Author Biographies

Briana Asmus, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Education and ESL/Bilingual Program Director at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI. As a certified secondary educator, she served as a literacy consultant for a migrant education program, taught 9th and 12th grade English, and taught ESL in South Korea and Japan.

Emma Antel currently student teaching in a 6th grade English Language Arts classroom in Grand Rapids, MI. Her professional focus is on reading strategies to promote critical literacy and creating empathic connections between students.


Empathy is an emotional state that allows us to feel what another person is feeling, but can it be taught? This article argues that while we may not be able to teach empathy itself, teachers can try to expand the imaginations of students through the use of young adult literature about border crossing. The intent is to help students who have not experienced border crossing becoming more empathetic toward those who have. By exploring how border crossing narratives challenge dominant misconceptions formed on deficit narratives, and by offering critically-relevant resources grounded in YA texts about border crossing, we will argue it is possible to put students on a path towards empathy.

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