Envisioning Possibility: Schooling and Student Agency in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

This article provides a rationale for using literature in the classroom to explore conceptions of curriculum and teaching. We discuss a number of exemplars from children’s and young adult fiction, both mainstream and less well known; offer a taxonomy for categorizing the range of visions of curriculum and teaching in the literature; and describe the responses of a group of middle school students to a unit that examined schooling in literature. We argue that reading literature which addresses student experiences in school can help students make sense of those experiences and, more importantly, open their minds to ideas about teaching and schooling that they otherwise might never have considered.