ERIC Number: EJ927910
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
A Mighty River: Intersections of Spiritualities and Activism in Children's and Young Adult Literature
Simon, Lisa; Norton, Nadjwa E. L.
Curriculum Inquiry, v41 n2 p293-318 Mar 2011
This article seeks to expand the possibilities of support that children's and young adult literature provides to activist-oriented educators. Joining our voices to others who have made significant contributions to this emphasis, our work examines a too-often-silenced aspect of activism: its intersection with spirituality. Using an inclusive conceptualization of spirituality that emphasizes diversity and complexity, we present and engage with a range of picture books and novels relevant to spiritual activism. We first present a literature review that traces the use of literature in the teaching of activism and spirituality. Drawing from this scholarship, we identify key criteria for selecting spiritual activist texts. Next, we discuss several texts that meet these criteria in relation to four overarching themes: 1) aligning activist approaches with spiritualities, 2) invoking praxis to sustain a vision of change, 3) identifying activist strategies for effecting change, and 4) negotiating across spiritual boundaries. This discussion foregrounds the power of these texts to explore how people's spiritualities sustain and inspire their activist efforts. We conclude by extending these implications with specific recommendations for educators who seek to nourish the activism and spirituality of children and youth.
Descriptors: Adolescent Literature, Picture Books, Children, Adolescents, Religious Factors, Novels, Activism, Childrens Literature, Teachers, Literature Reviews
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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