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African and African American Children’s and Adolescent Literature in the Classroom

A Critical Guide


Vivian Yenika-Agbaw and Mary Napoli

The essays in this collection discuss multicultural issues in children’s and adolescent literature, focusing particularly on African and African American cultures. They challenge our understanding of what, in an age of globalization, multicultural texts really are. Cumulatively, these essays illustrate multicultural literature’s power to educate young readers about the numerous and varied perspectives on their own cultures and roles in society, as well as those of other cultures. The scholarship presented here makes it clear that not only should multicultural literature be integrated within the school curriculum, but that it can be examined to reveal subtle cultural nuances that show how cultures, customs, and people may be at once similar and different.
Contents: Vivian Yenika-Agbaw/Mary Napoli: Introduction. Domestic and International Multiculturalism: Children’s Literature about Africans and African Americans – Ruth McKoy Lowery: Fathers Know Best: Traditional Families in Recently Published African American Children’s Literature for the Early Grades – Mary Napoli: Powerful Words: Celebrating Poetry with Young Children – Janet Helmberger: Representing Cultural Identity in Children’s Literature: Black Children in Their Communities – Patricia Crawford: Spirituality and Young Children: Literature as a Support for Resilience and Coping – April Whatley Bedford/Renée Casbergue: Sharing Culturally Relevant Literature with Preschool Children and Their Families – Shanetia Clark/Kimetta Hairston: «I Want My Mama!»: Young Black Adolescents Reading through the Grief – Rachel Grant: African American Female Literacies and the Role of Double Dutch in the Lives and Literature for Black Girls – Ann Berger-Knorr: Discrimination and Preadolescence: Two Readers’ Constructions – Linda T. Parsons/Michele D. Castleman: Daring to Dream: Characters in Coretta Scott King Author Award-Winning Books and Their Pursuits of the American Dream – Barbara Marinak: Representing Black Experiences: Engaging Hearts and Minds with Excellent Nonfiction Literature – Lewis Asimeng-Boahene: Riddles as Critical Thinking Tools: A Case of African Traditional Oral Literature in the Social Studies Classroom – Denise Jarrett: Reading «Black» Poverty in Postcolonial Anglophone Caribbean Young Adult Fiction: Michael Anthony’s The Year in San Fernando and Cyril Everard Palmer’s The Cloud with the Silver Lining – Corinna Crafton: Alternative Families in Young Adult Novels: Disrupting the Status Quo – Vivian Yenika-Agbaw: Disability in Africana Adolescent Literature – Lauren Lewis: Lessons on Discrimination: Historical Fiction and the Culture of Struggle – Barbara A. Ward/Deanna Day: Keeping Hope Alive: Reading and Discussing Adolescent Novels and Modern-Day Miracles – Tamara Lindsey: The Exoticizing of African American Children and of Children of Color: Care Work and Critical Literacy – Mary Napoli/Vivian Yenika-Agbaw: Afterword. Global Literacy: Implications for the Classroom.