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“I Never Knew There Were So Many Books About Us” Parents and Children Reading and Responding to African American Children’s Literature Together

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine how the social practices of African American families—with children in grades K-2—changed as a result of participating in a family literacy program utilizing African American children’s literature. The families were exposed, through a series of workshops, to an abundance of children’s literature written by and about African Americans. Data sources included pre and post interviews conducted with parents, parental reading logs, and a reflective journal kept by the researcher. Findings suggested that parents increased the amount of time reading aloud to their children, passed along the information that they learned about African American children’s literature to family, friends, and co-workers, and began seeking out and developing an appreciation for quality African American children’s literature. This study was unique in that it involved collaboration between a public university, a local church, an African American sorority, and an innovative teacher recruitment initiative designed to increase the number of Black, male elementary school teachers.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded by a Grant-in-Aid Award sponsored by the Research Foundation of the National Council of Teachers of English.

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Correspondence to Jonda C. McNair.

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Jonda C. McNair is an Associate Professor of Literacy Education at Clemson University in South Carolina. She specializes in literature intended for youth with an emphasis on books written by and about African Americans and is currently serving as President of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee.

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McNair, J.C. “I Never Knew There Were So Many Books About Us” Parents and Children Reading and Responding to African American Children’s Literature Together. Child Lit Educ 44, 191–207 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-012-9191-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-012-9191-2

Keywords

  • African American children’s literature
  • African American families
  • Early childhood education
  • Family literacy