Children's Literature Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 4 Subject: Literature Type: Essay Paper: #66144771 Related Topics: Jk Rowling, Sexism, Uber, Literature
Excerpt from Essay :

Children's Lit

Montano urges a rigorous critical examination of children's literature for racism, linguicism, sexism, and bias. The importance of critical examination is to empower teachers, students, and parents to recognize the root causes of bias, prejudice, and stereotype. The function is not simply to point out obvious instances of racism, linguicism, sexism, and other biases. Moreover, it is not enough to include literature written from multicultural perspectives in classroom syllabi. As Gonzalez & Montano (2008) point out, it is important to recognize bias in all its forms: "The mere inclusion of multicultural literature is not enough to disrupt privilege or injustice. Nor is it enough to ask teachers to deconstruct stereotypes in texts and images if teachers are unaware of the subtle biases that exist therein," (p. 77). Montano calls the process of analysis critical literacy.

The process by which critical literacy can be attained varies but Montano provides a detailed and organized method of analysis. An analysis of the following four books highlights the ways children's literature can become a vehicle for more extensive media literacy as the child grows. As children's literature sets the foundation for value construction, norm building, and worldview creation, parents and teachers cannot underestimate the importance of critical literacy in childhood.

1. L. Frank Baum's Wonderful Wizard of Oz. 1900.

Baum's book might have become more popular in its film format, but the 1939 movie does not completely overshadow its printed counterpart. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz remains a mainstay on children's literature shelves at homes and in


Therefore, a critical reading is crucial. The book details the magical journey of Dorothy Gale, simple farm girl from Kansas. Dorothy has been orphaned, and is raised by Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. After a brutal tornado hits Kansas, Dorothy and her faithful dog Toto are transported to an alternative universe in Oz. The bulk of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz takes place in Oz, where Dororthy amasses a band of friends including the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion. Along with Toto, the four friends seek the titular wizard so that they can all ask for a special gift. Dorothy's wish is to be taken home to Kansas.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz remains relatively clean even of tinges of bias. There are certainly no overt references to racism, sexism, or linguicism. In fact, Dorothy's character presents young female readers with a strong and independent role model -- and one that comes from an alternative household. The Wicked Witch -- Dorothy's main foil and the book's primary antagonist -- is green. She bears no resemblance to any real-life human ethnic group. As a female foil, she also highlights the multifaceted means by which human power is obtained and maintained without reference to gender hierarchies. Even though the wizard is male, he bears none of the stereotypes of masculinity. In fact, gender stereotypes are near-absent in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in spite of its being written nearly a century ago. Therefore, Baum's book remains a cornerstone of enlightened children's literature.

2. Herge, Tin in the Congo, 1930

Another classic of children's literature is nearly the opposite of Baum's book in its overt racist undertones and complete ignorance of the impact of colonialism. The Tin series recently came under fire when the cultural director of Stockholm's Culture House participated in a high profile media event in which the entire series was shifted from the children's section to the adult shelves in a Swedish bookstore. The reshelving was controversial because it stank of censorship, and yet the move drew close attention to the importance of critical literacy. In Tin in the Congo, the hero travels to Africa with his uber-white dog named Snowy. Already, the tint of race permeates the book. When Tin hires a local black boy named…

Sources Used in Documents:


Baum, F. (1900). The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Gonzalez, R. & Montano, T. (2008) "Critical analysis of Chicana/o children's literature: Moving from cultural differences to sociopolitical realities," Journal of Praxis in Multicultural Education: Vol. 3: Iss. 1, Article 6. DOI: 10.9741/2161-2978. Available at:

Herge. (1930). Tin in the Congo.

Riorden, R. (2007). The Titan's Curse.

Cite this Document:

"Children's Literature" (2012, October 16) Retrieved August 15, 2022, from

"Children's Literature" 16 October 2012. Web.15 August. 2022. <>

"Children's Literature", 16 October 2012, Accessed.15 August. 2022,

Related Documents
Children's Literature the Genre of
Words: 870 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 8986354

For instance, in Jacob Have I Loved, a twin comes of age in the 1940s, and finds that she indeed can make ordinary life more than extraordinary. Realistic fiction also tends to be more contemporary in tone, connecting with issues that are relevant to contemporary family situations. Issues such as divorce, dysfunctional families, adoptions, etc. are dealt with in a serious and relevant manner; in On My Honor, a

Moral Reasoning Is It Taught Through Children Literature
Words: 3473 Length: 8 Pages Topic: Teaching Paper #: 30688923

Charlotte's Web: Field Research, Psycho-Social Research, and a Textual Summary and Analysis Introduction and Field Research Background My niece Ariel, age 11, agreed to read Charlotte's Web by E.B. White with me, and to be my informant on this project (Shapiro, "Personal Interview"). Ariel is extremely bright (IQ over 140), and has already finished the 7th grade, having skipped second grade in elementary school (I bring this up not so much to

Child Abuse in Literature
Words: 2561 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Children Paper #: 4149654

Child Abuse in Literature Child Maltreatment Child maltreatment entails all types of neglect and abuse of a child below eighteen years by caregivers, parents or any other person (Crosson-Tower, 2006). Child abuse encompasses all forms of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or child exploitation that causes potential or actual harm to a child's well-being, dignity and development (Smith & Fong, 2004). According to Scannapieco & Connell-Carrick (2005), child maltreatment is

Child Abuse Although It Is Extremely Important
Words: 1547 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Children Paper #: 18043255

Child Abuse "Although it is extremely important when interviewing children about alleged abuse to determine whether the abuse was single or repeated… we have little information about how children judge the frequency of events… [and] overall children were very accurate at judging the frequency of a single event, but much less so for repeated events." (Sharman, et al., 2011). Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) reports that in the year 2010

Children's Literature
Words: 2790 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 44250974

Children's Literature "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." This adage takes on various meanings according to context -- in the early twenty-first century, it will most likely be used to imply too much seriousness about schoolwork. But in the consideration of children's literature in the nineteenth century, we face the prospect of a society where child labor was actually a fact of life. We are familiar with

Children's Safety on the Internet How Safe
Words: 1859 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Children Paper #: 50012387

Children's Safety On The Internet How safe are children when it comes to online use? What are the most important issues when comes to Internet safety for children? What is being presented in the literature when it comes to protecting children who use the Internet? These issues and others will be addressed in this paper. What are the dangers for children while using the Internet? An article in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Public