ERIC Number: ED445337
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Aug-3
Characters with Visual Impairment: Looking at Books for Young Adults through Their Eyes.
Carroll, Pamela S.; Rosenblum, L. Penny
A study that joined the fields of young adult literature and vision impairment explored the questions: How are characters who have visual impairment presented by young adult books?; and How do readers respond to those characters? Only a few books were found (13) that feature characters with visual impairments, and the portrayal of characters varies considerably. A.B. Heim (1994) established five criteria on which to evaluate books that depict mentally disabled characters, and these criteria are relevant for evaluating characters with visual impairments. Most of the books present characters who are adventitiously blind and whose blindness is finally cured, a situation which does not usually occur in real life. Teachers can use the following question checklist when evaluating a young adult book in which a character with a visual impairment is portrayed: (1) Does the book have characters who are congenitally visually impaired, both characters with low vision and characters who are blind?; (2) Does the book have a character with low vision?; (3) Does the book have characters who attend public school and have contemporary teenage experiences?; (4) Does the book have characters who are facing issues specific to teenagers with visual impairment in the 21st century?; (5) Does the resolution involve a cure for the visual impairment?; (6) Do the families and peers of the character with visual impairment act realistically toward that character?; and (7) Do the families and teachers expect the visually impaired character to be a successful independent person? (Contains a table, a 13-item annotated bibliography, and 9 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the International Conference for Global Conversations on Language and Literacy (4th, Utrecht, The Netherlands, August 1-5, 2000).