March 12, 2015

Urban Fiction/Street Literature....The Debate Continues

    Yesterday I was informed that there was an interesting discussion about Urban Fiction/Street Literature on the YALSA listserv. After reading the posts and sleeping on it, I decided to put in my two cents.

  I've been using and advocating the use of the genre of Urban Fiction/Street Literature for over 10 years with allot of successes. I pride myself on having a healthy mix of teen friendly and adult Street Lit. books for my teen readers. Regardless of how one may feel about this genre, it's here to stay. 

My student Rebekah describes what Street Lit. means to her and her classmates who live in the Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago.

My Final Thoughts About Urban Fiction/Street Lit.

1. All stories have VALUE, regardless of the lens/perspective it's told from.

2. Who are any of us (librarians/libraries) to say Urban Fiction is not a genre?

3. Urban Fiction is a genre and Street Literature is a sub-genre of Urban Fiction, both should be respected as such.

4. Urban Fiction is a genre that should be in all library collections for teens and adults. As should other books about various subjects and cultures.

5. To make excuses (I've heard many of them) not to include them is just plain sad and a disservice to your patrons.

6. Urban Fiction is a genre that should not be ignored by librarians. This genre has served as a catalyst to jump start reluctant readers to read more frequently.

7. Urban Fiction has provided a pipeline for readers to learn/understand communities unlike their

8. From my personal experience, many critics of Urban Fiction have not bothered to either read not just one book, but a body of work representing various authors and reading levels.

9. Many critics of Urban Fiction just don't understand it. Just think about it: What happens when we don't understand something....We reject it.

10. Many librarians have Young Adult Urban Fiction and Street Literature books within their collections, and are unaware of their genre classification.

 If you would like to read more on this subject of Urban Fiction/Street Literature you can read my blog post on my other blog, MissDomino.BlogSpot

"Street Lit. Writers Must Be Heard" 

Another post that should be read is Amy Koester's blog post,
"Selection is Privilege"


  1. K.C. Thank you so very, very much for this! I teach reading at Rockford East High School and we are in dire need of new books for our Reading classes. My very generous principal has graciously shared some Title I funds with us and I need recommendations! Do you have a list of publishers or titles that I can peruse? Thanks for all you do to get books into our kid's hands! Nicole Gasparini, Strategic Literacy Interventionist, Rockford East High School, nicole.gasparini@rps205,com, Currently Reading: At the Scene of the Crime: Forensic Mysteries from Today's Best Writers

  2. We have an Urban Fiction collection for adults and teens in our public library. The Urban Fiction collection is very popular. In the beginning we were criticized for having the collection. However many of our suburban libraries have noticed the need for such books and are purchasing them too.
    Kitty, Saddleback Eductional Publishing has a great collection for teens. It's called the Urban Underground. It has great urban books.

  3. Looking for Great Street Lit. Reads? Check out, 'The Street Literature Book Award' - Medal Winners (1999 - PRESENT)
    Dr. Vanessa Irvin Morris created this award list several years ago to highlight the very best in Street Lit. each year. I have had the pleasure of serving as a committee member for this award. Check out some of the titles:

  4. You have a good point here!I totally agree with what you have said!!Thanks for sharing your views...hope more people will read this article!!!