Choosing Children's Literature 2003

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  1. Choosing Children’s Literature Le Bon Libre : The Good Book Fall 2011 ELE 616 Research in Children’s Literature 2. editor from 1974 to 1985 3. What Makes…
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  • 1. Choosing Children’s Literature Le Bon Libre : The Good Book Fall 2011 ELE 616 Research in Children’s Literature
  • 2. editor from 1974 to 1985
  • 3. What Makes a Good Children’s Book? <ul><li>literature for children </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A good book latches onto a child and won’t let go. What a child needs is to be exposed to the pleasures of reading and to have access to a large collection of books from which to choose when the child is ready to read. What a child does not need is to be pushed into reading or to have an adult force a child to read a certain book by insisting that it is a good book. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>literature for children. Britannica Student Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 29, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica . < > </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 4. What makes an effective children’s book? <ul><li>Depends on the particular book in question </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A story picture book should have all the elements of story, engaging writing, a hero who grows and changes, and the best fit art for the protagonist and tale. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A concept book should convey the concept (be it, say, alphabet, numbers, colors) in a clear and engaging manner, one that will engage young minds. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Humorous books should be funny. Adventure books suspenseful and exciting. Mysteries intriguing. Fantasies imaginative. Gothics scary. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul>Children's author Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • 5. More from Cynthia Leitich Smith <ul><li>A good book should be the best book it can be </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A children’s novel must do all that an adult novel does, but the hero and sensibility is that of a younger person. They are generally a bit leaner, though, less self-indulgent on the part of the author. The audience tends to have a shorter attention span. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No kid reads a book because of what the New York Times has to say. To them, it must sing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basically, a good book should be the best book it can be, in whatever manifestation fits best for its unique nature. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Effective aspects </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 6. What Makes a Good Children’s Book? <ul><li>A good children’s book: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stimulates the imagination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has fun language, rhythm, rhyme, and patterns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has big, clear print, and pictures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is developmentally appropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keeps a child’s attention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gets children involved with the story </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has sensory appeal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No longer available on the web—was part of a project from Canadian Kingston Literacy and Skills </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 7. What about books for young adults? <ul><li>Former English professor Don Gallo: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Good young adult books deal honestly and openly with teenage issues and problems” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The best novels for teens, he believes, are well written, yet less complex than the famous classics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Short stories, too, are successful at addressing popular themes such as multiculturalism and character development. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In the Interest of Teenagers </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 8. Choosing Books for Young Readers <ul><li>Too Easy? Too Hard ? Just Right? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not every book a child reads must be a challenge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Length and reading level are not everything when it comes to good literature. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Just because the stories are shorter and illustrations have been used in a picture book does not make the writing any less powerful. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>. . . children's series books are often looked down upon as “garbage” and not providing any educational opportunities.  Yet, these books are also important to a developing and even the gifted  reader. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Please allow your child to choose the books they want to read as long as it is not inappropriate material for children. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Book Nuts’ Mom </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 9. Classroom libraries <ul><li>Why have a classroom library? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One of the main tasks of a K-5 teacher is to teach children to read. Reading is a skill that requires a great deal of practice. To practice, you need books. Thus, every elementary classroom needs its own library. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Build and Use A Classroom Library </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>© 2001 - 2011  Mary Haga </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 10. Why NOT have classroom libraries? <ul><li>Books become restricted in their availability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>. . . when we look at the big picture -- the needs of the whole school -- it is obvious today’s limited funds must be spent for the global good of all. A centralized collection is the most economically viable solution to the heavy demands for learning resources in today's classrooms. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Books are only inanimate objects until their potential for learning is utilized by a teacher or teacher-librarian. If a book is perceived to be of use with only one student, in a particular grade, at a certain time of the year, to meet a specific need, then the potential of that book is being wasted. I have seen teachers put books away in a box until next year when they do the same theme again. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The classroom library: Are we returning to the 1950s, or developing better collaboration? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 11. Solution? Compromise! <ul><li>Classroom libraries have undoubted advantages in promoting reading and love of reading </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You can share your library with others in the school by keeping track of your classroom collection using a spreadsheet or database manager, and then share that list </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two options for tracking your collection are creating a spreadsheet of your entire collection using Microsoft Excel or cataloging your books using . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See Classroom Libraries on The School Library Handbook about how to organize your collection! </li></ul></ul>
  • 12. Are there problems in selection? <ul><li>What do we do about “difficult” books? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What about books like the 2007 Newbery Medial winner, The Higher Power of Lucky ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What about books like the Harry Potter series? </li></ul></ul>
  • 13. A Philosophical Question <ul><li>Is Selection a Form of Censorship? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do public libraries attempt to supervise the tastes of their readers by making it a fixed policy not to buy “objectionable” books? It is a simple expedient and has often been applied. The public librarian often has the plausible excuse that as the funds of a library are limited, he must pick and choose, and naturally the more “wholesome” books are to be preferred. He insists that he is exercising not censorship but the prerogative of free selection. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Morris L. Ernst and William Seagle, To the Pure . . . A Study of Obscenity and the Censor cited in Lester Asheim, Not Censorship But Selection , first published in the Wilson Library Bulletin, 28 (September 1953), 63-67. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 14. Challenged, like Harry Potter <ul><li>Look Out, Harry Potter ! – Book Banning Heats Up </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Harry Potter series is keeping company with such frequently banned classics as John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Perhaps teachers are self-censored because they felt the chill [from the controversy],” said Charles Suhor, a field representative for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Article by Diane Weaver Dunne Education World ® 04/10/2000 </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 15. Or, My Weird School <ul><li>Exchange on listserv LM_Net: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Original Request Sun 11/29/2009 8:18 PM : Hello all, Has anyone had a challenge or any parent complaints about the My Weird School series by Dan Gutman? I have the unusual situation of having one parent wanting the series removed and another parent wanting them to remain. Any help or comments would be appreciated. I’m in a K-3 school . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reply Sun 11/29/2009 8:57 PM: One idea to help ally the fears of the parent wanting to remove the books, might be to show the author's web page: Perhaps if they knew a little more about the author and the award winning books they’ve done, it might give them a different perspective. Gutman mentions the series was inspired by his daughter and one of his goals as an author is to get kids to read. For reluctant readers, they are pretty engaging. </li></ul></ul>
  • 16. What about self-censorship? <ul><li>A dirty little secret? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-censorship. It’s a dirty secret that no one in the profession wants to talk about or admit practicing. Yet everyone knows some librarians bypass good books—those with literary merit or that fill a need in their collections. The reasons range from a book’s sexual content and gay themes to its language and violence—and it happens in more public and K–12 libraries than you think. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Self-censorship is rampant and lethal , by Debra Lau Whelan -- School Library Journal, 02/01/2009 </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 17. Is self-censorship a problem? <ul><li>A Study of Self-Censorship by School Librarians </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Four factors were associated with self-censoring practices: (1) being of the age 60–69, (2) holding no formal collegiate education degree (BSE or MS/MSE) with library media certification or licensure, (3) being at the secondary level school library, and (4) having 15 or fewer years of educational experience. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Just over half of respondents who were 60–69 had a mean score greater than 85. It does not indicate that most school librarians over the age of 60 practice self-censorship during the selection process. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wendy Rickman in School Library Media Research , Volume 13 (2010) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 18. What about swear words? <ul><li>The curse of swearing in children’s books </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Swearing in children’s books, and even in books for teenagers, used to be pure anathema. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publishers are in general more likely now to choose inaction over excision, secure in the knowledge that great querulous waves are unlikely to result from a single rude word, or even a plethora of the same, providing it reads as “appropriate” rather than “gratuitous”. It’s probably easier to get away with a cuss word in a children's book than it is on the news . </li></ul></ul>
  • 19. Need for policies and procedures <ul><li>What are policies and procedures? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Policies explain why the collection exists and what will be in it. A policy tends to address ideals and generalities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Procedures explain how the policy will be implemented and who will be involved with the implementation. A procedure should be concrete and specific. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Information Access & Delivery: Policies and Procedures </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 20. Do policies really make a difference? <ul><li>Without a policy you may face some of the situations: You are open to book censors. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You may be cited on copyright infringement lawsuits. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You could be accused of being biased in selection. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Information Access & Delivery: Policies and Procedures </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 21. Importance of a Selection Policy <ul><li>Why do I need a policy? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>haphazard patterns of acquisition will result in waste because some—perhaps many—materials will overlap in content, or will be unrelated to changing patterns of instruction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>when there are complaints about . . . fiction in the English class, the use of the “objectionable” item can be explained more easily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ALA Workbook for Selection Policy Writing </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 22. Typical content <ul><li>A good policy on the selection of instructional materials will </li></ul><ul><ul><li>include basic sections on objectives, responsibility, criteria, procedures for selection, reconsideration of materials, and policies on controversial materials. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your policy should state succinctly what your system is trying to accomplish in its educational program, and, in somewhat more detail, the objectives of selection. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ALA Workbook for Selection Policy Writing </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 23. Contents of a selection policy <ul><li>selection criteria </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The set of standards used by librarian s to decide whether an item should be added to the collection , which normally includes a list of subject s or field s to be covered, levels of specialization , edition s, currency , language s, and format s ( large print , nonprint , abridgment s, etc.). Selection criteria usually reflect the library’s mission and the information need s of its clientele , but selection decisions are also influenced by budget ary constraints and qualitative evaluation in the form of review s, recommended core list s, and other selection tools. </li></ul></ul>
  • 24. Word of warning <ul><li>Know thyself! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Professionals should, as Bishop (2007) states, “be aware of their own biases and preferences so that personal prejudices do not inadvertently affect selection decisions” (170). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wendy Rickman (2010, Fall), A Study of Self-Censorship by School Librarians , School Library Media Research, 13. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Citation is from Bishop, K. (2007). The collection program in schools: Concepts, practices, and information sources. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  • 25. FINIS
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