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Literature > Children's Literature

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The Irresistible Fairy Tale Cover

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The Irresistible Fairy Tale

The Cultural and Social History of a Genre

Jack Zipes

If there is one genre that has captured the imagination of people in all walks of life throughout the world, it is the fairy tale. Yet we still have great difficulty understanding how it originated, evolved, and spread--or why so many people cannot resist its appeal, no matter how it changes or what form it takes. In this book, renowned fairy-tale expert Jack Zipes presents a provocative new theory about why fairy tales were created and retold--and why they became such an indelible and infinitely adaptable part of cultures around the world.

Drawing on cognitive science, evolutionary theory, anthropology, psychology, literary theory, and other fields, Zipes presents a nuanced argument about how fairy tales originated in ancient oral cultures, how they evolved through the rise of literary culture and print, and how, in our own time, they continue to change through their adaptation in an ever-growing variety of media. In making his case, Zipes considers a wide range of fascinating examples, including fairy tales told, collected, and written by women in the nineteenth century; Catherine Breillat's film adaptation of Perrault's "Bluebeard"; and contemporary fairy-tale drawings, paintings, sculptures, and photographs that critique canonical print versions.

While we may never be able to fully explain fairy tales, The Irresistible Fairy Tale provides a powerful theory of how and why they evolved--and why we still use them to make meaning of our lives.

Jakub's World Cover

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Jakub's World

A Boy's Story of Loss and Survival in the Holocaust

A boy's world is shattered by the Holocaust. When German troops come to the small village of BeÂzŒyce, Poland, in 1939, nine-year-old Jakub Szabmacher’s world is forever changed. At first the humiliations inflicted by the Germans seem small, but the conditions worsen until eventually Jakub’s family and much of his village are murdered, and he is sent to various concentration camps in Poland and Germany, where he struggles to survive the terrible conditions of camp life. Finally liberated in 1945 from the concentration camp in Flossenbürg, Germany, Jakub is befriended by American troops and with their help brought to the United States, where he takes the name Jack Terry. Coauthor Alicia Nitecki, whose grandfather was also imprisoned at Flossenbürg, uses Terry’s personal memories to tell young Jakub’s story, as well as unpublished memoirs, private letters, and interviews with former inmates of the Flossenbürg concentration camp and the townspeople of BeÂzŒyce and Flossenbürg. Part history, part autobiography, Jakub’s World offers an anguished young boy’s perspective on the Holocaust.

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Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures

Vol. 1 (2009) through current issue

Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures is an interdisciplinary, refereed academic journal whose mandate is to publish research on, and to provide a forum for discussion about, cultural productions for, by, and about young people. Our scope is international; while we have a special interest in Canada, we welcome submissions concerning all areas and cultures. We are especially interested in the cultural functions and representations of “the child.” This can include children’s and young adult literature and media; young people’s material culture, including toys; digital culture and young people; historical and contemporary constructions, functions, and roles of “the child” and adolescents; and literature, art, and films by children and young adults. We welcome articles in both English and French.

Les Cadiens et leurs ancêtres acadiens Cover

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Les Cadiens et leurs ancêtres acadiens

l'histoire racontée aux jeunes

Shane K. Bernard

Cajuns and Their Acadian Ancestors: A Young Reader's History traces the four-hundred-year history of this distinct American ethnic group. In its original English, the book proved a perfect package, comprehensible to junior-high and high-school students, while appealing to and informing adult readers seeking a one-volume exploration of these remarkable people and their predecessors. It is now available for the first time translated into French.

The narrative follows the Cajuns' early ancestors, the Acadians, from seventeenth-century France to Nova Scotia, where they flourished until British soldiers expelled them in a tragic event called Le Grand Dérangement (The Great Upheaval)--an episode regarded by many historians as an instance of ethnic cleansing or genocide. Up to one-half of the Acadian population died from disease, starvation, exposure, or outright violence in the expulsion. Nearly three thousand survivors journeyed through the thirteen American colonies to Spanish-controlled Louisiana. There they resettled, intermarried with members of the local population, and evolved into the Cajun people, who today number over a half-million. Since their arrival in Louisiana, the Cajuns have developed an unmistakable identity and a strong sense of ethnic pride.

In recent decades they have contributed their lively cuisine and accordion-and-fiddle dance music to American popular culture. Les Cadiens et leurs ancêtres acadiens: l'histoire racontée aux jeunes includes numerous images and over a dozen sidebars on topics ranging from Cajun music and horse racing heroes to Mardi Gras. Shane K. Bernard's welcomed and cherished history of the Cajun people is translated into French by Faustine Hillard. The book offers a long-sought immersion text, ideal for the young learner and adult alike.

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The Lion and the Unicorn

Vol. 1 (1977) through current issue

The Lion and the Unicorn, an international theme- and genre-centered journal, is committed to a serious, ongoing discussion of literature for children. The journal's coverage includes the state of the publishing industry, regional authors, comparative studies of significant books and genres, new developments in theory, the art of illustration, the mass media, and popular culture. It is especially noted for its interviews with authors, editors, and other important contributors to the field, as well as its outstanding book review section.

Little Red Readings Cover

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Little Red Readings

Historical Materialist Perspectives on Children’s Literature

Angela E. Hubler

A significant body of scholarship examines the production of children's literature by women and minorities, as well as the representation of gender, race, and sexuality. But few scholars have previously analyzed class in children's literature. This definitive collection remedies that by defining and exemplifying historical materialist approaches to children's literature. The introduction of Little Red Readings lucidly discusses characteristics of historical materialism, the methodological approach to the study of literature and culture first outlined by Karl Marx, defining key concepts and analyzing factors that have marginalized this tradition, particularly in the United States.

The thirteen essays here analyze a wide range of texts--from children's bibles to Mary Poppins to The Hunger Games--using concepts in historical materialism from class struggle to the commodity. Essayists apply the work of Marxist theorists such as Ernst Bloch and Fredric Jameson to children's literature and film. Others examine the work of leftist writers in India, Germany, England, and the United States.

The authors argue that historical materialist methodology is critical to the study of children's literature, as children often suffer most from inequality. Some of the critics in this collection reveal the ways that literature for children often functions to naturalize capitalist economic and social relations. Other critics champion literature that reveals to readers the construction of social reality and point to texts that enable an understanding of the role ordinary people might play in creating a more just future. The collection adds substantially to our understanding of the political and class character of children's literature worldwide, and contributes to the development of a radical history of children's literature.

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Looking For Non-publics

Edited by Daniel Jacobi

In this book, nine researchers from France, Québec and Mexico tackle these questions through both qualitative and quantitative contributions dealing with various cultural sectors in which the question of non-publics remains unanswered. In fact, the non-public is not so much a group of non-participants but individuals blatantly incapable of appreciating a culture that is unfamiliar, even foreign. For over a century, the popular education movement, in its initial project to bring public and culture closer together, has emphasized this cultural gap, which even today, justifies the necessity for cultural mediation policies. The near-militant voluntarism of the active players in cultural mediation engenders certain expectations: after a large investment in cultural creation is it not justifiable to aspire to reach the largest possible audience?

Looking Glasses and Neverlands Cover

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Looking Glasses and Neverlands

Lacan, Desire, and Subjectivity in Children's Literatue

A “Choice” Outstanding Academic Title
This groundbreaking study introduces and explores Lacan’s complex theories of subjectivity and desire through close readings of canonical children’s books such as Charlotte’s Web, Stellaluna, Holes, Tangerine, and The Chocolate War, providing an introduction to an increasingly influential body of difficult work while making the claim that children’s textual encounters are as significant as their existential ones in constituting their subjectivities and giving shape to their desires.

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Love in a Global Village

A Celebration of Intercultural Families in the Midwest

In praise of diversity, Jessie Grearson and Lauren Smith offer Love in a Global Village: A Celebration of Intercultural Families in the Midwest, an account of the triumphs of fifteen intercultural families and the perseverance of their relationships in midwestern America. The couples recount their courtships, their adventures and difficulties, and their individual choices to create families and build lives together despite differences of race, language, religion, and culture.

Welcomed into homes in towns like Kalona, Iowa, and Springfield, Missouri, Grearson and Smith introduce readers to unexpected fusions of culture in middle America. By focusing on small communities where intercultural relationships are exceptions rather than the norm, Smith and Grearson offer affirmation that multicultural households can endure and flourish almost anywhere.

Making Americans Cover

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Making Americans

Children's Literature from 1930 to 1960

Gary D. Schmidt

American children need books that draw on their own history and circumstances, not just the classic European fairy tales. They need books that enlist them in the great democratic experiment that is the United States. These were the beliefs of many of the authors, illustrators, editors, librarians, and teachers who expanded and transformed children’s book publishing between the 1930s and the 1960s.

Although some later critics have argued that the books published in this era offered a vision of a safe, secure, simple world without injustice or unhappy endings, Gary D. Schmidt shows that the progressive political agenda shared by many Americans who wrote, illustrated, published, and taught children’s books had a powerful effect. Authors like James Daugherty, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lois Lenski, Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire, Virginia Lee Burton, Robert McCloskey, and many others addressed directly and indirectly the major social issues of a turbulent time: racism, immigration and assimilation, sexism, poverty, the Great Depression, World War II, the atomic bomb, and the threat of a global cold war.

The central concern that many children’s book authors and illustrators wrestled with was the meaning of America and democracy itself, especially the tension between individual freedoms and community ties. That process produced a flood of books focused on the American experience and intent on defining it in terms of progress toward inclusivity and social justice. Again and again, children’s books addressed racial discrimination and segregation, gender roles, class differences, the fate of Native Americans, immigration and assimilation, war, and the role of the United States in the world. Fiction and nonfiction for children urged them to see these issues as theirs to understand, and in some ways, theirs to resolve. Making Americans is a study of a time when the authors and illustrators of children’s books consciously set their eyes on national and international sights, with the hope of bringing the next generation into a sense of full citizenship.

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