Opinion, Vision, and Essays by American Teenagers
Edited by Abe Louise Young with the youth board of Next Generation Press
Preface by Dixie Goswami, Breadloaf School of English
March 2006 ♦ Paperback ♦ 208 pages ♦ ISBN: 0-9762706-2-5 ♦ $12.95
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What is on the minds of America's youth? There is no better way to find out than to read their essays, speeches, and poems on topics they consider urgent. More than fifty young writers-from villages in Alaska to housing projects in Alabama-tell what matters to them in a remarkable new anthology: Hip Deep: Opinion, Vision, and Essays by American Teenagers. The book combines the adrenalin of fresh viewpoints with eye-opening stories about the diverse conditions of teenagers' lives.
William Harvey tells of playing his violin for soldiers digging through Ground Zero. Eric Green writes a moving account of struggling to succeed in high school despite his fetal alcohol syndrome. Telvi Alitimirano, a fifteen-year-old Latina from Texas, contributes a sassy manifesto about her choice to remain a virgin, standing her ground with style against "all those little boys who try to hit me up." Matan Prilletinsky gives a scathing analysis of the juvenile death penalty. Juliana Partridge examines her biracial identity: "I am the taste of daybreak, the initiator of a new world."
Other writers take on international politics, gay marriage, divorce, religious and cultural freedom, poverty, sports, and many other subjects. The young editors of Hip Deep culled essays, poems, speeches, and radio journals from the most distinctive work by people under age 19, first published in print, on websites, or on airwaves in America over the last three years.
Hip Deep is revealing news for adult readers, and inspiration for youth who have something to say. It ends with a practical guide for young writers seeking to publish their work, and a comprehensive list of the best venues for youth publication. Urging teachers to bring it into their classrooms, Dixie Goswami, who directs the Breadloaf School of English Teacher Network at Middlebury College, writes in her preface: "Hip Deep provides us with ways of understanding what literacy means, at a time when opportunities are increasing for teenagers to publish, electronically and in print."
Out in the world, readers and writers are already taking note. Poet Naomi Shihab Nye calls Hip Deep "a collection to wipe the sorrowful spin of news from our eyes and ears, to remind us there is truth out there somewhere, and it's young as well as timeless, and it feels wonderful to find it. This is a book for every teacher, every high school, every parent, and every person in this land who cares about the intriguing, necessary stories of young lives."
Click here to download (PDF) excerpts from the book.
“This collection of essays and poems by teens should inspire even the most reluctant writer to press on. . . . [These young authors] expose themselves from the inside out and launch themselves onto new paths.”
- Leslie Carter, Voices of Youth Advocates