Friday, June 09, 2006

Mirror/Window books

Yesterday I heard a really good talk by Jane M. Gangi at the Children's Literature Association Conference. In this talk, Gangi outlined the problems with publication of multi-cultural books in the U.S. Percentages of minority authors published are very low and, even more alarming, teacher guidebooks, Scholastic book orders, and, often, online resources recommend only a small percentage of books written and illustrated by minority authors.

In this talk, "Refugees in Recent Children's and Young Adult Literature: Sociocultural Considerations," Gangi claims that every child needs mirror books (in which they see themselves, not only in the book, but on the author's flap) and window books (through which they see another world). I had never thought about this issue seriously before, but Gangi states that studies prove that children learn to read better when books mirror their world.

Very interesting and a lot to think about. In any case, I'd like to direct you to Gangi's online bibliographies, which are great resources for discovering multi-cultural titles.
I'm off to listen to a panel about Witches in children's literature. Poetry Friday will follow much later for me today.