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Chapter 1 What’s So Special About Literature?

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Chapter 3
Choosing the Best Literature
Growing Up With Literature, 6e
By: Walter E. Sawyer
Choosing Quality Literature
Components of a Good Book:
Well-developed characters
Setting
Plot
Theme
Text style
Narrative style
Illustrations, and photographs
How to Begin
• Become an expert of children – watch their actions,
language, and social interactions
• Choose books that go beyond your own interests and
preferences.
• In general, books with large text, colorful print,
simple subjects, touchable surfaces, and rhythmic
language are pleasing to children.
• Young children are interested in books about
themselves, self-help skills, their families, and objects
from their surroundings.
• Talk to librarians, educators, and others to gather
information on a list of potential books.
Aspects of Good Children’s Literature
 Characterization
 Setting
 Plot
 Theme
 Picture books
 Those in which the ideas or stories are related through a combination of
text and illustration
 Wordless Picture Books
 Leaving the entire telling of the story to just the pictures.
 Concept books
 May only be a single letter, number, or word on each page.
Characterization
• Characters may be animals, people, objects, or imaginary
beings.
• They must be real and believable to children.
• The reader should sense, “Yes, I know that feeling or
situation.”
• The reader should care about the character because of an
emotional bond.
• Characters must talk and act true to their role or nature.
• The character may change and grow, but the basic portrayal
must remain intact.
• Animal characters are an important part of children’s
literature. Approaching difficult topics through animal
characters causes less-traumatic reactions from children.
Setting
• Where and when a story takes place, along with the
way the characters live and cultural aspects
• The setting can be implied rather than specifically
described in the text or depicted in the illustrations
• Home settings – used to create a sense of anxiety,
humor, or sadness when the unexpected happen
• School settings – popular because children easily
relate to them
• Nature settings – gives children a chance to go
somewhere they’ve never been
Plot
• A road map to the story
• An author plans a plot to help the reader make sense out
of the story.
• Usually the plot unfolds in chronological order
• A plot is created with characters and settings in mind.
• Good plots contain a beginning, a middle, and an end.
• The beginning should quickly engage the reader’s
interest.
• Parts of a plot include: conflict, rising action, false
endings, climax, and resolution.
• If children are confused, it will be difficult to maintain
their interest.
• Books with believable, understandable, and creative plots
should be selected.
Theme
• The theme of the story is the abstract concept the author
has embedded in the story.
• Themes may included: friendship, family life, becoming
independent, etc.
• The theme often teaches a lesson or persuades the
reader of something,
• The theme often reveals the author’s purpose in writing
the book.
• A theme should unfold for the reader and should not be
too obvious.
Censorship & Challenges
Censorship and challenges occur when
individuals or groups object to material their
children are being exposed to in school.
Challenge – when there is an attempt to
restrict the use of a book with some readers.
Censorship – occurs when there is an attempt
to restrict the rights of all others by banning
the use of a book through removal.
Banned/Challenged
Books
Presentation
The four parts of presentation include:
• Text style
• Narrative style
• Illustrations & Photographs
• Anti-bias factors within the book
Text Style
• The style, size, color, and location of the
text must fit the purpose of and feeling
created by the narrative.
• The text style used can affect the story.
• Color of text depends on the needs and
purpose of the story.
• The placement of text can enhance or
diminish the effect of the narrative and
its illustrations.
Narrative Style
• The flow of the language should be appropriate to
the story.
• The narrative style should hold the reader’s interest
and contain a bit of intrigue, mystery, and/or
surprise.
• Poetic style (i.e. The Night Before Christmas)
• Repetition – helps young readers to predict what
might come next in a story.
• Point of View – today many stories are told from the
child’s perspective rather than from the perspective
of an adult.
Illustrations and Photographs
 The illustrations and photographs used in children’s
literature are just as important for young children as the
narrative.
 Artist may use pen and ink, colored pencils, crayons, oil
pastels, chalk, charcoal, water crayons, paint, and so
forth.
 Shading, detailing, and smudging techniques give
expression to an illustration.
 Quality illustrations and photographs stand out from
mediocre art because of attention to detail.
 Distinctive illustration provides a sense of texture that is
three-dimensional. (Eric Carle)
Caldecott Medal
• The Caldecott Medal is awarded to the illustrator of the most
distinguished picture book published during the previous year.
1988 Caldecott Medal
2008 Caldecott Honor, 2008 Geisel Honor
• The award is given by the Association for Library Service to
Children, a division of the American Library Association.
• The book must be an original creation and the winner has to
be a citizen or resident of the United States.
Caldecott Medal
• You'll see a gold seal on
the Caldecott winner.
• You'll see silver seals on
books that were named
honor books.
• The award was first
presented in 1938
2014 Caldecott
Medal Winner
How can a list of Caldecott Medal winners be helpful in selecting books?
http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/caldecottmedal/caldecotthonors/caldecottmed
al
2014 Caldecott Honor Books
What are the limitations of using only books
that have won Caldecott Medals?
Copyright 2009 Delmar Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
Other Children’s Book Awards
• Newberry Medal
2014
Newberry
Medal
• Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal
• Sibert Medal
• Wilder Medal
• Coretta Scott King Book Award
• Charlotte Zolotow Award
Charlotte
Zolotow
Award
Media
• crayon
• oil pastels
• chalk
• water crayon
• pen and ink
• woodcuts
• linocuts,
• colored pencils
• charcoal
• photography
• collage,
• watercolors,
• tempera paint,
• acrylics,
• oil paint
• combinations of
any of these.
Linocut and Woodcut
Colored Pencil
Oil Paintings
Watercolor
Collage
Copyright 2009 Delmar Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
Photographs
Eric Carle: Painted Tissue Collage
Copyright 2009 Delmar Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
Denise Fleming: Pulp Painting
Copyright 2009 Delmar Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
Combinations
Anti-Bias Factors
Anyone planning to use literature with
children should preview the books for signs of
bias and stereotyping.
 A variety of books are good for children
because…
 Learning about new and different things is a
natural benefit for their cognitive development.
 Their vocabulary can be made richer.
 Helps children understand common bonds across
all people (right, wrong, laughter, love, sharing,
etc.).
Selecting Anti-Bias Children's
Examples of Groups of People Who
Books
Are Often Invisible in Children's Books
Check the
Illustrations
• Look for Stereotypes
or Mainstream Media
• Families who live in rural areas
• Blue-collar workers
• Musicians, artists, and writers
• Families with two dads or two moms
• Look for Tokenism
• Look for Invisibility
• Single mothers or fathers
• Homeless families
• Families with an incarcerated parent
• People of Arab descent and/or
families who practice Islam
• Transgender adults and children
Selecting Anti-Bias Children's Books
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Check the Story Line and the Relationships Between People
Look at Messages About Different Lifestyles
Consider the Effects on Children’s Self and Social Identities.
Look for Books About Children and Adults Engaging in
Actions for Change
Consider the Author’s or Illustrator’s Background &
Perspective
Watch for Loaded Words
Look at the Copyright Date
Assess the Appeal of the Story and Illustrations to Young
Children
Creating an Anti-Bias Library
An anti-bias library maintains a balance of books that
portray:
• A variety of ways of life.
• A range of families are depicted: urban, suburban, rural,
with or without financial resources, and with women
and men in a wide range of roles
• A wide range of family structures in stories that
engage young children
• Blue-collar workers, farmers, service workers, and
artists as well as professionals and white-collar
workers
Creating an Anti-Bias Library
• Differently-abled and able-bodied people actively
taking initiative and filling a range of jobs and roles in
the family
• Diversity of looks, work, family, and way of life within
all racial and/or ethnic groups
• Able and differently-abled children from all
racial/ethnic groups, genders, and classes as active
participants in the stories
• Real people from all kinds of backgrounds—children
and adults—engaged in actions for change, reflecting
current lives as well as lives from the past.
• Past lives should include everyday people, not just famous
individuals.
Should All Books Show Diversity?
• Every book needs to be accurate, caring,
and respectful.
• However, you will want individual books
about specific kinds of people (e.g., a
biracial family or a family with adopted
children).
• Diversity becomes essential in the balance
of your book collection, where you want
to avoid invisibility or tokenism of any
group
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