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Children's Literature Resources

Ethical dilemmas or issues in children's literature

a. censorship

b. sensitivity in representation

c. age-appropriateness

d. gender stereotyping

e. racial and ethnic diversity

f. any other issues

Food For Thought: What does tolerance mean to you?

STEREOTYPES: Do you Reinforce them or Challenge them?

Stories are not just fun, but are also social tools to create, justify, or challenge social norms.

Look at these statements and consider whether or not you agree with them.  Why or why not?

Stories are an important tool for explaining (education), training (indoctrinating), and challenging (re-evaluating) community beliefs and expectations.

Civil behavior and compassion are easier  - when we imagine what it would be like to be another person.

Stories help you become less self-centered  - because stories help you imagine an experience from another person's perspective. 

Being able to imagine another person's point of view - improves your interpersonal skills - because you can better imagine and predict another person's reactions to your words or behaviors. 

Good interpersonal skills - are essential to having good relationships - and being an accepted part of a community.

Finding a character that reflects your experience, in a book or movie, makes you feel good.

People want to feel seen, heard, accepted, respected, and valued - the opposite of being rejected or shunned. 

Rejection and shunning are powerful tools to enforce community standards.  "Our way or the highway".  

  • What do those community standards protect?
  • What happens when the community standards are questioned?  
  • What is the result of changing/ evolving/ modernizing the standards?

What happens when a story that talks about people that have different ideas, points of view, or experiences is banned (shunned)?

Does the population that identifies with the shunned ideas or viewpoints also feel shunned?

Theory of mind, civil behavior, and social norms.

One standard of intelligence is an understanding that other minds have different experiences and thoughts than one's own mind (sympathy).  This understanding can allow us to understand why other people have different ideas, behaviors, and traditions. Civil behavior demands a certain amount of tolerance for differences.  What helps us to tolerate (accept and respect) other points of view?  Stories!

Food for Thought

Reading can help you develop empathy. Reading lets you experience an event through the view of the bully and the victim. 

Reading lets you experience a variety of situations and learn how to behave (or not behave) by getting a view of potential consequences.

Reading lets you discover new ideas and learn what makes sense to you, in a safe place (your imagination).   


"If you’re afraid that books might change someone’s thinking, you’re not afraid of books, you’re afraid of thinking." - Andrea Junker

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