Before I did this assignment, I have not written a blog in a very long time. Therefore, I had to ease myself back into it slowly, but I did enjoy doing this assignment as I felt I grew as an educator, as a future teacher, and acquired new knowledge about children’s literature. In addition, some of the texts that I chose related to my life especially ones that were based on the narrative non-fiction genre.
When I first started the project, I wanted my first five texts to be interesting since it was being apart of the narrative non-fiction genre. I am familiar with the keyword “non-fiction” but discovered that it applies to biographies, memoirs, personal narratives that are based on real life events. It was an interesting genre because I feel like I have written narrative non-fiction pieces in a sense. About five years ago, I worked as a journalist for a well-known newspaper and I covered many stories. One of the texts that I chose was Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s by Melissa Sweet reminded me of when I wrote about the floats, balloons, and costumes that are apart of the annual parade. I was able to recall going to a warehouse in New Jersey and getting an exclusive look at behind the scenes of the Macy’s parade. In addition, the other texts that I selected allowed me to rediscover some of the background knowledge that I have gained from my education and I just applied it to the text. Indeed, there were times when I did have to do some research. One of my favorite texts from the narrative non-fiction genre was Elizabeth leads the way by Elizabeth Cady Stanton as it showed a powerful female role model who was determined to create equality for women. She is the person who is responsible for allowing this country to have the 19th amendment. She disobeyed her father and other men, and believed that all women should be treated fairly. I felt that this book would be a great text for children as they get to how this country became united, why women have rights. One might say that in a sense it is like Dr. Martin’s Luther King’s philosophy, where he fought for civil right. However, Elizabeth fought for women’s right, that women have a voice and that they should be equal with their partners in a marriage.
I believe children would enjoy learning more about the narrative non-fiction genre and should be exposed to it despite the risks that teachers fear. Franklin D. Roosevelt once stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” When we allow children to be exposed to new texts, we allow them to discover new ideas. Indeed, many schools these days have a limited curriculum and children do not have much read-aloud time. They either read to themselves when they can or teachers use basal reading programs. Social studies is even limited in schools as well, so children are not learning much about current events or any historical events that have occurred. It’s important for us as teachers to allow the children to have some background information on historical events as it will spark their curiosity. They may even want to dig deeper and do their own research. When we expose children to narrative non-fiction genre, we are welcoming diversity in the classroom. Another text I read was Nasreen’s Secret School: A true story from Afghanistan. This book was an eye-opener as it allows children to understand how women were viewed in the country. This story was written after 9/11 and it made me, as an educator view Afghanistan from a different lens. This book is a little graphic but it’s reality and it’s important for us as teachers to make sure that the children are not being sugar coated and they get some facts. However, this genre allows children to make personal connections, stir a conversation/debate, and expand on their ideas.
The next genre I selected for my blog project was fairy tales. I enjoyed this genre because when I was a young girl, I loved reading fairy tales. There’s something enticing and romantic about having a princess, prince, and true love as part of a story. However, that saying, “Love does not come easy” can be applied to fairy tales. When I was a child, I was fond of the Disney movies and fairy tales. Back in high school, I did a research paper on subliminal messages hidden in Disney movies. I discovered a lot of hidden messages including sexual and adult content that is not suitable for children. It was interesting to see how the company inserted these messages in the movies. Therefore, I was curious to see if the same applies to fairy tales and I believe it does. Each fairy tale is different in a sense as the characters are different. I read Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Rapunzel, both of these texts were written by the brothers Grimm. The books were indeed a little grim as it contained violence, specifically eating out people’s hearts and lungs. However, both stories allowed me to see that the so called princess is usually viewed as a delicate flower who everyone walks over. However, at the end of Rapunzel, the princess is actually the one who saves her prince after he was pushed by the sorceress and lost his eyesight. She helped him regain his sight. Whereas, Snow White was viewed as much more gullible as she did not listen to the seven dwarfs who were out to protect her. She did not believe her stepmother was evil. In Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp, Aladdin was viewed as a witty muskrat who just let life take care of itself. He loved his mother but he was not as wise in the beginning. In addition, his wise even kisses the evil moor in the story. All of these fairy tales have different messages, and each are unique as they all pertain to life and how there are ups and downs in every relationships. However, staying true to oneself allows one to help others. The roles of women and men were reversed. Therefore, this genre reminded me of when we deconstructed fairy tales and I believe children would enjoy doing this activity during read-aloud as they would see their favorite stories in a different lens.
All in all, I believe children should be exposed to as many texts as possible in children’s literature because it allows them to enter a new world. When we read a book of different genres, our thoughts and feelings ignite which is why we may recommend a book to a friend, post a review, or re-read a book. The same applies to children. It’s imperative for us as future teachers to awaken the children’s senses and we do this by exposing the children to as many texts as possible. When this happens, we welcome diversity in the classroom, allow the children to make connections, allow the children to build on each other’s ideas and participate in discussions. Children’s creative side will show and we must remember that even though the curriculum is limited to certain subjects, we must ensure that children are obtaining a rigorous curriculum because then learning not only become fun but they tend to learn better.