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ERIC Number: EJ915814
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-0045-6713
The Rub between Fact and Fiction: Ideology in Lois Lenski's Regional Maps
Pond, Julia
Children's Literature in Education, v42 n1 p44-55 Mar 2011
From the early 1940s until the late 1960s, Lois Lenski embarked on an exploration of American regions through children's books. This body of work, which has become known as Lenski's Regional Series, began by exploring the regions Lenski herself experienced each year as she traveled from Connecticut to Florida for her health. As Lenski realized the importance and success of these books, demonstrated by a Newberry Medal award for "Strawberry Girl" in 1946, she broadened her reach to include more geographical areas of the United States including such states as California and South Dakota. Through her books, Lenski emphasizes the importance of community and shared nationhood even across regional lines. This paper examines Lenski's regional series first from her own purpose in aiming for objectivity and fact that she could communicate to children of other regions, instructing and exposing them to new ways of life. Second, this paper considers the paratextual elements of the Regional series, the forewords and the maps that accompany each book, to reveal the ideology that Lenski unconsciously incorporates into her stories. A product of her time, Lenski may have been influenced by the government's American Guide Series, created by the Federal Writers' Project, which demonstrates the same successes and flaws. Lenski's maps in particular demonstrate the influence of a particular time, the layering of fact and fiction, and the reflection of Lenski's personal values of certain regional characteristics. Recognition of the ideology incorporated into Lenski's series remains important as child readers receive not objective fact, but one perspective of their nation.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Connecticut; Florida; South Dakota; United States