Cultural Authenticity in Children’s Books

 Refer to Chapter 15 in CLB: “Multicultural & International Books” for definitions of terms used in this assignment. Read the Class Notes and the example essay titled Water Walkers. (To be slightly revised to add more information about possible/professional sources of reviews.) 1.8.19 Assignment: Write a review of a children’s book that meets the multicultural criteria in Chapter 15 of our textbook, Children’s Literature, Briefly (CLB). Post it in the drop box in Week 11 on Moodle. (60 points) Add a short summary to the Class Forum so you can share your ideas with the class. (10 points) You should review a book with a child protagonist (main character) from either a different culture or a book with an exceptional child protagonist. You will focus on how well the author meets standards of cultural authenticity. You will recommend that the book be used or not used for a particular purpose you specify. Focus on Cultural Authenticity Look at the list of suggested books at the end of the chapter for ideas. Osterlin Library has a great collection of books for this project. Look for the Multicultural label. Does this book present a positive, realistic image of this cultural group? Use a review or analytical guide to help you make this determination.  Find reviews or use some of the sources listed in the Week 11 topic to find reviews or pertinent information to apply to your book. Who is your audience? Write the review with a specific audience in mind. You may select your own audience. You might want to write a recommendation to purchase a book for a school or organization that you belong to. You could write a more personal letter to a relative. You might write in memo or letter form. You may also write with your classmates in mind as your audience. Using the book in a school setting or workplace? How could one use this book in a school setting or in another setting? Would you recommend using it or not? What is the genre of the book? Use your knowledge of the genre (kinds of stories) of children’s books listed in the textbook, Children’s Literature, Briefly. (You may want to include this information in your introduction or elsewhere in your review. You do not have to include it in the order of this assignment.) Proofreading: Remember to proof read carefully. I’d suggest writing the review, saving it, and then going in and editing it again. Can you find another reader? ******* Grading Guide for Project 4: Review/Analysis of a Multicultural Children’s Book ENG 210 60 points for a review/analysis of a book with a culturally specific character. The following elements should be in the review, but do not have to be in this order. ____ Bibliographic information and book image (5 points) _____Summary of the book sharing your intended audience and the reason the book meets the multicultural criteria. (15 points) _____In addition to being multicultural, do you find that the book is culturally authentic? What is your source of that information? Do you have a scholarly review of the book and if so what do they say about the cultural authenticity of the story? Are there criteria available that you can use to analyze it yourself? (See sources of information in the Week’s Topic and/or contact the instructor in a forum if needed.) Note: American Girl dolls need a second source here in addition to any information provided by the publisher/company. (20 points) _____What is the genre of the book? Chapter 6 offers an overview of genre. 5 points) _____Your review and recommendation for the book: Note your reaction to the book: Based on this and your research would this book be appropriate for the audience you are considering? (10 points) _____Proofreading. (5 points) What is cultural authenticity? Our textbook chapter offers a good beginning to understanding that concept. They state that in the category of culturally specific children’s books cultural accuracy is particularly important. (p. 204). They explain the concept as meaning “that those from within a culture feel that a book has accurately and honestly reflected their experiences and viewpoints.” (p. 203) They also note that many individuals feel that books representing a specific cultural group should not be written by someone who is an outsider. But the authors also say, “We acknowledge that the idea of cultural authenticity is debatable.” (p. 203) The following links are to some of the discussions, analysis, and opinions of children’s literature scholars and writers. Use these to support your posts to the forum on cultural authenticity and to support your analysis in Project 4. If a link to a .pdf of journal articles has not been obtained, please google the titles and date. You should be able to get to the articles. Please add any other good sources you find to the discussion forum. A student submitted this summary of multicultural misappropriation in her review recently. I’m adding it because it is a succinct summary. “In choosing multicultural books for kids, there are many great titles- but also some pretty awful stories too, that perpetuate stereotypes. When looking at books about a certain culture, it is imperative to make sure the story does not depict indigenous characters inaccurately or negatively, nor lump together various tribes and people into a general and indistinct group. For example, there is a tendency to erroneously teach young children about tipi-living, feather-wearing, tomahawk-carrying “Indians.” Yet, Native American people are not static or extinct; in fact they are contributing members to society, with deep-rooted traditions and values that are pertinent to our world today. Picking a variety of good-quality books will help to distinguish stories that are purely stereotypical vs stories that are written by people of the specific culture. Reading great books helps to dispel misconceptions and inaccurate stereotypes.” ●

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