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Italicizing Non-English Words: The Case of Spanish in Picturebooks

By María V. Acevedo, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
With Rebecca Ballenger, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

I read out loud All Around Us, by Xelena Gonzalez, illustrated by Adriana García, to a class of undergraduate students. When I read, “We eat what we’ve grown-crunchy lettuce, sweet carrots and spicy chiles,” one of my students said, “I love your Spanish accent.” Chiles is the only Spanish word in this picturebook and it is not italicized. The student’s comment made me think of picturebooks that highlight non-English words in one way or another and the implications of this practice to fictional characters and readers.

Cover art for La Princesa and the Pea shows a girl with a crown of flowers sitting atop multiple mismatched mattresses and a surly cat perched on the bed's footboard Continue reading

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MTYT: Sam’s Pet Temper

This is the last installment of June’s MTYT, in which we chose books that discuss emotions common to children, such as loss, fear and anger. However, these books come with a twist, in which the emotions are personified. These stories also show children being able to come to grips with these emotions, and the focus is on the actual story rather than just a list of coping strategies. We’ve been discussing books such as these due to a focus in schools on developing emotional health within children. This week, we are discussing the emotion of anger in Sam’s Pet Temper.

Sam's Pet Temper Continue reading

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MTYT: The Bad Mood and the Stick

As we’ve been discussing for all of June, the current emphasis in schools on developing emotional health in children prompted our selection of books. We chose books that discuss emotions common to children (loss, fear, anger) but with a twist. The emotions are personified within the story. Just as important, the books tell stories in which children are able to come to grips with these emotions. The focus is on the great story–not on a list of coping skills found at the end that are supposed to teach children and parents. This week, we discuss the emotion of anger in The Bad Mood and the Stick

The Bad Mood and the Stick Continue reading

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MTYT: Little Fox In the Forest

While serving on award committees, we took notice of books published in 2017 that feature foxes as characters. Throughout January, we looked at a few of these books to see how, or if, authors and illustrators reflect some of the more traditional and cultural views of foxes or if this is a new generation of perceptions of foxes. This week we give our takes on one final book. We started with The Fox and the Wild, then looked at The Fox Wish, also discussed Pandora and last week we give our takes on The Secret Life of the Red Fox. This week we discuss Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin.

Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin Continue reading

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MTYT: Pandora

Last week we mentioned that those of us who serve on literature award committees noticed recent picturebook releases about foxes piqued our interest. We wondered if this representation or characterization of the fox had changed from the traditional portrayals of foxes. Are fox characters more empathetic? We started with The Fox and the Wild and then looked at The Fox Wish. This week we give our takes on Pandora by Victoria Turnbull.

Pandora by Victoria Turnbull Continue reading

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MTYT: The Snurtch

We continue our conversation about the portrayal of emotional and behavioral disabilities in picturebooks, specifically characters who wrestle with childhood depression, anxiety, and outbursts. In the first three weeks, we looked at The Red TreeVirginia Wolf, and Jack’s Worry. This week Maria and Megan take on The Snurtch by Sean Ferrell and Charles Santoso.

The Snurtch Continue reading

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MTYT: The Red Tree

MTYT July 2017

This month we are continuing our conversation about the portrayal of disabilities in picturebooks (see August 2016 and February 2017). Our focus in the following discussions is on emotional and behavioral disabilities, so we will look at characters who wrestle with childhood depression, anxiety, and outbursts. The books we discussed last August and February won the Schneider Family Award for the Portrayal of the Disability Experience. The titles discussed this month, beginning with The Red Tree, have not won that award, but they could have!

The Red Tree Continue reading

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MTYT: Piano Starts Here

This post continues February’s My Take/Your Take conversation on books that have won the Schneider Family Award for their portrayal of the disability experience. The conversation started with The Deaf Musicians, A Splash of Red and The Pirate of Kindergarten, and continues this week with Piano Starts Here.

My Take Your Take, global perspectives, Piano Starts Here Continue reading

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MTYT: The Pirate of Kindergarten

This post continues February’s My Take/Your Take conversation on books that have won the Schneider Family Award for their portrayal of the disability experience. The conversation started with The Deaf Musicians and A Splash of Red, and continues this week with The Pirate of Kindergarten.

My Take Your Take, global perspectives, The Pirate of Kindergarten Continue reading