Friday, May 15, 2009

Diversity Roll Call: Children's Book Week

It's a good news/bad news kind of day for the C.O.R.A. Diversity Roll Call:

The good news: Some participants were concerned that a week doesn't leave them enough time to think through the questions and get a solid post up before the topic changes. So, from now on, you'll have two weeks between Roll Calls, which will be posted the first and third Fridays of every month.

The bad news: That means two fewer opportunities to be entered for the Mega Book Giveaway.

The good news: The Mega Book Giveaway!!! Click on the link for more details, but the basics are, for every Roll Call you participate in, you receive one entry in the drawing for books by Asian and Latino authors. (You can also receive additional entries for posting reviews of books by authors of color!)

The bad news: I'm supposed to be helping my husband with yard work instead of writing this post.

The good news: You can still answer any of the previous questions, if you haven't already, for another entry in the drawing. Links to each question are available here: Mega Book Giveaway!!!.

And finally, the question:Did you know this is Children's Book Week? It is! And it probably won't still be Children's Book Week when you answer this question, but that's okay. We're going to talk about kids' books anyway. Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Choose one or more kids' books or stories. Could be an old favorite you remember from your childhood, or a new one that just came out. Could be a comic book (missed you last week, Rich!) or fairy tale or a ghost story. Whatever strikes you.

Did/does the world of the story match with your world? How do you think it contributes to a child's world view? (For example, I grew up in a very white, middle class American neighborhood--books could either broaden my view of the world or give me an illusion of sameness in the world). Do the characters' looks, values, social status, reflect the diversity of our world? Would it change the meaning of the story if the characters were different?

Don't like that question?: Tell us about a children's book or two that we should know about, with diverse characters, or written by an author of color, or a gay/lesbian author, or an author with a disability, or an author who is diverse in any other way.

Edit 5/31: This Roll Call is still active until June 1 but Mr. Linky is down--please post a link to your post in the comments. Thanks!

15 comments:

  1. Oh, I like this one, too, Ali. Will work on it.

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  2. Last week was bad for me because I was going out of town and I had a bunch of other things on my plate. Will get back to it this week though.

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  3. No pressure, Rich, but glad to see you back!

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  4. Greetings! I haven't read many contemporary kids books (shame, shame) but I'm glad you gave me a chance to rave about an old fave...
    http://zettaelliott.wordpress.com/2009/05/18/step-right-up/

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  5. Some of the authors I liked as a kid were Beverly Clearly, H A Rey (Currious George), the series The Littles, and numerous other books. They were primarally set in middle class white families. I didn't get to African American authors or authors of different contries until high school. High school open my eyes to alot of different authors around the world. My history teacher opened my eyes to alot of historical fiction authors that I fell in love with, especially James Mitchner.

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  6. Zetta, Thanks, your post inspired me for my own (still in progress)!

    Intergalactic Bookworm, Did you see my Beverly Cleary post?

    I loved Curious George, but when I reread them w/my kids as an adult I found them a little unsettling. Man goes to Africa, brings back monkey, then monkey gets in trouble for basically being a monkey. I dunno.

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  7. I had a little trouble with the Links but will instead try to write my comment here:

    I'd like to suggest a book by a gay author:

    Oscar Wilde wrote some beautiful fairy tales, my favorite was "The Happy Prince" . It covers love, loss and generosity so well.

    Another book that was about two young brothers in China, called "Tikki Tikki Tembo" by Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent was also a fun read and insightful. Wonderful for kids. It showed how the parents so valued the first born that they gave him a long long name and all the attention. The second born was relegated to the sidelines. But when the first born Tikki Tikki Tembo No Serembo Cherry Berry Ruchi fell down the well, his younger brother had to run and find the old man with a ladder and tell him about his brother - but because of the long name almost didn't save his brother!

    gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

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  8. Nice response, Gaby. I'm not sure if I've heard of The Happy Prince before (I thought I had, but then I realized that was The Little Prince). I do remember Tikki Tikki Tembo very well, though--and that reminds me, there are some Chinese folktales I remember reading in school that were pretty illuminating for me in terms of Chinese culture.

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  9. Hi, I did the meme today on my blog!

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  10. Thanks! I really liked this question - plus the praise helps!!

    I thought of another children's book is The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. From what I recall the lead character grows up on an island with her family, they sound like Native Americans. Somehow the girl is left behind and has to fend for herself and makes friends with the animals on the island. There is an encounter with the settlers that is a high point in the story.

    This was very different from either of the places that I'd grown up (Newton, MA) or Manila, Philippines, surrounded with a large extended family.

    In the book, while race was important it was more hte differences in culture, lifestyle, and material possessions that were critical in defining their lives. Race wasn't addressed directly as much the cultural and material differences.


    gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

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  11. Gaby, I don't think I've ever read Island of the Blue Dolphins! From what I hear, it's a classic. I should read it with my kids.

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  12. If anyone is interested, there is a wonderful retrospective of 40 yrs of the Coretta Scott King award for excellent in African American children's literature, written by the chair of the awards committee, located here:

    http://www.theroot.com/views/corettas-reading-rainbow

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  13. Another good article from The Root, this one on little girls and princesses:

    http://www.theroot.com/views/enough-princesses

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  14. Thanks so much for posting those, RhapsodyinBooks!

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