Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Question Inspired by Diversity Roll Call

This week Ali over at Worducopia is hosting Diversity Roll Call Participates are asked to find early readers (1st and 2nd grade) with children of color as main characters. This roll call got me thinking about a question I've been wondering about for years. African American picture books on average tend to be longer in text and geared toward older readers. I've always wondered why this is. Why not turn some of these longer picture books into early readers?

Here are a few picture books that I love. Some I think would work well as early readers. Others I think would lose too much if made into a early reader. I know I probably don't need to show the second group but I like them, so there you go.

1. Raising Dragons by Jerdine Nolen and Elise Primavera

2. Thunder Rose by Jerdine Nolen and Kadir Nelson

3. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and Noah Z. Jones

4. The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice N. Harrington and Shelley Jackson

5. The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKissack and Giselle Potter

6. Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett and Noah Z. Jones

7. Long Shot: Never Too Small to Dream Big by Chris Paul and Frank Morrison

8. The New Girl . . . and Me by Jacqui Robbins and Matt Phelan

The odd numbered picture books, are great stories, that I think could easily be early readers. I would especially love to see books like Those Shoes or Long Shot as early readers. Its so hard to find early readers with boys of color as main characters.

I don't think all African American picture books longer in text should or could be early readers. Hence the even numbered books, I snuck in because I love them.

I will be answering the roll call later in the week. Anyone can take part in Diversity Roll Call at any time. It's co-hosted by Ali from Worducopia and Susan from Color Online.


Color Online said...

Great observation, Doret. Just this week I asked two kids to share their impressions with me of two picture books and they are 8 and 9. They loved the book and I shared them with the kids because they are older than six.

I don't no much about children's books but I have wondered why AA children books are often written as picture books but the target audience is clearly children who could be reading early readers without full page illustrations.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree, you made a really good observation. And I love your list. I just wish those books were easier to find besides by special order!

Doret said...

I've been wondering about this for years. Hopefully someone will have an answer or a good guess.