Monday, January 25, 2010
Blog Tour: Sand and Stone and Back Again
For the first half of this week, we'll be participating in a blog tour of Nancy Bo Flood's Sand to Stone and Back Again. I'll be posting my review of the picturebook tomorrow.
But today, I thought I'd introduce you, my few beloved readers, to a conversation she has contributed to. At Through the Tollbooth, Nancy Bo Flood any many others have having a conversation about race (and particularly the portrayal of Native Americans) in children's literature. Some of the issues raised have related to who can share the perspective of Native Americans. Can someone who is not a member of a culture or race still represent that experience authentically?
Another track the conversation took was to focus on the need for all kids and their experiences to be represented in the literature. Flood notes, "We need books that celebrate the experiences, the imaginations, the history of all children. As individuals, without stereotypes, without clichés."
I'm very glad she said that. And I would like to focus on the fact that she typed the word "all." When I teach my education students, one of the central lessons I try to have them take away is this idea that when they are in the classroom, they will need to have literature present that will represent as many of the students' backgrounds, experiences and histories as the classroom can possibly fit. And when the room is full of ideas and voices, take the kids to find more in the library.
While most students take in comments like these silently, one will occasionally express concern about having the resources to get all those books. Others will just disagree with the experiences depicted in some children's literature. As a teacher, I firmly believe that every child has a right to hear their own voices reflected in literature. I consider it to be part of my job to put those books in my students' hands. And if there are no books they can relate to. Then I will help those students write their own stories.
The experiences of the Navajos is of particular interest to Flood and she has written about their Calendar (the New Year begins in October) in her picturebook The Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons.
For more information on Nancy Bo Flood and on Sand to Stone and Back Again check out Nancy's website or the other blogs on the tour: