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CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Editors: Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Ph.D. and Sarah Park, Ph.D.

Tentative Title: Sliding Doors in a Pluralistic Society: Critical Approaches to and Intercultural Perspectives on Diversity in Contemporary Literature for Children and Young Adults

Publisher: ALA Editions

Youth deserve to encounter authentic and accurate representations of their cultures in books, libraries, and classrooms. Twenty-first century librarians and educators can be poised to meet the informational, recreational, and cultural needs of youth by providing high-quality children’s and young adult literature and literacy activities that reflect the culturally pluralistic society of the United States.

For our edited volume, we seek chapters that address the growing demands of school media specialists, public youth librarians, classroom teachers, and other educators for information on selecting materials and creating literacy and library programs to meet the needs of children and young adults in our culturally pluralistic society. We define diversity not only in terms of race and culture, but also in age, ability, religious preferences, family composition, and so on. By providing new critical and intercultural approaches to diversity in contemporary literature for children and young adults, this book will provide theoretical frameworks that consider the over-arching issues which continue to expand and break boundaries in youth literature. These approaches can assist librarians and other educators in choosing, evaluating, and selecting quality children’s and YA literature and using it to meet the literacy (informational, reading, cultural, etc.) needs of the increasingly diverse youth population in U.S libraries, classrooms, and homes. As well, the critical and intercultural approaches can help educators situate the books in their socio-political contexts in order to consider how the books may meet the social needs of youth. Finally, the title will provide ideas and examples of successful library and literacy programs that incorporate diverse children’s literature to meet the informational and recreational needs of all children and young adults.

We seek current and timely chapters on the following topics (each bullet represents a separate chapter):

  • Literature review of studies from various disciplines related to the topics of cultural diversity, cultural pluralism, cultural literacy, diversity, etc. as presented in children’s and young adult literature.
  • Understanding the politics and key concerns in selecting, analyzing, and using diverse literature for children and young adults.
  • Creating a working conceptualization of diversity that can be used with children and young adults to foster intercultural understanding and prepare young minds for interacting in the culturally pluralistic society of the U.S.
  • Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature Representing African American People and Cultures.
  • Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature Representing Latino People and Cultures
  • Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature Representing Asian American People and Cultures
  • Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature Representing Indigenous People and Cultures
  • Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature Representing Multiracial or Transnational Youth
  • Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature Describing Characters with Cognitive Dis/Abilities
  • Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature Describing Characters with Physical Dis/Abilities
  • Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature Representing Religious Affiliations.
  • Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Young Adult Literature Depicting Incarcerated Youth
  • Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature Depicting Homelessness
  • Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature Describing Transnational Adoptions
  • Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Children’s Books Depicting Gender Variance and Queer Families and Characters

Other Guidelines: Each chapter must be under 4,000 words, inclusive of all bibliographies and notes. The author(s) should include information about selecting books representing the cultural group, descriptions of “good” and “bad” books, and programming ideas/ strategies that have been tested with children and young adults in classroom and library settings. Chapters should be formatted according the Chicago Manual of Style.

Deadlines: If you are interested in contributing to this edited work, please send a proposal (approximately 500 words) by November 1, 2010, which outlines how you would address the topics in one of the aforementioned chapters. Proposals should include your name, affiliation, email, and phone number along with a current 2-page CV highlighting relevant publications related to your chapter. We will notify selected authors of our decisions by November 15, 2010.  Completed chapters are due by May 30, 2011.

Please send proposals by November 1st to slidingdoors9@gmail.com with “Chapter Proposal” in the subject heading.

Questions? Contact us at slidingdoors9@gmail.com.

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I’m very pleased to announce Talk Story: Sharing Story, Sharing Culture, a literacy program put together by the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and the American Indian Library Association (AILA). The American Library Association and ALA President Dr. Camila Alire launched this Family Literacy Focus initiative to encourage families in ethnically diverse communities to read and learn together (press release).

Talk Story: Sharing stories, sharing culture is a literacy program that reaches out to Asian Pacific American (APA) and American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) children and their families. The program celebrates and explores their stories through books, oral traditions, and art to provide an interactive, enriching experience. Children and their families can connect to rich cultural activities through Talk Story in their homes, libraries, and communities. We welcome all ethnicities to customize Talk Story as needed for your community family literacy needs.

Talk Story: Sharing stories, sharing culture: http://www.talkstorytogether.org/

Happy reading, happy learning 🙂

Paper Tigers just announced a new initiative called Spirit of Paper Tigers; the purpose is to “donate a selection of books which reflect the aims of PaperTigers, putting them into the hands of children in areas of need in different parts of the world.” The website states,

Many organizations are doing excellent work in getting books to children through schools and libraries in areas of need, and our efforts are not intended to replicate their work. The specific focus of this SPT project is to select a set of books published each year because their content, focus, and outreach express the goals of reading and literacy, as well as encouraging curiosity among young people about the world around them.

The central criterion in the mind of the selection panel was to give special recognition to books that, in addition to meeting conventional standards for excellence, will also contribute to PaperTigers’ broader aims of bridging cultures and opening minds, and of promoting greater understanding and empathy among young people from different backgrounds, countries, and ethnicities. Another criterion was that books selected had to be in English, or bilingual publications where one of the two languages is English.

This initiative sounds much better than the People of Color reading challenge that Dr. Debbie Reese blogged about recently (first and second post). The folks over at POC are trying to encourage readers to read more works by or about people of color. Although well intentioned, this doesn’t sit well with me because it seems like a hasty, easy way to get people to read more stories “about” people of color, but with less of a critical eye regarding accuracy or appropriation. Interestingly, the POC folks responded to Dr. Reese in their own post. I guess we’ll see what happens.

Click here for more information of the Spirit of Paper Tigers.

From an article in the Boston Globe:

Parents do these things to help instill in their children pride in who they are, and where they came from, but also to prepare them in case they want to return to their homeland and search for their birth family. What perplexes me is when parents say things like they are sorry for removing their children from “their culture.”

And yet the demand is still so high.

But focusing on a museum view of culture can ignore – or become a way to ignore – the reality of life as a racial minority in America.

Being Asian American is not about celebrating the lunar new year, wearing a hanbok, painting a mask, or banging a drum. Yeah, we do those sometimes, but there’s more to it than that. For example, today someone asked me if I was from the US. It was much nicer than asking “So what country are you from?” but the implication is there: I don’t look American. That is something you don’t get from the “museum view of culture” that Hopgood writes of.

This is a danger, I think, in presenting the birth country and family in an overly romantic way, and in raising a child’s expectations that they will and should fit in. Adoptees can end up feeling bad not only because they don’t fit in, but because they disappoint their parents.

There is also a danger, I think, in presenting the birth country and family in an overly romantic and unmodernized, backwards way; that the birth parents are poor farmers from rural areas and unable to raise a child. Unfortunately, I can name more than a few children’s books that do that. Likewise, I can name more than a few children’s books that romanticize adoption itself; the rescue, the colorblind love, the trivial misunderstandings from society that adoptees should brush off. Right.

I realize that adoptees will all come to their own view of culture and adoption, but I imagine many international adoptees and children in multiracial families share this wider, more global view of themselves. Our blended family backgrounds, beliefs, and practices – as diverse, complicated, and dissonant as they might seem – are as authentic as any. We are another version of the immigrant story, with a culture is just as rich as the one we might have had.

Read the rest of it here. Thanks to Ji-Yeon Yuh for the link.

Upcoming events! Passport to Korea at the Mall of America:

Discover Korea without a passport or getting on a plane. Experience the timeless mix of rich traditional and modern culture. See Korean dancers perform dances that has originated three thousand years ago from ancient Shamanistic rituals. Be delighted with the vibrant colors as models walk the runway in Hanboks, traditional Korean dresses which were worn as semi-formal or formal wear during the festivals and celebrations. In addition, there will be performance of Gayageum strings (traditional string instrument of Korea), demonstration of Taekwondo and high energy break dancing by the world famous B-boys.

This event is sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourismand the Network of Professional Adopted Koreans, a Minneapolis, MN based nonprofit organization.

Thursday, April 23
6 p.m.- 8p.m.

Friday, April 24-Sunday, April 26
12 p.m.- 6 p.m.

Best Buy® Rotunda 

See the website here.

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