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Tag Archives: children’s literature

Professor Michelle Martin Offers “African American Children’s Literature as a Genre of Resistance”

Michelle Martin, Augusta Baker Chair in Childhood Literacy at University of South Carolina Almost a year before Matt de la Pena won the latest Newbery Medal—the highest honor in children’s literature—he told National Public Radio that his picture book about a young boy riding a bus with his grandmother wasn’t a story about diversity.  “That’s very important to me,” de la Pena told NPR. “I don’t think every book has to be about the Underground Railroad for it to be an African-American title.” This observation from the author of “Last Stop on Market Street” drew an emphatic Amen from Professor Michelle H. Martin, the Augusta Baker Chair in Childhood Literacy at the University of South Carolina. “I find it encouraging that this award winner tells a quiet story... Read More →

How To Improve Diversity In Children’s Literature – One Book At A Time

People of color make up close to 40 percent of the current U.S. population, so what would you do about the desert in children’s literature where fewer than one in ten books feature multi-cultural characters or themes? That question framed the American Library Association’s “Day of Diversity” last month as participants dug into a problem whose contours have barely changed in half a century. Organizers challenged librarians, publishers, writers, editors, booksellers and educators at the Chicago meeting to come up with ways to increase diversity on the typical American child’s bookshelf. Children’s author Elizabeth Bluemle plucked seven audience suggestions for her Publishers Weekly blog, each capable of yielding immediate, tangible results:  1) Adopt a classroom. 2) Buy... Read More →
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