Living in a Global Society: Prejudice, Politics, Conflicts, and War
Not only does realistic fiction reflect on issues and problems that young adults find in their everyday lives in America, but it also asks young adults to look at issues in a global society. These multicultural themes, while often containing some of the previously addressed issues such as developing and maturing or family relationships, focus on other cultures or on global issues. Books such as Suzanne Fisher Staples’s Shabanu (1989), Naomi Shihab Nye’s Habibi (1997), Gloria Whelan’s Homeless Bird (2000), Nancy Farmer’s A Girl Named Disaster (1996), and Anton Ferreira’s Zulu Dog (2002) present pictures of teenagers in other cultures.
Prejudice can be found almost anywhere. Kate, who is half-white, finds it in Hawaii in Dance for the Land (McLaren, 1999), and Zack, who has a Jewish father and a black mother, finds it with his grandfather in Mississippi in Zack (Bell, 1999).
Although the Cold War is over, teenagers today hear and read about conflicts, strife, and terrorism both at home and abroad. Several young adult novels look at the problems faced by teenagers throughout the world as they try to cope with conflict. In Deborah Ellis’s Parvana’s Journey (2002), a young girl tries to survive in Taliban-threatened Afghanistan, while in Jan Simeon and John Nieuwenhuizen’s What About Anna? (2002), Anna tries to learn the truth about her brother’s death from a landmine in Bosnia. Because Slade’s father is a muckraking journalist, she and her brother must flee Nigeria in Beverley Naidoo’s The Other Side of Truth (2001).
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