This groundbreaking text offers a fresh perspective on how to implement children’s literature into and across the curriculum in ways that are both effective and purposeful. Honed over years of experience and reflection in classroom settings and rich with real examples of teachers implementing critical pedagogy, it invites multiple ways of engaging with literature that extend beyond the genre and elements approach and also addresses potential problems or issues that teachers may confront.
The book is structured around three ‘mantras’ that build on each other: Enjoy; Dig deeper; Take action. The practical strategies for taking a critical approach focus on issues that impact children’s lives, building from students‘ personal experiences and cultural knowledge to using language to question the everyday world, analyze popular culture and media, understand how power relationships are socially constructed, and consider actions that can be taken to promote social justice. This book teems with pedagogical purpose. It is smart, principled, and useful. Its freshness and currency will resonate with readers and inspire their teaching.
A Companion Website (www.routledge.com/cw/leland) enriches and extends the text.
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Christine Leland is a Professor in the Department of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education in the Indiana University School of Education at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. She teaches courses in psycholinguistics, language education, children’s literature, reading methods, and critical literacy. Her book Creating Critical Classrooms (coauthored with Lewison and Harste, 2008) articulates a theory of critical literacy instruction and provides demonstrations of how critical practices can be enacted in elementary and middle school classrooms. Her interest in issues concerning the education of urban children, critical literacy and teacher education are reflected in her numerous journal articles and presentations. Her international work includes partnerships with universities in Kenya, Indonesia, and China. She has been recognized for teaching excellence a number of times, most recently in 2008 when she received the Frederic Bachman Lieber Memorial Award. This is a system-wide award that honors one faculty member each year from across Indiana University’s eight campuses.
Mitzi Lewison is a Professor in the department of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education at Indiana University. She teaches literacy methods courses in the elementary teacher education program, master’s level literacy and children’s literature courses, and doctoral seminars on issues in language education and critical literacy. Her current research focuses on investigating the problems and potential of using social justice curricula in elementary, middle, and college language classrooms. She is a three-time recipient of the Trustee’s Teaching Award in the School of Education. She has been the English Director of three projects in Afghanistan that were designed to help rebuild teacher education programs at 18 Afghan Universities and to start a master’s degree TESOL program. She is lead author of the book Creating Critical Classrooms: Reading and Writing with and Edge.
Jerome Harste is Professor Emeritus of Indiana University’s Department of Language, Literacy, and Culture where he held the distinction of being the first Armstrong Professor in Teacher Education. Jerry, as he is known to his friends, taught children’s literature, authored and published children’s books, and has been the president of several professional organization, including the National Council of Teachers of English. He sees himself as a specialist in the areas of teaching reading and writing, multiple ways of knowing, inquiry-based education, critical literacy, and curriculum.
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