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published in partnership with National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

Read an article about the book now!

Paying attention to subtext is a crucial component of literacy. However, the concept of peritextual analysis takes such examination much further, teaching readers how to evaluate information and sources using elements that precede or follow the body of the text. A work’s Preface, Afterword, index, dust jacket, promotional blurbs, and bibliography are only some of the elements that can be used to help readers connect with and understand the main text. Speaking directly to librarians and educators working with K-16 students, this important book

  • outlines the Peritextual Literacy Framework and explains its unique utility as a teaching and thinking tool;
  • defines components such as production elements, promotional elements, navigational elements, intratextual elements, supplemental elements, and documentary elements, offering examples drawn from both print and non-print texts;
  • presents several case studies showing peritextual analysis in action, ranging from young adult nonfiction in the classroom to strengthening students’ visual literacy skills by critically comparing and contrasting two graphic novel covers; and
  • examines how the functions of peritext and the Peritextual Literacy Framework exist within online news articles, film and media packaging, and other non-print texts.

The creative and engaging approaches to providing, highlighting, and teaching the peritext of a text showcased in this collection will help students learn how to judge a book by its cover ... and everything else.

Foreword, by Donna Alvermann
Introduction—More Than White Noise: Mining the Peritext for Literacy Engagement, by Shelbie Witte

I    An Overview of Peritextual Analysis

  • Chapter 1    Grounding Our Work Theoretically: The Peritextual Literacy Framework, by Melissa Gross
  • Chapter 2    Peritext and Young Adult Nonfiction: A Case Study of “The President Has Been Shot!,” by Don Latham

II    Strengthening Visual Literacy through Peritextual Analysis

  • Chapter 3    Peritextual Bridges: Predicting Plot and Theme in Boxers & Saints, by Crag Hill
  • Chapter 4    Book Speed Dating and the Art of Making Lasting Connections, by Jill Slay
  • Chapter 5    Critiquing, Resisting, and Remixing Promotional Peritextual Elements of Young Adult Fiction, by Sean P. Connors and Erin Daugherty
  • Chapter 6    Navigating Kafka’s The Metamorphosis Using Visual Peritextual Elements, by Katie Rybakova

III    Providing Critical Thinking Opportunities through Peritextual Analysis

  • Chapter 7    A Sense of Time and Place: Using the Author’s Note in a Historical Fiction Novel to Introduce Primary Sources and Teach Critical Thinking, by Rebecca Weber and Kevin Dyke
  • Chapter 8    Discourse about Illustrated Book Dust Jackets in a First-Grade Classroom, by Luciana C. de Oliveira, Loren Jones, and Sharon L. Smith
  • Chapter 9    Cathy’s Book and the Boundaries of Books in a Participatory Age: Exploring Pedagogies and Paratexts in Expansive Contexts, by Antero Garcia and Bud Hunt

IV    Peritextual Analysis of Nonprint Texts

  • Chapter 10    Analyzing Online News Articles Using Peritextual Elements, by Hyerin Bak and Josey McDaniel
  • Chapter 11    (Re)Covering Disney: Media Peritexts and Media Literacy in the Classroom, by Peter C. Kunze
  • Chapter 12    Leading Students to Exit through the Gift Shop: Reading Banksy’s Public Art through Documentary Film and Director’s Cuts, by Jennifer S. Dail, W. Kyle Jones, and Glenn Chance

About the Editors and Contributors

Shelbie Witte

Shelbie Witte, Ph.D., is the Chuck and Kim Watson Endowed Chair in Education and Professor in Adolescent Literacy and English Education at Oklahoma State University, where she directs the OSU Writing Project and the Initiative for 21st Century Literacies Research. She serves as editor (with Sara Kajder) of Voices from the Middle, NCTE’s premiere middle-level journal. Witte has published extensively in the area of 21st Century Literacies, including Toward a More Visual Literacy: Shifting the Paradigm with Digital Tools and Young Adult Literature (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018) and Young Adult Literature and the Digital World: Textual Engagement Through Visual Literacy (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018), both with Jennifer S. Dail and Steven Bickmore.

Don Latham

Don Latham, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Information at Florida State University. He has served as a board member of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), a member of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Research Committee and Research Journal Advisory Committee, and chair of the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Committee. He has published extensively in the areas of information literacy, information behavior of youth, and young adult literature. He is the author of David Almond: Memory and Magic (Scarecrow, 2006) and the co-author along with Melissa Gross of Young Adult Resources Today: Connecting Teens with Books, Music, Games, Movies, and More (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.)

Melissa Gross

Melissa Gross is a professor in the School of Information at Florida State University and past president of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE). She received her PhD in library and information science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1998, received the prestigious American Association of University Women Recognition Award for Emerging Scholars in 2001, and received the ALISE Award for Professional Contribution to Library and Information Science Education in 2019. Dr. Gross teaches and conducts research in the areas of information-seeking behavior, information literacy, library program and service evaluation, and information resources for youth. 

"The collection of essays clearly demonstrates the variety of settings in which 'peritextual literacy' can increase one’s ability to understand and interpret texts of many kinds. Given that this is a relatively new field within both education and literary analysis, the volume will be an excellent starting point. Teachers, future teachers, and education administrators will benefit from the studies included here. Libraries serving these populations should consider this title.”

"One of the main strengths of this book is its readability. Each chapter is well laid out supported by clear signposting as to the reasons for the study, the researchers involved, a statement of the problem, literature review and the main study itself. Good use is made of supporting transcripts, pictures and surveys as appropriate ... Witte, Latham and Gross clearly demonstrate to both librarians and teachers throughout this title the importance and relevance of their Peritextual Literacy Framework as a teaching tool and the importance of developing a range of literacy skills.”
— Journal of Information Literacy

"An invaluable resource for teachers, librarians, and education administrators as a tool to teach young readers how to connect with and understand the main text in reading materials.”
— Catholic Library World