Letter: Young People’s Literature

Long Writing

Brown Girl Dreaming

  • Duration:
  • Intended for: Individuals
  • Formality: Graded
  • Completes in: 6 steps
  • Comments: 0
  • Materials: 4
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Melody has been teaching developmental writing at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park since 2011, having previously taught composition and developmental writing at Southwestern Illinois College,…

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Assignment Overview

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This is usually the penultimate or final assignment of a class focused on Brown Girl Dreaming. (See Brown Girl Dreaming sample syllabus here.)

Students sometimes realize that Brown Girl Dreaming won the National Book Award; sometimes they notice that it was in the category of Young People’s Literature. One semester, this sparked a long discussion about what that award category means, how it made college students feel, and whether it changed how they viewed the book and themselves.

For this assignment, students write a letter to the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation, advocating for or against the removal of the category Young People’s Literature, based on their personal reflections on the category.

Students will read this article by Steven Vanderstaay in Step 2.

Required Materials
  • YA Literature Article
  • Woodson National Book Award Video
  • Brown Girl Dreaming text
  • Computer
Skills Developed
  • Reflection
  • Narration
  • Incorporating Quotations
  • Letter Format
  • Argument
  • Audience Appeals
6 Steps to complete

1. Young People

2. Read YA Article

3. First Draft

4. Audience Analysis

5. Peer & Instructor Review

6. Final Submission

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