Teacher Education Goes Global
Banner
Brenda Dales Course
Course Name: Teaching Children's Literature Across the Early Childhood Curriculum
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Reflection: When I first began using international children's literature in my early childhood classes, students reacted strongly against some of the books. In examining this phenomena, I realized that international books are sometimes "different" than some books written/illustrated in the United States and by U.S. authors/illustrators. Without contextualizing international books, readers might be confused about images, artistic styles, ideas or other aspects of the works. International books for children are frequently thought of as books that were published outside of the U.S., and subsequently published or distributed in the U.S. (in translation if not originally written in English). Therefore, when a book is purchased from a U.S. publisher it may not be readily apparent that it is international literature. The first step, I realized, is contextualizing the books-- not only international literature, but all books. Every book has characters, symbols, ideas, or aspects that situate it within a culture. Examining international literature can help to provide ways of thinking about all of the books we use with children and young people, and ways to contextualize all literature.
Comment
Thanks so much for doing t his work. your site will be very helpful to me as I continue to work on "reading film" with my students. The more we know about how different cultures us symbol systems, the more we are ready to be flexible in our "reading" of the messages that we receive from international sites. Best wishes with your work in this area of literature.

Comment
This is a new course, taught for the first time in Fall 2012. Compared to other courses where I used certain examples of international literature (upper level undergraduate and graduate courses), the acceptance by students of this literature was greater this semester, which I attribute to the Cultural X-Rays. In future classes, I may experiment with moving this module closer to the beginning of the course, so the experience gained can be applied to additional books. While this appears an easy change to implement, certain aspects of instruction need to occur before a field experience that is scheduled early in the term. I also hope to focus more on assisting students in recognizing international literature, and thus they will have opportunity to incorporate more of the unique qualities of some of the books into curricula.