Growing Up Brave on the Margins: Courage and Coming of Age

Growing Up Brave on the Margins

Created by Susana M. Morris, Associate Professor of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Anna Cvitkovic, Teen Librarian at the San Francisco Public Library.

About the theme

Growing from a child to a teenager to a young adult usually involves a number of rites of passage. From bar and bat mitzvahs, sweet sixteen parties, and quinceñeras, to getting a driver’s license, attending prom, and graduating from high school, there are any number of formal and often public rituals that mark the steady journey from childhood to adulthood. While these events vary from culture to culture, they usually include educational milestones, parties that celebrate maturity, and special responsibilities that reflect newfound trust from one’s community. These moments can be both scary and exciting.

However, many formative moments for young people happen in more informal settings. Everything from dating to dealing with family or society at large all provide opportunities for challenge and growth. And the truth is that young people are not navigating these public and private moments in a vacuum. Indeed, young people are sometimes figuring out their morals, values, and increasing independence while living in societies that do not always value their newfound voices. This circumstance is drawn into particularly sharp relief for young people in historically marginalized groups. Not only do they have to figure out all the “normal” stuff that comes with growing up, they have to do so with the added burden of negative social pressure. Continue reading about this theme.

Reading List

  • Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
  • X: A Novel by Ilyashah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Programming Materials

Promotional Materials

See Also