In LIS 677 Literacy and Literature for Young Adults, we used a youth lens to situate ourselves as adult librarians selecting resources for teens. Student presenters will share topical resource lists that share multiple intersections and draw on some of the newest materials for teens that address social and cultural issues using humor, advocacy, and the voices of teens.
Mental Health in Young Adult Literature Resource Guide by Kelsey Thomas
For my final project I chose to focus on mental health resources for teenagers. While there are still a good number of YA books that focus on suicide or don’t portray the accuracy of the recovery and treatment for mental health books with healthy and supportive discussions of mental health have been steadily on the rise in the last few years. I wanted to curate a list of books that myself and other reviewers felt did justice to the complexities of mental health issues, and portrayed mentally ill characters as well rounded individuals that existed outside of their illness. This was the jumping off point for my list, although I quickly decided to include a variety of community and story resources where teens could read about others’ experiences with mental health.
Looking for resources online I wanted to balance informational websites with community building or ‘testimonials.’ In mental health resources it’s invaluable to find real life stories and to hear about people who are struggling sometimes and coping sometimes, and my challenge was to find these spaces that catered to youth. Considering our class discussions on youth lense, I wanted to make sure I was choosing resources that spoke to teen and from teens. Authenticity came up in our discussions a lot and I felt that would be even more critical when dealing with such stigmatized topics in mental health.
I found so many great resources and great books, that it was hard to choose the most relevant. Curating for the annotated version was difficult, especially in terms of gearing the language to teens. Summarizing books that I have yet to read was somewhat challenging but I was able to pull out the elements of reviews that had sparked my inclination to include the book in this list. This list turned out to be something I’m dying to hand over to teens who need these books and stories.