Building internationally literate communities


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by Katie Day and Barb Philip, September 2010, IASL/SLAQ Conference, Brisbane

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  • Everything that we discuss today (including links to books) is available from this website. If there are any titles that you find difficult to source,, please contact us. Feel free just to listen, rather than take notes as like Michael, we have the death by powerpoint presentation!
  • Who we are How we met ISLN –power of communities & networks HOL – brief because not the focus of this conference
  • Singapore - the Little Red Dot NOT part of Malaysia
  • Aim of the Red Dot Award   Promote books from around the world    Create cross-cultural understanding   Increase the enjoyment of reading      Teacher-librarians recommend recent books, including ones related to Singapore    short-list of 8 books in each of 4 reading levels is chosen.    promoted online in schools from October to March    The Readers Cup event, based on a selection of the shortlists, occurs in May Picture Book (may fit into any of the following divisions) · Junior (where Captain Underpants and Geronimo Stilton are the assumed reading level and readers are usually 8-10 years old) · Middle (where Inkheart and The Lightning Thief are the assumed reading level and readers are usually 9-13 years old) · Senior (where Twilight and The Book Thief are the assumed reading level and readers are usually above 12 years old)
  • The Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie argues in her 2009 TED Talk "The Danger of the Single Story" that one type of narrative about a time or place, especially when told over and over again, creates a stereotype - and that children are particularly vulnerable to this literary trap.  She points out that the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.  Children need a balance of stories, not just in terms of many cultures and countries, but also about any one culture or country.
  • I nternational-mindedness is a concept central to curricula such as the International Baccalaureate    Being internationally literate can be defined as the ability to 'read' other cultures, whether in person or via a text   Is becoming internationally literate easier in an international school situated in a foreign country? The experience of living overseas is no guarantee that people will break out of their mental cul-de-sacs.      (our schools - how literature is promoted by teachers & parents)    Many 3rd culture kids are a good source of recommendation   Danger of a single story   3 min film clip Food for t hought?
  • I n a recent book, The Empathic Civilization, Jeremy Rifkin, a well-known economist and activist, makes the argument that, due to the current economic and environmental interconnectedness of the world, we need to expand our sense of belonging from the nation-state to a global identification and empathy, a mental shift that may be critical to the survival of our species and the biosphere. 
  • After World War Two, a German woman named Jella Lepman had a similar idea, envisioning children's books as bridges to peace and understanding. She believed that if children came to understand about other cultures they would be less likely to support wars in the future Providing students with literature in languages other than English is highly desirable, but is not the focus of this workshop; we are looking children's books in English, as translations or original texts.   
  • Books are 2 -way mirrors - window or mirror, it depends where you are standing Can you see through it or an you only see a reflection? Is the glass clouded?
  • As teacher librarians, we regularly attempt to critically evaluate the resources that we add to our collections, e.g., their relevance to the topic, audience suitability, accessibility and authority.  These critical literacies become particularly important when reading literature from around the world. We have identified three major issues for all readers to consider when evaluating authors and titles for an international audience. First, a word about the various adjectives that could be applied to books.
  • Where two cultures meet
  • interactions between people from different countries, outside an immigration context
  • Books that include references to many cultures or nation-states; intended for an international audience or to promote international-mindedness;
  • used in reference to the reader -- where the cultures portrayed are outside the reader's nation-state -- may be written by an author within the reader's nation-state In the context of this workshop, we are looking for transcultural literature -- from the viewpoint of our library patrons. For our readers in Singapore, this could include multicultural novels from a country like Australia, e.g., Looking for Alibrandi , or the US, e.g., A Step from Heaven , as well as intercultural narrative nonfiction, e.g., The London Jungle Book , or multinational nonfiction, e.g. Hungry Planet
  • Depends where the reader is placed Is it a clear window? We will go on to things that may cloud the window
  • Books must be judged on their relevance to the library's clientele, curriculum, and location Books that explain the local culture The home culture (not necessarily reflected in passport)
  • As international schools, we strive to collect literature that reflects the experience of "third culture kids" (EXPLAIN) living and traveling overseas Does the book appeal? self publishing
  • Winner Appeal - Diary of a Wimpy Kid Local - not our kids Our donated book
  • Another favourite by local author talking about her childhood elsewhere
  • Even the most popular may need explanation to cross the cultural divide Glossaries can do this
  • Do not take it for granted that children will understand your home culture
  • Accessibility includes a consideration of age and reading level appropriateness · The age of the protagonist cannot be taken as the age of the intended reader, even if the reading level is appropriate. While the purpose of using literature to expose children to cultures other than their own is to encourage empathetic connectivity, some stories can be quite confronting and the cultural differences may be simply too distressing (if not for the young reader, in our situation, for the parents monitoring their child's reading!),
  • Iqbal Masih, a boy in Pakistan who was sold to a carpet factory at age 4 Escaped at age 10 Helped 3,000 other children escape bonded labor before being murdered, shot in the back with a ten-gauge shotgun, on a crowded street at the age of 12
  • A book published in one country meant for a local child may assume cultural knowledge that can render the book unintelligible to a child in another country - e.g., the situation of a book being "too American" or "too Australian".
  • Problem genres Bio Sports Historical
  • In selecting literature about Asia, should we privilege Asian authors?  Can an author from another culture write an authentic book about a culture? Frederick Lipp's books about Cambodia seem perfect for junior readers, even though he is an older American man who had not yet visited Cambodia at the time he wrote his first book,
  • Expatriate Point of View? One aspect of society (not necessarily the norm)?
  • Beware the souvenir Self publishing phenomena
  • Poor Translations and Unappealing English How would you know? Network
  • This is where the benefits of networks -- professional and personal -- kick in.  If we have questions about the authenticity or currency of a cultural representation, the fastest way to get information to support your decision is to ask people in those countries, look at book awards whether via listservs (OZTL for Australia, LM_NET for the US, SLN for the UK, etc.) or through tools like Twitter.  
  • To conclude
  • Building internationally literate communities

    1. 1. “ Our education cannot be complete until we have had conversations with every continent and every civilization.” Theodore Zeldin
    2. 2. http://www.kidsglobal
    3. 3. Building Internationally Literate Communities <ul><li>Barbara Philip & Katie Day </li></ul><ul><li>SLAQ / IASL 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity Challenge Resilience SCHOOL LIBRARIES IN ACTION </li></ul><ul><li>September 28, 2010 </li></ul>http://www.kidsglobal
    4. 4. http://www.kidsglobal
    5. 5. http://www.kidsglobal
    6. 6. <ul><li>Picture </li></ul><ul><li>Junior </li></ul><ul><li>Middle </li></ul><ul><li>Senior </li></ul>http://www.kidsglobal
    7. 7. Red Dot Awards - 2009 http://www.kidsglobal
    8. 8. http://www.kidsglobal Red Dot Awards - 2010
    9. 9. China Japan Sakura
    10. 10. Being Internationally Literate can be defined as the ability to “read” other cultures whether in person, or via text http://www.kidsglobal
    11. 11. Chimamanda Adichie http://www.kidsglobal
    12. 12. The Danger of the Single Story http://www.kidsglobal
    13. 14. What is empathy? http://www.kidsglobal
    14. 15. <ul><li>The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) </li></ul>http://www.kidsglobal
    15. 16. “ Children need books that are mirrors and books that are windows” Jella Lepman
    16. 17. http://www.kidsglobal
    17. 18. Types of Cultural Books http://www.kidsglobal
    18. 19. Multi-cultural Literature http://www.kidsglobal
    19. 20. http://www.kidsglobal
    20. 21. Inter-cultural Literature http://www.kidsglobal
    21. 22. http://www.kidsglobal
    22. 25. Cross-cultural Literature http://www.kidsglobal
    23. 26. http://www.kidsglobal
    24. 27. Single-culture Literature
    25. 29. Trans-cultural Literature
    26. 30. ? ?
    27. 31. Relevance and Appeal to the Reader http://www.kidsglobal
    28. 32. http://www.kidsglobal
    29. 33. http://www.kidsglobal
    30. 34. http://www.kidsglobal
    31. 35. http://www.kidsglobal
    32. 36. Cultural Content and Accessibility to the Reader
    33. 38. http://www.kidsglobal
    34. 39. http://www.kidsglobal
    35. 40. http://www.kidsglobal
    36. 41. http://www.kidsglobal
    37. 42. http://www.kidsglobal
    38. 43. http://www.kidsglobal
    39. 44. <ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Authority </li></ul><ul><li>Authenticity </li></ul><ul><li>Availability </li></ul>http://www.kidsglobal
    40. 45. http://www.kidsglobal
    41. 46. http://www.kidsglobal
    42. 48. http://www.kidsglobal
    43. 50. http://www.kidsglobal
    44. 51. The best way to build internationally literate communities is to work on becoming more internationally literate ourselves, individually and as networks, then spreading the resources and opportunities to read more widely to our students, teachers, and parents.  
    45. 52. [email_address] [email_address]
    46. 53. Further references will be publicly available on the Kids Global Read website after 30/09/10     Adichie, Chimamanda. Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story . TED Ideas Worth Spreading . TED, July 2009. Web. 5 June 2010.   “ City Stories: Tales from Here and There.” . N.p., 2008? Web. 5 June 2010. <‌shop/‌SearchResults.asp?ProdStock=26302>.   Day, Katie and P hilip, Barbara. Kids Global Read . N.p., 2010. Web. 5 June 2010. http ://   Flint, Shamini. “Young Readers.” Shamini Flint . N.p., 2008. Web. 5 June 2010. oks-youngreaders.html   Foo, Adeline. The Di ary of Amos Lee - I Sit, I Write, I Flush . Pixie Books, 2010. Web. 5 June 2010.‌home.html   Google Books . Google, 2010. Web. 5 June 2010. http://book   Heyward, M. “From International to Intercultural: Redefining the International School for a Globalised World.” Journal of Research in International Education 1.9 (200 2): 9-32. Print.   International Baccalaureate Organization. “IB Community Theme: Sha ring our humanity.” . Int ernational Baccalaureate Organization, 2010. Web. 5 June 2010.   “ IB World - January 2008.” IB World Magazine Jan. 2008: n. pag. Web. 5 June 2010.   The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). “Welcome to IBBY.” IBBY . The International Board on Books for Young People , 28 May 2010. Web. 5 June 2010. /   International School Libraries Network (Singapore). Hands On Literacy in the 21st Century Classroon and Library . International School Libraries Network (Sin gapore), 2010. Web. 5 June 2010.   International School Libraries Network (Singapore) - ISLN . ISLN, June 2010. Web. 5 June 2010.   “ Red Dot Children’s Choi ce Book Awards.” Red Dot Book Awards 2009-2010               . International School Libraries (ISLN) Singapore, May 2010. Web. 5 June 2010.   Lipp, Frederick. “Fred’s Books.” Kids Go Global . Frederick Li pp, 2007. Web. 5 June 2010 .   McCrum, Robert. Globish: How English conquered the world: a Guns, Germs, and Ste el argument based on the power of the word . Canada: Doubleday, 2010. Print.   “ Picture Books - Home from Home.” ., 2006. Web. 5 June 2010. %20from%20home/main.htm   Po llock, David and Van Reken, Ruth. Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds . London: Nicholas Breale y Publishing, 2001. Print.   Pratt, Li nda, and Beaty, Janice J. Transcultural Children’s Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1999. Print.   Rifkin, Jeremy. The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis  . Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2010. Print.   RSA Animate - The Empathic Civilis ation . You Tube . Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, 6 May 2010. Web. 5 June 2010.   Skelton, Martin, et al. “Beyond Food, Festivals, and Flags.” Educational Leadership: The World in the Classroom 60.2 (2002): 52-55. Web. 5 May 2010.   Tan, Teri. “Children’s Book Publishing in Asia: Developing originals and translating go hand-in-hand .” Publishers Weekly (Mar. 2009): n. pag. Web. 29 May 2010. <‌pw/‌by-topic/‌childrens/‌childrens-book-news/‌article/‌10035-children-e2-80-99s-book-publishing-in-asia-.html>.