Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Children's books revisited: Putting children's lit theory into practice

My niece and nephew are visiting for the summer. In an effort to keep them from being bored and to encourage them to participate in educational activities, I brought them to the local library today. I tried looking up books with a feminist message, but had little luck. I tried using Jackie's list of books featuring girls and boys acting in non-traditional gender roles, but none of them were available. I wasn't surprised. My town is a small, conservative one, so I didn't have high expectations. But I kept wandering the aisles and 'lo and behold, I found political books in the Juvenile section.
Jacob, my nephew, and I browsed the books and I encouraged him to check out one about Racism. We are Puerto Rican and "being a little brown boy," as he put it, is something he can understand. I told him to try it out and, if he liked it, we'd check out more political books in the future.

Finding a good book for my niece, Ariana, was a little trickier. She's only seven, and not yet at an advanced reading age. But we found a small - very small - section of books in Spanish. Jacob and Ariana both want to learn the language, but she's especially shy about speaking it. But we picked out one called I am Latino: The Beauty in Me and another, an old Cuban story, that was entirely all in Spanish.

We sat down to read I am Latino. She was really hesitant at first, but ended up liking it. There are Spanish words interspersed throughout the book, so she was speaking Spanish without even realizing it. By the end, she decided to check it out. It's frustrating that Latinos even need a book to convince them that they're beautiful, but I'll take what I can get.

I'm still looking for good books for the kids, so if you know of any, please leave your suggestions in the comments. For more information about feminist books for kids, check out The Amelia Bloomer Project, Nontraditional Pursuits of Boys and Girls, Veganfamily.co.uk and this list on Amazon.

No comments:

Post a Comment