Children's Literature Studies: Cases and Discussions

Children's Literature Studies: Cases and Discussions

Children's Literature Studies: Cases and Discussions

Children's Literature Studies: Cases and Discussions

Synopsis

This supplement to standard children's literature textbooks will be a help to instructors as they engage their students in discussions about selection of materials, censorship, dealing with curricular issues, the need to understand administrative policies, community beliefs, and their responses to these issues. It is designed to help instructors discuss books in ways that inspire collegiality, collaboration, and scholarship in book evaluation and selection. Using actual case studies, resource reviews and/or scenarios of censorship, religion, violence, ethnicity and other issues, the instructor will be able to encourage discussion and reflective thought about real issues faced by teachers and librarians as they select materials for classroom or school library use.

Excerpt

This book is designed for teachers to help them discuss books in ways that inspire collegiality, collaboration, and scholarship in book evaluation and selection. It is specifically designed for preservice teachers, working teachers, and school librarians, enrolled in college-level children's literature courses.

Teachers need the opportunity to discuss multiple viewpoints on children's and young adult literature to enhance their professional discussions with colleagues, students, parents, and community members. This was brought to my attention one day when I was teaching a children's literature course for preservice teachers. Two students approached me quietly and disclosed that someone in their assigned reading group for the class refused to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling 1998) for religious reasons. They explained that this made it difficult for them to complete their group project. Their discussion with me was secretive. While this may have been their attempt not to embarrass the student, it signaled to me their uncertainty about how to discuss this question in order to resolve the problem with their classmates.

This book grew out of the teaching resources I subsequently developed to encourage discussion and problem solving among classmates because of this event. It began with development of a lecture, a case study, and discussion questions about censorship and the Harry Potter series. The lecture provided students with information about censorship, book challenges, and the critical literacy approach that relies on dialogue and mutual respect. The study was designed to include many perspectives to present a balanced description of the responses to the J. K. Rowling books in a particular community. Used as a workshop exercise, this allowed for structured discussion time, to encourage honest input and critical analysis, and encouraged students to build on their knowledge about the case with their own research.

Each chapter in this book begins with a bibliographic essay that introduces the topic of the chapter to the reader and points out some of the most interesting and important developments since the 1970s. The bibliographic essay is not exhaustive but is designed as a starting point for discussion and further research.

One or two studies follow the essay, depending on the chapter. Not all of the studies in the book are scenarios surrounding books and schools. Resource review studies are also used.

A list of references for each chapter is provided at the end of the chapter. These references represent sources that teachers can use to conduct further research to find multiple perspectives about books. In this way, teachers can continue to follow the social and literary history of literature as it unfolds.

Overview of Studies

The study presented in Chapter 1 on literary quality concerns the story of the expansion of a California state reading list. Chapter 2 on book challenges includes a study that describes . . .

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