ERIC Number: EJ1047595
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: N/A
Discovering and Constructing Our Identities: Reading "The Favorite Daughter"
Social Studies and the Young Learner, v27 n2 p5-8 Nov-Dec 2014
For everyone--children, parents, teachers--who have experienced instances in their lives where they have been teased, alienated, isolated, shunned, Allen Say gives us the beautifully illustrated book "The Favorite Daughter." In this book (a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for 2013), author and illustrator Say wraps and unwraps issues of identity and belonging through a narrative that demonstrates the inextricable ties between a father and his daughter. His story invites readers to take a moment to pause and reflect on society, family histories, and on their own identities. There are some profound moments in the book that suggest the power of strong, supportive relationships and connectedness that are so important for discovering and constructing one's identity. Although hard-fought civil rights laws forbid discrimination against categories of people (e.g., women, gays, racial and religious minorities, and people with disabilities), these laws cannot protect us from many forms of personal insult and social exclusion. In many settings there are still strong pressures for individuals to not prominently display their mutable (changeable) traits. It would be difficult in this achievement-driven era for most teachers to devote time to a whole curriculum based on exploring fairness and social behavior. Yet, it might be worthwhile for teachers to recognize that classrooms are inherently exclusionary spaces, where children often learn to cover in order to be included in a group.. The "resolutions" to conflicts that children work out on their own might not always be helpful to their social and emotional growth in the long run. Teachers can view conflicts between students (including social exclusion) as opportunities to help children pause, define the problem together, discuss solutions, and then enact a solution that respects everyone's feelings. Such conversations are important for both identity construction and social learning. Maybe conflict resolution in the classroom and on the playground will help support a much-needed conversation about civil rights, liberties, and freedom of expression in society at large. As complex as these conversations are, classrooms are fertile places for this work to begin, where children can have guided opportunities to experiment with who they can become, and to discuss the consequences of "covering" as opposed enjoying the full range of their personal liberty.
Descriptors: Childrens Literature, Social Cognition, Didacticism, Literature Appreciation, Emergent Literacy, Early Childhood Education, Identification (Psychology)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800; Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.socialstudies.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A