Challenging the Text and Context of (Re)Naming Immigrant Children: Children’s Literature as Tools for Change

  • Mariana Souto-Manning
Part of the Educating the Young Child book series (EDYC, volume 3)


For decades, many immigrant children entering American classrooms were renamed, a phenomenon that continues to occur through situated practices enacted by both educators and family members. While there are positive motivations for renaming, such practices are often motivated by institutional discourses that frame immigrants in deficit terms. By embracing these institutional discourses—difference as deficit, or the need to be Americanized in order to succeed—families and children are being colonized. To break away from such colonization, this chapter proposes critical practices catapulted by the reading and discussion of children’s books featuring renaming (and other relevant) phenomenon through realistic fiction representing practices within and across cultural groups throughout the country. Through the critical cycle, teachers, families, and child advocates can engage in appropriating these negative and marginalizing institutional discourses by problematizing and deconstructing traditional definitions of success in school, normalcy, and naming. By engaging in such transformative practices as the critical cycle, educators can challenge discourses and practices which position immigrant children and families in negative ways and move toward transformative possibilities.


Generative Theme Immigrant Family Picture Book Immigrant Child Early Childhood Teacher 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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