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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.

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 🙂

I’m re-reading an article by Junko Yokota titled, “Asian Americans in Literature for Children and Young Adults” (Teacher Librarian 36:3  Feb 2009) in preparation for giving a guest lecture tonight in Dr. Thomas Crisp’s children’s literature class. Today, this part of Yokota’s words stood out to me:

Representation does not mean looking for the ideally authentic book to represent a culture; no one book can be “the best book” for representing Asian American literature. In fact, it takes many books to create a multidimensional look at a culture.

Whenever I talk about Korean American children’s books or Korean adoption in children’s books, people inevitably ask one of two questions:

  1. Do you plan to write a children’s book on this topic? (No.)
  2. What one book would you recommend?

I find it almost insulting, after giving a presentation on the great variety of experiences and depth of history of the Korean diaspora, and representations of such in children’s literature, to be asked what one book I would recommend. For what time period? From whose perspective? For what age level? In what genre(s)? In which region(s)? On what topics/issues?

Rather than ask, “What is the best book for Korean American youth?” how about asking, “What are some books that represent a range of Korean American experiences for XYZ age group?”

I am much better able to answer the latter question than the former one.

Junko Yokota (professor at National Louis University) cited me in her latest article for Teacher Librarian (Feb 2009/v36 issue3) “Asian Americans in Literature for Children and Young Adults”!!

In this article, Yokota goes over a history of Asian diasporic representations in children’s and young adult literature, discusses emerging themes (such as adoption), persistent issues (such as stereotyping), and new or steady voices (such as Laurence Yep).

It’s a quick read, but packed with a lot of relevant, thought-provoking statements.

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