You will research a young adult author, including biographical information, publication record, and critical reception. This research will be shared with the rest of the class in the form of an oral presentation with a strong visual component.
The oral presentation will take the form of a PechaKucha. This form, which originated in Japan, was originally designed by architects to keep visual presentations concise yet informative. (You can see some examples at www.pechakucha.com) We’ll modify the format here a bit for our class, so the basic structure will be 15 images that appear on screen for 20 seconds each, meaning that your presentation will last for 5 minutes. You must set the presentation up to automatically advance, and you will want to rehearse your presentation to make sure you speak in conjunction with the pacing of the slides. Additionally, you should rely on images—printed words in your PechaKucha should be avoided.
The first step is, of course, to pick an author to research. You may choose any author who has written for young adults and who has a record (i.e., at least three books published); you may not choose an author on our required list for this semester.
With an author in mind, set out to learn as much about him or her as you can; search on the web, peruse Wikipedia, look for interviews in Horn Book, The ALAN Review, or Children’s Literature Quarterly. You will also read three books written by this author (they count towards your elective reading) and your response and analysis of those books will inform the presentation. You could also look for reviews of the author’s books (a Google search will often turn these up, but you can search the HBLL databases for reviews in Booklist or Kirkus) and integrate critical reaction into your presentation.
For the PechaKucha, it may help you synthesize things to write a script of sorts; knowing what you want to say about the author will help in creating the visual components. Choose images (or, even better, take your own photos) that capture the essence and tone of the ideas you seek to communicate. Put this all together in the software, set each slide to advance after 20 seconds, and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. You are not to read from a script while you present, so be sure you’re familiar with the information you want to convey.
This is the grading sheet that will be used:
Research/Content ____ / 20
- focuses on the author’s work:
- critical reviews/responses to literature
- personal response and analysis of books read: patterns across books, general themes, characters, etc.
- biographical information is at a minimum—only what could be meaningfully connected to the author’s work
- information given situates this author within a time period, movement, or other body of young adult literature
- presenter has taken care in selecting information and images; images chosen are a logical match for the oral content and, where possible, they enhance and/or communicate beyond the oral content
Presentation ____ / 15
- 15 slides for 20 seconds each
- organization of the content makes sense, proceeds logically and purposefully given the content
- presenter is clearly rehearsed, with few (if any) stumbles or miscues
- listeners/viewers have a sense that the presenter knows this author well