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Choosing Children's Literature 2007 version

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  • 1. Le Bon Libre: The Good Book Choosing Children’s Literature Fall 2009 ELE 616 Research in Children’s Literature
  • 2. editor from 1974 to 1985
  • 3. What Makes a Good Children’s Book? literature for children 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. • literature for children. Britannica Student Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 29, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica. <http://kids.britannica.com/comptons/article-203946/literature-for- children>
  • 4. What makes an effective children’s book? Depends on the particular book in question 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. 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. Humorous books should be funny. Adventure books suspenseful and exciting. Mysteries intriguing. Fantasies imaginative. Gothics scary. • http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2004/11/effective- aspects.html Children's author Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • 5. More from Cynthia Leitich Smith A good book should be the best book it can be 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. No kid reads a book because of what the New York Times has to say. To them, it must sing. Basically, a good book should be the best book it can be, in whatever manifestation fits best for its unique nature. • Effective aspects
  • 6. What Makes a Good Children’s Book? A good children’s book: Stimulates the imagination Has fun language, rhythm, rhyme, and patterns Has big, clear print, and pictures Is developmentally appropriate Keeps a child’s attention Gets children involved with the story Has sensory appeal • http://www.kingstonliteracy.com/FamLit/goodbook.htm/
  • 7. What about books for young adults? Former English professor Don Gallo: “Good young adult books deal honestly and openly with teenage issues and problems” The best novels for teens, he believes, are well written, yet less complex than the famous classics Short stories, too, are successful at addressing popular themes such as multiculturalism and character development. • In the Interest of Teenagers
  • 8. What makes good children’s literature? Bev Clark, Alcott Fan and Children’s Literature Expert: “In my mind, what makes good children’s literature is the same as what makes great adult literature: The work must be excellent in its own right, never condescend to the reader and raise interesting questions.” “It must speak to children and their parents -- and also to the editors, publishers and sellers who first make it available.”
  • 9. What is good children’s literature? Good children's literature is good literature. Period. Good children's literature isn’t silly or lightweight. Look closely at enduring classics such as Charlotte’s Web and you’ll find a complex work of art, every bit as interesting and rich as an adult novel. Even a children’s book as seemingly simple as Goodnight Moon is in reality a subtly beautiful poem that speaks to the deep longings and fears of both children and adults. • Why Parents Should Read Harry Potter by Robert Needlman, M.D., F.A.A.P.
  • 10. Choosing Books for Young Readers Too Easy? Too Hard ? Just Right? Not every book a child reads must be a challenge. Length and reading level are not everything when it comes to good literature. Just because the stories are shorter and illustrations have been used in a picture book does not make the writing any less powerful. . . . 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. Please allow your child to choose the books they want to read as long as it is not inappropriate material for children. • Book Nuts’ Mom
  • 11. Classroom libraries Why have a classroom library? 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. • Build and Use A Classroom Library on
  • 12. Arguments against classroom libraries Books become restricted in their availability . . . 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. 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. • The classroom library: Are we returning to the 1950s, or developing better collaboration?
  • 13. Solution? Compromise! Classroom libraries have undoubted advantages in promoting reading and love of reading By keeping track of your classroom collection using a spreadsheet or database manager, and then share that list with others in the school See Classroom Libraries on The School Library Handbook about how to organize your collection!
  • 14. Need for policies and procedures What are policies and procedures? Policies explain why the collection exists and what will be in it. A policy tends to address ideals and generalities. Procedures explain how the policy will be implemented and who will be involved with the implementation. A procedure should be concrete and specific. • Information Access & Delivery: Policies and Procedures
  • 15. Do policies really make a difference? Without a policy you may face some of the situations: You are open to book censors. You may be cited on copyright infringement lawsuits. You could be accused of being biased in selection. • Information Access & Delivery: Policies and Procedures
  • 16. Importance of a Selection Policy Why do I need a policy? 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 when there are complaints about . . . fiction in the English class, the use of the “objectionable” item can be explained more easily • ALA Workbook for Selection Policy Writing
  • 17. Typical content A good policy on the selection of instructional materials will include basic sections on objectives, responsibility, criteria, procedures for selection, reconsideration of materials, and policies on controversial materials. 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. • ALA Workbook for Selection Policy Writing
  • 18. Word of warning Know thyself! It is important that teachers and administrators are able to recognize their own biases and also biases that appear in learning materials. When teachers and administrators are aware of their own biases, they can take the steps necessary to ensure that those biases do not influence their interactions with students. • CRITERIA FOR SELECTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF TEACHING AND LEARNING MATERIALS [Website no longer available]
  • 19. Contents of a selection policy selection criteria The set of standards used by librarians to decide whether an item should be added to the collection, which normally includes a list of subjects or fields to be covered, levels of specialization, editions, currency, languages, and formats (large print, nonprint, abridgments, etc.). Selection criteria usually reflect the library’s mission and the information needs of its clientele, but selection decisions are also influenced by budgetary constraints and qualitative evaluation in the form of reviews, recommended core lists, and other selection tools.
  • 20. A Philosophical Question Is Selection a Form of Censorship? 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. • Morris L. Ernst and William Seagle, To the Pure . . . A Study of Obscenity and the Censor cited in Lester Asheim, Not Censorship But Selection
  • 21. Challenged, like Harry Potter Look Out, Harry Potter! – Book Banning Heats Up 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. “Perhaps teachers are self-censored because they felt the chill [from the controversy],” said Charles Suhor, a field representative for the www.ncte.org National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). • Article by Diane Weaver Dunne Education World® 04/10/2000
  • 22. Or, My Weird School Exchange on listserv LM_Net: 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. 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: http://www.dangutman.com/ 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.
  • 23. FINIS