Children’s Books in the Language They Know

by Deborah Dimmett

Books about Haiti had a slight resurgence in the area of children’s literature after the 2010 earthquake. However, few books have made it in print in the language Haitian children know best – Creole. It has been easy for publishers to overlook this market for many reasons. Among them is that those in Haiti who can afford to purchase books are fluent in French as well as Creole. But Haiti’s population is estimated at nearly 10 million, nearly all of whom speak Creole with approximately 10% who are actually fluent in French. This raises the question as to why books in Creole are not nearly as plentiful as books in French. In a country where adult literacy has been stagnant at 48.7% Read More »

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A Future for Li Li Li Read!

by Deborah Dimmett

lilililogo-3One successful program launched after Haiti’s 2013 earthquake was Li Li Li Read! Its founder, Michelle Karshan, noticed that children whose families and homes had been uprooted by the earthquake were in great need of something that would brighten their day and take their mind off of the deplorable conditions in which they lived. Thus, in 2010 she created the program Li Li Li Read! for internally displaced children living in camps throughout Port-au-Prince and surrounding municipalities. Read More »

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A Community Where There Are No Books for Children to Read

by Deborah Dimmett

haiti-14023_640This summer I spent two weeks in Bainet, a seaside town in Haiti located about 60 miles from the capital. Over the past 11 years, I have visited this small town to provide seminars to teachers on strategies and methods that do not require many material resources. Most learning in Haitian schools takes place through rote instruction; and, when books are required, Read More »

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Transgender Characters in Children’s Picture Books

by Janine Schall

10000 Dresses coverAlthough I’ve been interested in children’s books with LGBT characters for over a decade, for a long time that actually meant children’s books with gay or lesbian characters. While picture books with characters who transgress gender roles have been around since the 1970s and picture storybooks with explicitly lesbian and gay characters have been around since 1989, a transgender character wasn’t introduced until 2008 in 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert. Read More »

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The Implied LGBT Character in Children’s Picture Books

by Janine Schall

In the first two posts of this series, I briefly discussed the history of picture books with LGBT characters and provided a general overview of the representations of the LGBT characters. This week I look at books where the characters are not explicitly named or depicted as LGBT, but where they are portrayed in ways that imply an LGBT sexual orientation.

These books fall into two main groups. The first has characters whose behavior and/or interests are different from the mainstream in ways that can be read as LGBT. Read More »

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Representations of LGBT Characters in Children’s Picture Books

by Janine Schall

The collection of children’s picture books with LGBT characters began growing steadily when Heather Has Two Mommies (Newman, 1989) was published 25 years ago. With a few books added most years, there are currently over 100 books in this collection, which fall into five general categories: books with lesbian characters, books with gay characters, books with transgender characters, books with implied LGBT characters, and nonfiction books about families which include a gay or lesbian parent. In this categorization system, I have separated the books with lesbian, gay, and transgender characters Read More »

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Picture Books with LGBT Characters

by Janine Schall

10000 Dresses coverRecent court decisions relating to the legality of same sex marriage and the decision by President Obama to sign an executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by federal contractors are the most recent public manifestations of the long struggle for equal rights and treatment of LGBT people in the United States. These political and judicial decisions both result from and drive cultural changes, which are reflected in popular media, literature, and other cultural artifacts. Read More »

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Diaspora in Recent Global Books & Identity Formation

by Seemi Aziz

BlogJulyThe books to the left portray the identity formation of individual characters as they adjust to new and challenging environments.

Going Over by Kephart is a heartfelt novel about a girl and a boy living in the divided Berlin in February 1983. There are barricades and a wall separating east from west. Ada lives among the protesters, and immigrants of Kreuzberg in West Berlin. Stefan lives in East Berlin, in a nondescript apartment bunker of Friedrichshain. The separation between the two sides is merely 165 feet. The characters are bound by love and strong family ties but are separated by their circumstance. The only way out is Read More »

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Diaspora in Recent Global Books: Diamond Boy

by Seemi Aziz

The first book that had an impact on the discussion of diaspora was Diamond Boy by Michael Williams. This story is about Patson Moyo a 15-year-old living with his father, stepmother and sister in Zimbabwe. His father is a schoolteacher who believes in his profession with all his heart but the stepmother wants more financially. The search for ‘more’ takes them to the Marange diamond fields; a portion of which belongs to the stepmother’s brother.Here the family divides as the stepmother opts to stay with her brother’s large family of two wives and children while Patson and his father and sister are driven to live in tobacco sheds while they search for their fortune in a ‘girazi’ (a priceless stone) that would change their lives forever. Read More »

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Diaspora in Recent Global Books

by Seemi Aziz

shinkiari-81770_640The month of July continues the issues, topics, and concerns that deal with diaspora and its impact in today’s global society. As the discussion about diaspora continues in this forum I needed to add a few thoughts and books that deal with the topic that I have recently come across. Read More »

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