Children’s Culture – bias and sterotyping

Each text has a point of view and angle.  Non-fiction will take a particular stance on a subject.  Children’s literature tends to portray the world as a simple place, a happy place, a homogeneous place, a stereotypically diverse place, a place of constant obvious values and hope.  What does it mean if this is the reality that we share with children?  If all families come from clean and spacious homes, if all teenagers look like Barbie, if boys are strong and dangerous and girls are pretty and decorative?

Nodelman and Reimer suggest that in presenting children’s literature we can both use the familiar texts and biases to help to trouble these waters.  Do these characters look like you?  Do they live in a similar way?  How does that compare to what you know of the rest of society?  How true are these stories? Who is powerful and who is weak in these stories?  Are these stories good stories?  We will always have bias in text, we need to teach students and children ways of asking questions which challenge the texts they read and the media they consume.

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1 Comment

Filed under children's lit, curriculum, education, learning, library, responsibility, social justice

One response to “Children’s Culture – bias and sterotyping

  1. Debbie Pushor

    Articulately expressed, Susan! I hope this kind of questioning and juxtaposition of literature is happening in every classroom.

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