Shadow image of child reading outside

Liberating Literature in Our Classrooms and Libraries with Julia Torres

In Episode 51, young people are engaging with literature in ways that are quite different to prior generations. We’ll explore young adult fiction that reflects our students’ lives, issues and worlds. We’ll also challenge the traditional literary canon along the way.

Episode 51

CLICK PLAY to listen to Julia Torres

Episode Guest

  • Julia Torres is a Language Arts Teacher at a public high school in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Quick Guide

  • Julia introduces herself
  • Challenging the rhetoric that students don’t like to read  
  • How students encounter literacy or literature in ways that are different to prior generations
  • The appeal of visual narratives
  • Responding to pressure to read novels and longer form texts 
  • What reading looks like in the wild and reading for academics
  • Focusing on falling in love with reading first
  • Privileging conformity and compliance for grades  
  • Liberatory Education – Supporting critical consciousness
  • Whose cultural capital are we valuing?
  • Building reading stamina
  • Genrifying the library
    • Genrefication Motivation blogpost
  • Not being tamed, not being transformed in a library
    • How to Fly with Clipped Wings blogpost
  • Beyond shaming with the literary canon
  • Honoring our ancestors: connecting students to their histories
  • Exploring Young Adult fiction
    • The Long Way Down – Jason Reynolds
    • Poet X – Elizabeth Acevedo
    • Literary Canon Boom blogpost
  • Moving beyond Representation involving suffering and overcoming the odds
  • Socially conscious messages (in text) and push-back in schools
  • Unpacking The Tyranny of Canonical Texts article by Paul Thomas
  • Loyalty to the stories of today
  • Unsung Heroes segment
  • Twists and Turns segment
  • Literary Resources chat
  • Closing
  • I Knew I Was On the Right Track segment

Episode related links

  • Blogposts discussed –  written by Julia Torres


    Authors Discussed:

    • Akwaeke Emezi – Pet
    • David Bowles – Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of the Sky
    • Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely – All American Boys
    • Jason Reynolds – Long Way Down
    • Elizabeth Acevedo – The Poet X
    • Kwame Mbalia – Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
    • Nella Larsen – Passing
    • W. H. Auden – The Unknown Citizen
    • bell hooks – Teaching to Transgress
    • Rivers Solomon – The Deep
    • Renee Watson


    Revising Our Ideas of History and the Role Education has in a System of Oppression

    • Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi – Stamped
    • Debbie Reese and Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz- An Indigenous People’s History of the USA for Young People
    • Paul Ortiz – A Black and Latinx History of the USA
    • Ngogi Wa Thiongo – Decolonising the Mind
    • Paulo Freire – Pedagogy of Freedom & Education for Critical Consciousness
    • Tammy Schwartz and Rachel Radina – Radical Love as Resistance: Youth Participatory Action Research for Transformation
    • Dr. Bettina Love – We Want to Do More Than Survive


    Book List Recommendations

    Barnes and Noble Book List Recommendations

    New York Times Book List Recommendations

    Australian Young Adult fiction

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