Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I have yet to figure out how my body knows the days I don't have to get up and chooses those as the days it wants to get up early. Of course it can't have this up-and-at-'em early morning approach on the days I have to be up and out of here at an early hour. Oh well, I have already gotten quite a bit done this a.m. Could be worse.

Just read a fascinating review of Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George on the Alaska Native Knowledge Network
The review was addressed on Child_Lit and how we feel about using the book with children, considering the many errors, in relation to culture, language, geograpy, etc.. The review is available at:
I remember the 5th grade class at the elementary school in Big Lake, Alaska using this book as required reading. At the time (1980s) I was the librarian there and supported the book and the kids loved the parts about Julie eating the wolves' cuds - reguritated food. Years later I spoke with George about this book and how we used it with our 5th graders. She spoke with great love, compassion, and respect for the Inupiaq culture. I honestly had no idea that there were errors in the book. Having only been as far north as Nome, I had never visited the area she wrote about. Even though I lived for 2 years in the Athabascan (sometimes spelled Athapascan) village of Galena, on the banks of the Yukon, I know little about the culture. Lots to think about in relation to the ongoing discussion of whether or not it is "appropriate" for someone to write about a culture they are not part of. I would have little problem choosing between two books, as well written, if one is by a person of the culture and one is not. But, sometimes we do not have the choice of selecting a book by someone who is part of the culture/religion/ethnicity. The same is true about international titles. I go for the transcultural ones- the books that are written by a person who grew up in that country and written for the children/teens of that country. Sometimes the translations are not as smooth as they could be, but I know I am getting a more accurate depiction of the country and the people. My all time favorite transcultural title is Boys from St. Petri by Bjarne B. Reuter and translated from the Dutch. A fantastic WWII novel about a group of teens who get involved in the Dutch Resistance. It was written back in the mid 90s and B&N notes it as out of print so I hope it is already on your shelves. A more recent WWII novel transcultural novel that I also like is Daniel Half-Human by David Chotjewitz, about a young German who wants to be part of the Hitler Youth, but discovers his mother is Jewish.

As much as I want to continue my thinking aloud on the keyboard as to the role of accuracy in multicultural and international literature I need to get some grading done! All for now.