NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

Bringing Education to You

Course Descriptions

Examining Young Adult Literature Genres, Part 5

EDUC 2000

Throughout the four weeks of this course, participants will read and reflect upon two exceptional young adult novels in the genre of realistic fiction through online discussions and assessments incorporating the following: genres, theme analyzation, real-world connections, multiple perspectives, problem- solving, and personal experiences.


Participants will:

  • Examine and read young adult literature for the following: genres, analyzing themes, real-world connections, multiple perspectives, problem-solving, and personal experiences.
  • independently read two selected young adult novels.
  • answer online discussion questions.
  • reflect upon other participants discussion question answers.
  • complete online assessments at various points in the course.


Young adult novels available at schools, public libraries, book stores, and Amazon.

Calvin: A Novel by Martine Leavitt (ISBN: 978-0374380731) Amazon Link

Just because you see something doesn't mean it's really there. Seventeen-year-old Calvin has always known his fate is linked to the comic book character from Calvin & Hobbes. He was born on the day the last strip was published. His grandpa put a stuffed tiger named Hobbes in his crib. And he even had a best friend named Susie. Then Calvin’s mom washed Hobbes to death. Susie grew up beautiful and stopped talking to him. And Calvin pretty much forgot about the strip―until now. Now he is seventeen years old and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Hobbes is back, as a delusion, and Calvin can’t control him. Calvin decides that cartoonist Bill Watterson is the key to everything―if he would just make one more comic strip, but without Hobbes, Calvin would be cured. Calvin and Susie (is she real?) and Hobbes (he can’t be real, can he?) set out on a dangerous trek across frozen Lake Erie to track down Watterson.

We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielson (ISBN: 978-0553496895) Amazon Link

(This novel is high school young adult literature and contains mature scenes – DO NOT REGISTER FOR THIS COURSE IF YOU WILL BE OFFENDED/UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THIS WRITING STYLE!)

Stewart, 13: Socially clueless genius. 
Ashley, 14: Popular with everyone but her teachers.
Ashley's and Stewart's worlds collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. The Brady Bunch it isn't. Stewart is trying to be 89.9 percent happy about it--he's always wanted a sister. But Ashley is 110 percent horrified. She already has to hide the real reason her dad moved out; “Spewart”could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder. They're complete opposites, but they have one thing in common: they—like everyone else—are made of molecules. In this hilarious and deeply moving story, award-winning author Susin Nielsen has created two narrators who will steal your heart and make you laugh out loud.

"I loved the novels and thought-provoking discussion questions."

"I very much enjoyed this class because I am exposed to new book selections that might be worthy of my classroom library or spark other units or lesson plans for the upcoming year. Hearing from other teachers across North Dakota (no matter the size or position) is very helpful as well, and I find that teachers are experiencing similar situations so it is interesting to see how other schools handle it or what programs they are using. It reinforces that I am not alone in some of the struggles."

"I loved the whole course. The discussion questions were good and enjoyed the responses of my classmates."

"The course was great; loved the Google format!"

"The flexibility is awesome! I always walk away with something new and useful for the upcoming year."