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ERIC Number: EJ1001272
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jun
Pages: 31
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 82
ISSN: ISSN-1086-296X
Already on the Shelf: Queer Readings of Award-Winning Children's Literature
Ryan, Caitlin L.; Hermann-Wilmarth, Jill M.
Journal of Literacy Research, v45 n2 p142-172 Jun 2013
This essay explores what it might mean to read children's literature in elementary school classrooms through a queer lens. The authors argue that because queer theory has a history as a literary theory that destabilizes normative associations among gender, sexuality, bodies, and desire, it provides a set of analytical tools classroom communities can draw on to create alternative readings of a wide range of familiar texts. Such readings of books already on the shelves of elementary school libraries and classrooms can highlight experiences and subjectivities of nonnormative sexualities and gender identities in the hopes of making classrooms more inclusive. Specifically, we argue that four high-quality, award-winning children's books already included in many schools and classrooms--Sendak's (1963) "Where the Wild Things Are", Woodson's (2001) "The Other Side", DiCamillo's (2003) "Tale of Despereaux", and Patterson's (1977) "Bridge to Terabithia"--can be fruitful sites for opening up these more inclusive readings and conversations. The article offers possible queer readings of these texts as well as suggestions for how to encourage elementary-aged students to think about both books and the socially constructed norms of real life through a queered lens. By first queering on-the-shelf texts and then asking students to think about how that queering connects to larger social issues, elementary classrooms can become places where strict identity categories--categories that can marginalize queer students and families--are made visible, are questioned, are stretched, and can even fall apart. (Contains 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A