From Bootstraps to Hands-up: A Multicultural Content Analysis of The Depiction of Poverty in Young Adult Literature

  • Crag Hill Jeanine Rainbolt College of Education The University of Oklahoma
  • Janine J. Darragh


This article describes the findings of a qualitative critical multicultural content analysis of 71 young adult (YA) novels depicting poverty and published between 1996 when the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton and 2013. The study answers three research questions: In what ways does YA literature published after the PRWORA portray poverty? How do those representations compare to current statistics regarding poverty in the United States? What do these depictions mean for teachers of English? The authors urge that instructors who use novels that depict poverty in preservice and/or graduate courses in young adult literature help build awareness of the complexity of poverty. 


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