Dissertation Information for Janice M. Del Negro
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: A trail of stones and breadcrumbs: Evaluating folktales published for youth in the 20th century, 1905--2000
Abstract: This study contextualizes the evolving criteria for evaluating folktales published for youth in the twentieth century in relation to children's librarians' historical concerns and changing perceptions of cultural hegemony and authority. The synthesis of previously unrelated primary source materials and other emblematic professional publications provides an overview of the influences on evaluation of follitales published for youth and sheds light on the forces that impact library materials selection, collection development, and program design. In turn, these forces impact what children read, which impacts their world view. This research examines reviews of folktales published for youth from 1905-2000 in the "Big Four" major reviewing journals for children's collections in public libraries: Booklist, the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Horn Book, and School Library Journal. Emblematic works addressing cultural authenticity, evaluation criteria, multiculturalism, and other issues places the evolution of the examined criteria in the context of its era by relating it to professional perceptions of children's services, possible social influences, and writings of practitioners for practitioners, which function as professional guideposts. Comparisons of twentieth-century reviews from library journals and other primary sources indicate an evolving consciousness among reviewers of the importance of issues related to the appraisal of traditional tales published for youth. Included transcripts of oral histories collected from current nd past book review editors of the "Big Four" journals focus on editorial perceptions about current and past criteria for evaluating folktales, the impact of multiculturalism on children's book publishing, and the effects of issues of cultural authenticity on children's book reviewing. Early twenty-first-century perceptions of acceptable criteria for evaluation of folktales are discussed, including the philosophical gap between mainstream and non-mainstream voices.
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