13 July 2012

SLJ Positive Book Review for Readers Guide to Street Lit

From School Library Journal, July 2012:

MORRIS, Vanessa Irvin. The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Street Literature.168p. appendix. bibliog. index. websites. CIP. ALA. 2012. pap. $48. ISBN 978-0-8389-1110-5. LC 2011029685. 

Morris sets out to help public and school librarians gain an understanding of the content and history of street lit. In her introduction, she reiterates the need for this literature wherever there is demand, whether the collection is for teen or adult readers. She calls for librarians to be both knowledgeable about the genre and to be readers of it, and advocates for them not to judge or dismiss its fans. Morris sets the record straight that street lit is about more than drug dealers and domestic violence. It focuses primarily on African American characters and is about life and survival in inner-city, lower-income areas. She compares the genre to other early survival-story novels such as Daniel Defoe’sMoll Flanders and Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. She suggests series titles, individual titles, both fiction and nonfiction, and lists a few Christian teen-friendly series. The book discusses the appeal, characteristics, the structure of the genre, and mentions themes and subgenres, YA recommendations, and tips for selection and readers’ advisory. In this comprehensive book, Morris provides excellent input to aid in collection development and includes a list of publishers.– Adrienne L. Strock, Maricopa County Library District, AZ

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