Wednesday 21 October 2009

Cross-cultural thinking

Something a student said to me today pulled me up rather sharply. Could she include books form other cultures in her Critical Analysis and Evaluation? Yes, of course yes, oh yes and yes.
After all, the person writing this blog is the one whose Ph D Thesis is subtitled “Towards a Global Definition of the Young Adult Novel.”
I’ve spent considerable time in my “Introduction to Children’s Literature” talking about how books today have to be “politically correct” and in particular how young people should not be left alone or left with dubious adults. This, of course, refers only to texts, written in English, about characters in the Northern Hemisphere, Western World and white South Africa.
There are numerous picture books, for instance, still written in English, but based on other native populations on the African, American, Oceania continents and the Indian subcontinent showing young people operating within other cultures – cultures where the children work with the adults, where they are left alone and where they are in many ways more “street” or “worldly” wise than their first world peers.
What a wake-up call!

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