Winter 2022      Volume 51, Number 1

Self-Esteem, Silences, Invisibility, and Otherness in Newbery Medal-Winning Contemporary Realistic Fiction, 2012-2022
By Kathleen A. Paciga and Melanie D. Koss

Document: Article 

Introductory Paragraph:  Stories told or written are often indicators of the dominant values within a society.  (Moynihan, 1988, p. 93)

All literature is a cultural and historical artifact and is situated in the time and place in which it was written. As a result, dominant ideologies of race, class, gender, and ability are interwoven into books. Children’s literature, then, is a way of transmitting the ideologies of a society to children specifically in that it is a common medium used with children inside and outside of the classroom.

Literature that portrays a range of diverse characters, settings, and cultures has the potential to provide children insight into their own culture and surroundings as well as into the cultures of others, giving opportunity for discussions of diversity (Colby & Lyon, 2004). Children’s senses of self are significantly impacted by the books they read and encounter (Chaudri & Teale, 2013; Hall, 2009; Levin, 2007). Providing opportunities for children to critically examine books, the stories they tell about the world, and the perspectives of authors, illustrators, and others in power can broaden children’s sense of cultural awareness and provide tools to explore discrimination (Banks, 2019; Braden & Rodriguez, 2016; Thein et al., 2007). Children also need opportunities to grapple with cultural accuracy, authenticity, and representations of power and privilege in the texts they read. Literature affords readers space and place to critically examine a topic from multiple perspectives, including through lenses of race, class, gender, and disability. We recognize children’s literature as a promising site of investigation as it is used in classrooms as jumping off points for learning and discussion.

DOI: 51.1.2022.3

Page Numbers:   3-23

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