Coming of Age in Popular Culture
Teenagers, Adolescence, and the Art of Growing Up
by Donald C. Miller
October 2018, 350pp, 7x10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4060-9
$94, £70, 82€, A128
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4061-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

With each new generation from the 1950s to today, we can see a symbiotic relationship between teenagers’ coming of age experiences and the popular media of the time.

Documenting the evolution of teens and media from the 1950s through 2010, this book examines the films, books, television shows, and musical artists that impacted American culture and shaped the "coming of age" experience for each generation.

The teenage years are fraught with drama and emotional ups and downs, coinciding with bewildering new social situations and sexual tension. For these reasons, pop culture and media have repeatedly created entertainment that depicts, celebrates, or lampoons coming of age experiences, through sitcoms like The Wonder Years to the brat pack films of the 1980s to the teen-centered television series of today.

Coming of Age in Popular Culture: Teenagers, Adolescence, and the Art of Growing Up covers a breadth of media presentations of the transition from childhood to adulthood from the 1950s to the year 2010. It explores the ways that adolescence is characterized in pop culture by drawing on these representations, shows how powerful media and entertainment are in establishing societal norms, and considers how American society views and values adolescence. Topics addressed include race relations, gender roles, religion, and sexual identity. Young adult readers will come away with a heightened sense of media literacy through the examination of a topic that inherently interests them.


  • Presents concise content and detailed analysis written in an easy-to-understand style
  • Provides key historical context that enables readers to more clearly understand the significance of media presentations and their tremendous impact within our culture
  • Documents how media reflect the values and beliefs of a specific era but in some cases can also challenge these entrenched views and serve to change them
Donald C. Miller holds a master's degree in media literacy and has coauthored a previous media literacy textbook with Art Silverblatt. He has also written three short plays that have been produced in St. Louis, MO, and also contributes to a lifestyle and arts section for the The Telegraph, a local newspaper based in Alton, IL.


"Of note are mentions of popular films like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Harry Potter, and celebrities like Bob Dylan, Britney Spears, and Kurt Cobain. Overall, Miller’s writing marks this book as an insightful reflection on youth culture through the media that arose during the decades covered."—Choice, April 1, 2019

"A very thoughtful application of the media literacy principle that media presentations provide insight into culture."—Art Silverblatt, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Communications, Webster University

“And the beat goes on! What a wonderful tribute to the decades. A entertaining explanation of our influences of the decades that brought back so many memories. Media, music and movies will continue to influence us in future decades as we come of age! What an interesting perspective of how we all come to be! Read this book for a wonderful ride down memory lane!"—Bestselling Author Wade Rouse

“This text is a tremendous boost to the media literacy education field at a time when both the media communicator as well as the media consumer hold great sway on many platforms in our digital communications environment, and understanding these processes can help both be better. And, the timing couldn't be better to have this definitive, well researched and well-documented textbook regarding an age-old relationship about teens and their media. It certainly is a textbook that can help sustain media literacy education in our classrooms and school libraries. Equally if not more important, it provides a wonderful foundation for having media discussions about the coming of age . . . when speaking to fellow teachers, school administrators and, most importantly, parents."—Jessica Z. Brown, Founder of Gateway Media Literacy Partners, Inc. and media communications specialist at Webster University
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.