This study explores virtual, student–author interviews eighth-grade students led with Chris Crowe in response to his young adult novel Mississippi Trial, 1955. The opportunity to interview the author motivated students to read the novel. Through their text-world development, students connected with the fictional and nonfictional characters, Hiram Hillburn and Emmett Till, respectively. Through their critical reader-responses, students sought truth about Emmett Till’s case as they questioned Crowe about the choices he made as an author and researcher, which supported students’ understanding of character development and historical significance of Emmett Till’s case. Crowe’s answers to the students’ critical questions were not easy, but through the student–author interview preparation and implementation process, participants captured a shared understanding of Emmett Till’s case and how its connection to the U.S. civil rights movement impacted history and is pertinent today. Ultimately, this article advocates for reader-response pedagogy to include virtual or in-person student–author interviews.
DeFauw, D. L., Crowe, C., & Burnett, C. (2022). Responding to Literature Through Student–Author Interviews: Eighth-Grade Students Challenge Chris Crowe’s Mississippi Trial, 1955. Reading Horizons: A Journal of Literacy and Language Arts, 61 (1). Retrieved from https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol61/iss1/2