Members of The Jury Please Rise: Children Interact with African American Children's Literature
thesisposted on 16.02.2016, 00:00 authored by Ebony J. Wilkins
Since the last publications of The Brownies’ Book (TBB) and Ebony Jr., there have been few to no instances of public exchanges of African American children’s writing in response to literature with a focused attention on their culture, identities, experiences, and history. In an effort to reconnect with youth, much in the way that TBB and Ebony Jr. correspondences allowed, this study sought to once again gauge the reactions of children after reading African American children’s literature (AACL). The current research employed descriptive case study methodology (Yin, 2006) in order to examine the reactions of children after interactions with AACL. The current inquiry examined the following questions: what are children’s reactions after reading AACL, and how do the written reactions align with the historical purposes of this literature. This study aimed to add to existing literature on reader response theory and the significance of AACL and its impact on children’s understanding of their worlds. As a result of the present study we now know that children reacted to AACL by discovering new knowledge, making a range of connections, and negotiating cultural and racial evaluations and insights. In the written reactions addressed to internal and external audiences, participants also addressed racial challenges and appropriated historical language. As a result of the present study it is clear the five participants, although divided into two discussion groups, reacted to AACL in similar ways. These findings are significant because AACL gave participants the opportunity to discuss literature written about authentic Black life and to have their questions, opinions, and writings recognized.