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08 January 2009 @ 09:52 am
book and body image  

A mixture of essays and short stories and stories in poetry form combine in DOES THIS BOOK MAKE ME LOOK FAT? (Clarion, 2008). So many teens, especially girls, deal with issues about their bodies. Sara Zarr, Barry Lyga, Coe Booth, Carolyn Mackler, and other YA authors offer up their takes on the theme for the collection. Daniel Pinkwater's essay opens the collection with his always witty and sharp observations. Carolyn Mackler muses about some people's reactions to meeting her and discovering she is not fat unlike her protagonist in THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS. Ellen Hopkins' trademark story in verse tells of the struggles of a young girl to win the approval of her own father. Barry Lyga teams with illustrator Jeff Dillon to offer s short graphic story about two heavy teens who meet at summer camp.

Though I read story collections from front to back I do not recommend this approach for anyone else. Instead, offer students some of these stories as independent reads (try Jacklyn Moriarty's "Waterlily", which combines fantasy and body image in a wonderfully wrought story) or study the structure of the personal essay or short story using one of the entries. And do not forget to include other story collections most notably those edited by Don Gallo, too.
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