While going through my stuff, I came across my teaching stuff that has been in boxes since we moved here 4 years ago. I decided to get rid of almost all of it. Most of it's so outdated that if I went back, it would be irrelevant. While shredding some papers I came across a paper I wrote in Grad school that I thought I would share today. I personally thought it was too important not to share it with my readers.
Literature can be powerful, inspiring, encouraging, informational, and potentially life changing. "Children's literature can be a powerful, positive force in the lives of children. It can make them less innocent. It can make them conscious that there is more than one way of being normal." (Perry Nodelman)
Children's books deal with such explosive subjects as violence, gangs, drug abuse, child abuse and sexuality tend to invite controversy. some critics attack books that deal with these topics as far too nonjudgmental, while other deplore either their explicit, realistic treatment or their didactic tone.
Didactic- 1. designed or intended to teach, 2. intended to convey instruction and information as well as pleasure and entertainment.
Literature currently available for children is of limited value, and in it cautiousness, reflects society's lingering unwillingness to discuss unpleasant facts. Without sufficient information, children are not only unable to gain knowledge, but in some instances they may not realize they are being affected by one of these issues.
Clearly, changes need to be made. We cannot avoid the topics simply because it makes us uncomfortable; perhaps feelings of discomfort should be warning signs that we must acknowledge an issue. We as
teachers parents can break the cycle by creating an environment in which silenced issues can be discussed openly and accurate information is readily available.
Many valuable books, are excellent ways to approach silenced issues. An alternative would be a book that children will want to read and have read to them because they like the way it sounds. Or, incorporating interactivity where the
student child is provided with opportunities to actively participate in the reading experience. There are many things we can do to talk and discuss these issues with our classes children, just use your imagination, and don't be afraid to tackle these silenced issues, because you may be a students child's only hope.
1. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon- Patty Lovell -ages 4-8
2. Goggles- Ezra Jack Keats -Ages 4- 8
3. True Believer- Virginia Wolff- Young Adult
4. Shattering Glass- Gail Giles- Young Adult
5. The Butter Battle Book- Dr. Seuss- Ages 4-8
1. Breaking Rank- Kristen D. Randle- Young Adult
2. Junebug in Trouble- Alice Mead- Ages 9-12
3. How I became a Writer and Oggie learned to Drive- Janet Taylor Lisle- Ages 9-12
4. The Outsiders- S.E Hinton- Young Adult
5. East Side Dreams- Art Rodrigues- Young Adult
1. Joey Pigza Loses Control- Jack Gantos- Ages 9-12
2. Beauty Queen- Linda Glovach- Young Adult
3. Elephant In the Living Room- Jill Hastnys- Ages 4-8
4. Smack- Melvin Burgess- Young Adult
5. Forged By Fire- Sharon Draper- Ages 9-12
1. The Wathcer- James Howe- Young Adult
2. What Jamie Saw- Carolyn Coman- Ages 9-12
3. Friction- E. Frank- Young Adult
4. You Don't Know Me- David Klass- Young Adult
5. I was a Teenage Fairy- Francesca Lia Block- Young Adult
1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Stephen Chbosky- Young Adult
2. Navajo Summer- Jennerifer Owings Dewey- Ages 9-12
3. When Jeff Comes Home- Catherine Atkins- Young Adult
4. If it Doesn't Kill You- Margaret Bechard- Young Adult
5. Eight Seconds- Jean Ferris- Young Adult
I hope that you will read these books with your kids. I'm a firm believer that books are written for enjoyment, not to persuade your children to do things. It drives me crazy when parents won't let there kids read a book because they don't approve of the content. It's a book, they are meant to let your kids use their imaginations. I would rather my children read a book and discuss it with them, then be out learning from other children or adults. I am their first teacher and line of defense against the world. I am the one that teaches them right from wrong, real from make believe, not a book. I hope this gives you a little bit of courage to tackle issues that you wouldn't have before. Good Luck and READ ON!