Interpreting Literature with Children

By Shelby A. Wolf | Go to book overview

4
Culture & Class
in Children's Literature

In Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan (2000), the title character remembers that when she was little she thought she would grow up to marry Miguel. Her mother explained that she might think about this choice differently with age, yet Esperanza was determined.

But now that she was a young woman, she understood that Miguel was the housekeeper's son and she was the ranch owner's daughter and between them ran a deep river. Esperanza stood on one side and Miguel stood on the other and the river could never be crossed. In a moment of self-importance, Esperanza had told all of this to Miguel. Since then, he had spoken only a few words to her. When their paths crossed, he nodded and said politely, “Mi reina, my queen, ” but nothing more. There was no teasing or laughing or talking about every little thing. Esperanza pretended not to care, though she secretly wished she had never told Miguel about the river, (p. 18)

In 2002, Esperanza Rising won the Pura Belpre award for “the Latino/ Latina writer… whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth” (http://www.ala.org/alsc/belpre.html). Established in 1996, this award is given every two years by cooperating divisions and affiliates of the American Library Association. The award is named after Pura Belpre who was America's first Latina librarian in the New York Public Library. In addition, the book won the Jane Addams Children's Book Award in 2001, an award given to a book “that most effectively promotes the cause of peace, social justice and world community” (www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/public/jaddams.htm).

-131-

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Interpreting Literature with Children
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Prologue: Engagement Beyond the Edges of the Earth 1
  • I - Salutations! Learning About Literature *
  • 1 - Critical Perspectives 9
  • Books for the Professional 40
  • 2 - Literary Elements in Prose & Poetry 44
  • Books for the Professional 87
  • II - Ways of Taking from Literature *
  • 3 - Talking About Literature 93
  • Books for the Professional 128
  • 4 - Culture & Class in Children's Literature 131
  • Books for the Professional 164
  • 5 - Gender in Children's Literature 167
  • Books for the Professional 195
  • III - Ways of Doing Literature *
  • 6 - Interpreting Literature Through Writing 201
  • Books for the Professional 222
  • 7 - Interpreting Literature Through the Visual Arts 225
  • Books for the Professional 252
  • 8 - Interpreting Literature Through Drama 255
  • Books for the Professional 281
  • Epilogue: How like the Mind 284
  • References 290
  • Credit List 306
  • Index 309
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