Dr. Jim Nicosia is a writer, scholar and children's literacy advocate. He teaches American literature, Grammars of English and Young Adult Literature at Montclair State University in New Jersey. He is a reviewer for Voice of Youth Advocates, and, though a self-professed reluctant reader, he has rarely met a book that was worth nothing. He is a regular participant at teachers', students', and teachers-to-be conferences in New Jersey and (mostly) the Northeast. He has written and presented papers on writers as diverse as Andrew Smith, Jon Scieszka, Jason Reynolds, Mario Vargas Llosa, Flannery O'Connor, Jim Benton, Lauren Child, Alex London, and Megan McDonald.
Jim regularly speaks to teachers and young readers about invigorating their reading lives. The conferences he has arranged with Laura Nicosia have featured world-class authors, so pay attention to this page for updates.
He is currently enjoying student-centered discussions of middle-grade nonfiction (giving away free books, too!).
Praise for Examining Images of Urban Life:
“From Baltimore to New Orleans, from El Paso to LA, Examining Images of Urban Life: A Resource for Teachers of Young Adult Literature analyzes young adult stories from ‘uptown midtown, downtown, up the hill, down the hill, along the river,’ and various urban ethnic enclaves.... A must-have for every middle and high school English language arts teacher.”
Dr. James Blasingame, Professor of Young Adult Literature, Arizona State University; Executive Director of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English
“Laura and James Nicosia offer a necessary and compelling resource.... [T]he Nicosias’ collection broadens the current scope of the city as a site of consideration for educators and young adults alike.... This volume will greatly inform and expand the instructor’s base of scholarship and perspective on known YA/ChL work while easily offering them brave new works and perspectives of the city, its inhabitants, and the possibilities contained within.”
-Dr. Joseph Michael Sommers, Professor of English, Central Michigan University, editor of three books on Neil Gaiman, including his most recent: Conversations With Neil Gaiman (2018)
“This terrific and timely collection gives cities their due—not as dark and ‘gritty’ places but as challenging, rich, exciting environments in which people can grow and thrive.... I love the mix of creative and critical voices. Anyone working with young people and YA literature will find this book moving as well as instructive.”
Dr. Kenneth Kidd, Professor of English, University of Florida
“Examining Images in Urban Life: A Resource for Teachers of Young Adult Literature features important voices on young adult literature in urban settings. Essays from award-winning YA authors like Benjamin Alire Saenz enhance critical perspectives from scholars of contemporary reads found on today’s bestseller lists. This is a valuable addition to current conversations about the most popular category of fiction.”
-Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania and author of The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to The Hunger Games
“Gatsby, Gossip Girls, gentrification, genre. These are just a few of the focal points through which young adult literature is viewed in this remarkable collection of essays about the images of urban life in contemporary and classic literature.... Thinking about the purpose of the where and the when of setting provides the need for a more critical eye in literary analysis. Nicosia and Nicosia gather voices from academia to explore not only important titles by Older and Reynolds, Williams-Garcia, and others but to suggest questions to extend beyond the text.”
Dr. Teri Lesesne, Distinguished Professor of Library science, Sam Houston State University, Texas
“Laura and James have pulled together a collection of chapters that celebrate the modern city as presented in Young Adult Literature. The various authors not only examine complex presentations of images within urban settings; they reveal how adolescents find themselves and a community among the teeming streets they inhabit. For those of us who teach in diverse schools and universities in large cities this volume is an essential addition to our reference materials.”
Dr. Steven T. Bickmore, Associate Professor of English Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Past President of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE
Jim Nicosia and Jason Reynolds discussing Reynolds' writing before the former introduced the latter as winner of the Muriel Becker Award. Nicosia is
proud to have been one of the first to recognize the brilliance of Reynolds' writing and share his discovery with his audience. He's delighted when multitudes of readers fall in love with such
Arvin Ahmadi, Gayle Foreman, and Jim Nicosia discussing their creative processes at the Montclair Literary Festival.
Jim Nicosia (proudly) introducing Benjamin Alire Saénz to students at Montclair State University.
Yvonne Ventresca, Alex London, Sarah Beth Durst, Josiah Bancroft, Laura Nicosia, and Jim Nicosia at the 2018 Montclair Literary Festival.
e.E. Charlton-Trujillo holds court with Dr. Laura Nicosia's and Dr. Jim Nicosia's students at Montclair State University.
Laura Nicosia, Bruce Coville, and Jim Nicosia
at the Montclair Literary Festival.
Jim Nicosia is proud to say he wrote this book—one of only three written on Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Strand (he also contributed to the second). It's probably not for you unless you've been reading poetry for at least, oh, a year.
Maybe when you're in high school, you'll read a poem by this really good poet named Mark Strand. And you'll find out he was one of the best poets of our time. And then you'll want to read more about his poetry, because you'll want to understand it better. And then you'll find out there's only one book that discusses all of his best poems. And then you'll realize that book was written by one "James F. Nicosia." And then you'll say, "That name sounds familiar." And then one day, after you've bought that book, you'll be eating an ostrich burger and some peanut soup and suddenly it will come to you: "Hey, I wonder if James F. Nicosia is the same as Jim Nicosia." And you won't really know for sure, because you'll have forgotten all about this page, but something about the book will tell you it is.
But you'll like that book anyway.
Too often today, people are induced into believing that there are hard-and-fast rules to leveling reading, when the truth is, there are as many "reading levels" as there are readers.
With that in mind, don't limit yourself (or your children or students) to a certain area of the library or bookstore.
Jim & Laura Nicosia recently completed this book on John Steinbeck's The Pearl, but it isn't only for adults. In fact, Steinbeck was one of Jim's first favorite writers.
The book at the left represents the longest project Jim and Laura Nicosia have ever (or likely will ever) create.
As our publisher says:
"This new title brings together overviews and in-depth analysis of hundreds of American women writers, from Colonial America to present day. This work concentrates on women writers of literature, including novels, short stories, poetry, and drama....
"Each of the 400 essays includes a personal biography and a summary of works, with valuable top matter details and further reading sections. The volume includes reviews and excerpts of the writer's most acclaimed works to give the researcher a unique, comprehensive perspective."
We're learning more about American women writers than we ever imagined, and it's an exciting thing!
Notable Writers of the American West & the Native American Experience is a collection to expand readers' understanding of the wealth of ancient
Indigenous stories passed down in the oral tradition, and to get a richer, not uncomplicated vision of the American West than Western movies might have provided them.
The authors included in this collection are having a glorious conversation about life, love, philosophy, literature, politics, civil rights, biases, and (in)justices. They are artists, social transformers, builders, thinkers, poets, playwrights, populists, elitists, products of their society and shapers of their (and our) cultures. They are discussing such vital issues as sexuality and gender, Native and women’s rights and privileges, wars of their eras, civil rights, literary criticism, mental illness, child rearing, and identity. The more we try to paint an accurate painting of their lives, the more we realize we need more canvases. Indeed, there are many diverse stories happening concurrently here, and the goal is to reinforce the legacy of these important writers, to resurrect the legacy of those who have been unduly forgotten, and to (re)introduce some new names into the lexicon of American writing.
The Critical Insights Series distills the best of both classic and current literary criticism of the world’s most studies literature. Edited and written by some of academia’s most distinguished literary scholars, Critical Insights: Catch-22 provides authoritative, in-depth scholarship that students and researchers will rely on for years. This volume is destined to become a valuable purchase for all.
After one hundred years of modernism and with the centennial anniversaries of Woolf's Jacob's Room (1922) and Mrs. Dalloway (1925), Virginia Woolf is more popular and vital than ever. The current social and political climate fosters a new appreciation for Woolf's writings, in particular her critiques of social marginalization, gender identities, queerness, and sexual cultures. This volume offers these valuable and necessary conversations in language that is accessible and yet scholarly.