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Language in Children's Literature

During the first between 1930-1950, the authors find a declining period of representation. During the Civil Rights movement, they find a near-invisibility of Black characters in text or illustration. From the 1950s to the mid-1960s, they find a period of growth followers by a plateau phase that seemed to reach its peak by 1975. Using the 1958 Little Golden Book as a primary example, the authors claim that during periods of heightened African American protects in American society Blacks virtually disappear from U.S. children's picture books, (Pescosolido, et al., p. 445). Reviewing this book, the authors found it 'depicts over 200 whites and 3 blacks. The blacks appear on the top deck of a large paddleboat while whites socialize below û one black character is asleep, one plays the banjo, and one eats watermelon,' (Pescosolido, et al., p. 452).

Arbuthnot and Sutherland (p. 738) maintain that this trend of stereotypical textual and illustrative depictions of African Americans continued into the 1970s, a decade in which 'mainstream publishers and book critics' became more and more conscious of the need to pursue publication of 'pluralistic' stories. Arbuthnot (et al., p. 734) notes that white America during this era became increasingly aware of the activism of minority groups and, consequently, publishers and educators alike began to provide children of all ethnic groups with a 'greater variety of stories, histories, and other materials with multicultural themes.'

The interdependency of text and illustration is related to the fact that both text and illustration in children's books tend to reinforce the dominating views, attitudes, or beliefs of mainstream society. This has been limiting in the past not only to minorities but also due to gender. However, as publishers, book critics, and educators recognized the need for greater representation in text and illustration of positive images of African Americans so have they recog...

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Language in Children's Literature. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:06, August 20, 2017, from
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