Exactly 4 months after I sat at my desk in Scotland and wrote a rough outline for a potential research project, my final draft is complete. No more editing, no more counting words or triple checking references, and no more children’s literature for a long long time. As of 11:30 pm Pacific Standard Time, my labor of love is now in the hands of my readers…..or at least in the in-box of my supervisor and the secretary in the front office who is going to print my hard copies.
It is too late in the evening for me to be super excited, but I am very very very happy with the final product. I think it is some of the strongest work I have ever written, and it is much better than my last dissertation (or thesis as it is called here). Tomorrow, I will do the happy dance and try to get everyone I know to read it and tell me how awesome I am.
On the bright side, I now have 8-10 hours in my day that are free….well at least for the next 7 days. I have a stack of novels waiting for me to read them, and the weatherman tells me we are all set for a heat wave. If you listen closely, you can hear the pool calling my name.
In case anyone is dying of curiosity about what my paper is about, here is the abstract:
‘¿Como frijole?’ or ‘How you bean?’ Is Not a Greeting:
How the Use of Critical Literacy Can Raise Elementary School Teachers’ Awareness of the Picture Books they are Presenting in the Classroom
This study was aimed at adding to the field of critical literacy analysis by highlighting the importance of analyzing cultural representations of Mexico in children’s picture books. Gary Soto’s (1995) Chato’s Kitchen and Judy Schachner’s (2005) Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse were used as two examples of how Mexican culture is represented in children’s picture books. The aim of this research is to highlight the importance of analyzing critically the picture books before they are presented to students in the classroom. Teachers can encourage cultural sensitivity among their students by choosing culturally sensitive picture books to read in the classroom. Two pages from each of the stories were analyzed with special attention given to how the authors and illustrators used color, texture, layout and characters to represent Mexican culture. In addition to the visual text, I analyzed how the use of Spanish words affected the representation of Mexican culture.
This study starts with a review of critical pedagogy, critical literacy analysis, and critical media analysis. Important research and scholars are highlighted, as well as the definition of critical literacy analysis that was utilized for the purpose of this study. Because picture books are analyzed, literature on children’s literature and picture books was also analyzed. The study concludes with a reflexive discussion on the importance of content and analysis and action research, as well as how the example of analysis used in this study can be used to analyze cultural representation in any picture book. I conclude with a reflection on the importance of using critical literacy analysis to encourage cultural sensitivity.
If that isn’t enough, I’ll even show you the pages that I analyzed.
If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, then use it as a cure for insomnia. I promise that Chapter Two will put you to sleep before you can finish reading about critical literacy analysis.
I would like to thank my family and friends for letting me sit in my office with my headphones on and ignore them, for feeding me and entertaining me on breaks, pretending to understand what I was writing about ,and to my mommy for reading the whole thing to make sure all the commas were in place and all the words were in a proper order.