Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Emerging Scholars

I believe the best book for Emerging Scholars is Black and White. I chose Black and White because it tackles serious issues, issues that these students have more than likely faced before. I have always believed that people enjoy reading books that they can relate to. Black and White deals with crime, betrayal, figuring out what you believe in and making right decisions. Black and White can prompt students to look at these characters (who had so much potential) and understand how small actions can make a big difference. This is something the Emerging Scholars will be dealing with: choosing schools, deciding to do homework, being honest, and standing firm in what you believe in. Decisions high school students consider to be small could possibly be viewed from a more mature perspective.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hua Mulan

After watching Disney's Mulan, I definitely believe that it is westernized. Mulan's character looks American more so than Chinese, and then, when looking at the other characters of the movie, it's evident they have Chinese facial characteristics. Also, all of the men are made to be great oaf's in this movie. "A Girl Worth Fighting For" comes out sounding like the men cannot take care of themselves.
After reading the poem about Hua Mulan, I don't believe Disney would've needed to Westernized Mulan. The story is fine. I think it would have baffled young viewers if Mulan had acted the way that Ailin acted: Ailin was treated as a subordinate, and acted as such. Ailin knew her place, what she could say, and couldn't. Mulan doesn't portray that girl, and I think if Disney had explained that, it would have made for a more educational film. To see a girl be quieted after speaking up would possibly confuse young viewers, but by witnessing this, they could understand that it's a big world and not everyone has the same customs as we do in America. I think overall that Disney viewers are certainly more capable of a character more representative of the Chinese culture.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Black & White

Do I think that Black and White pays tribute to true life experiences, or exploits them? I believe that this book pays tribute to the consequences of crime and the reasoning behind why good kids do bad things. It's easier to swallow the idea of why Eddie and Marcus held up a man at gunpoint if we understand the motive. When we, as readers, can learn the background of a convict, we can then understand why they thought it was reasonable to commit a certain crime. This is not to say that we should accept their crime, or that we should justify it, but it should say that young people react certain ways, sometimes negatively, because something has been done to them to cause that reaction. A lot of young teens who dabble in crime do so for reasons such as nobody cares about them at home, they don't have enough money, they've been pressured into it and want to fit in, they want attention, etc. There are a lot of reasons behind why teens commit crimes; I believe this story pays tribute to it so that we can see what kids this young deal with, and how they decide to respond to it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thompson Article

Paul Thompson and Allison Sealey conducted an analysis of a small corpus of fiction that was written for children. The text used for these corpus' were taken from the British National Corpus. The first corpus was named 'CLLIP' which is an acronym for 'Corpus-based Learning about Language In the Primary-school'. CLLIP represents imaginative fiction written for children. The second group, or corpus, was called COMP which represented imaginative fiction written for adults. The third corpus was a collection of newspaper texts, used to "contrast the features of imaginative fiction writing in general with those of newspaper writing" (Thompson,3). The question being asked in this research was, "Does writing for children demonstrate different linguistic properties from writing for adults?" (Thompson, 2). Of course there are differences between adult/children fiction, but this study looked further in terms of counting frequencies of words, phrases, descriptions and the uses of these variables.

I will admit, that this article used a lot of jargon to simply say that it was counting words, phrases,adjectives etc to compare adult/children fiction. In this way, it came off rather confusing. However, after reading it over again I gained a better understanding. I enjoyed the comparison of the way the word neck was used in CLLIP and COMP. "Neck occured 90 times in the CLLIP corpus and 1897 times in the COMP corpus" (Thompson, 16). I thought it was interesting that the word neck was used to describe other things besides being associated with they body. CLLIP used the neck in a figurative sense as well. However, from other collected data in the article, using figures of speech doesn't happen as often in children literature. I thought that using expressions or figurative speech could be one of the factors that separates adult fiction from children fiction. This probably happens because children aren't at the level in which they can discern literal meanings from figurative meanings. I thought it was interesting that this could be pointed by showing the use of the word neck in two different corpus'.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Fairy tales meant a lot to me as a child. I remember watching Cinderella on VHS until the tape was broken and my parents bought me another one. I remember owning a Cinderella comforter, and dressing up as Cinderella for Halloween. Along with Cinderella were The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. The tales I remember the most were Cinderella and The Wizard of Oz. I believe the reason that Cinderella made such an impact on me is because I also had a stepmother. Of course, she wasn't evil, and she didn't make me perform backbreaking chores either. I believe I identified with Cinderella the most because she had a stepmother. I don't know of many other fairy tales with step-parents playing an important role.
I also loved watching The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy was so wonderful to me because of her kindness. I always thought their journey to Oz was so great because of what they encountered along the way. I thought it was really special that Dorothy would travel all that way just to reach her needs and the needs of the Tin man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. I suppose her shoes helped too! I remember Dorothy and Cinderella the most because they were simple girls who experienced a magical journey that changed their lives and I wanted something like that for myself!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Linda Sue Park

The article written by Linda Sue Park is basically a rant and rave about celebrities writing children's literature. If celebrities are going to be given the opportunity to write children's books, then they at least need to be good. If children are given books that aren't as good as they could be, but are only read because they're written by a celebrity, then the child could be limited in furthering their education. This article simply asks writers to do their work and take the time to give their children audience the best book they can.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

beach article

This article mainly discusses how to introduce multicultural literature to adolescents in the classroom.

"While high school students may have difficulty understanding how individuals' identities and social practices are constituted by their participation in institutional systems or social worlds, they can vicariously gain experience of institutional forces through responding to literature portraying the effects of race, class, and gender systems on characters' lives (Beach, 3)."

The idea of subtly getting students to look at the bigger picture of why cultures behave the way they do is a huge task to overcome. I feel that A Single Shard is one of the better examples of a book that crosses the gender, class and racial gap that many teachers are hesitant to approach. A Single Shard tells of an orphaned, homeless, lower class boy who overcomes adversity and proves himself to be of value and who is worthy to be considered a human being. Students have the ability here to research and understand the customs of 12th century Korea. By doing research, and having class discussions, students can relate to the character for what the character is experiencing, rather than what the student has experienced. By challenging the student to think outside of their religion, class, race and family upbringing, the student can make proper evaluations of characters in A Single Shard, instead of saying that Tree-ear was a thief and Craneman was lazy. This article gives a teacher methods to prompt the student to have reach a revelation about other cultures. Students can have class discussions, quick writes, research papers, and activities that place themselves in the character's shoes. A student could understand the idea of Tree-ear and Craneman gleaning fields, of why Craneman was afraid of a fox, or why Tree-ear never talks back to Ajima or Min through the reinforcement of there social customs in Korea; all of these situations are directly influenced by what society expects of them. For a student to understand different concepts of living, and to see the bigger picture, they can then put together the reasons behind why Tree-ear has to scavenge for food, and why Craneman can't work. By using this book, we can potentially see students grasping the idea of learning about a culture, before making a judgment on them.