Ntozake. Betsey Brown. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1985.
Shange, Ntozake. Liliane: Resurrection of the Daughter. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994.
Smith, Lee. Fair and Tender Ladies. New York: Putnam, 1988.
Sone, Monica. Nisei Daughter. Boston, MA: Little Brown, 1953.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York: Putnam, 1989.
Thisman, Jean. Molly Donnelly. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. New York: Washington Square Press, 1983.
Winterson, Jeanette. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1985.
Woodson, Jacqueline. Autobiography of a Family Photo. New York: Dutton, 1995.
Young Adult Page
Created September 22, 1995 and is continuously revised
SCILS, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey