1992: Evaluating Children's Books: A Critical Look
Allerton Park Institute Proceedings (no. 34, 1992); Edited by Betsy Hearne and Roger Sutton
Juvenile publishing is in an unprecedented success cycle, which causes, ironically, unprecedented problems for creators, reviewers, and consumers of children's books. A popularized market has dictated more quantity and less quality control than ever before. Financial bonanzas have generated more glitz and less durability. Librarians, teachers, and reviewers come close to being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and by the subsequent pressure to make choices quickly but effectively. Yet the process of evaluating a book takes just as long as it used to. The process of reading a book to a child takes just as long as it used to. And balancing a book budget takes a lot longer.
Selection now implies more selectivity than in any other time in the history of children's literature. In children's literature, selection depends primarily on reviews. Few professionals have access to examination centers that receive all the juvenile books published every year. Reviewing at every level, from the published journal to the list annotated by a librarian or school library staff, is more basic to this field than it is to any other. We are too new to have established a traditional canon, a Pulitzer Prize, a reliable best-seller list, or even a steady foothold of attention in the media. Yet children's literature has always been central to children's librarianship, and it has become, commendably, more central for teaching children in public and private schools. Evaluation is central to children's literature, and evaluation is most often evinced in reviews.
The complete text of the Institute is available here as well as the individual papers. The papers included here are:
- Introduction - Betsy Hearne
Censorship, Negative Criticism, Glitzy Trends, Growing Publisher Output, and Other Shadows on the Landscape of Children's Book Reviewing: A Panel Discussion - Roger Sutton, Moderator with Ilene Cooper, Betsy Hearne, Trevelyn Jones, Joanna Rudge Long, and Anita Silvey
- Children's Librarians, Reviews, and Collection Development - Janice N. Harrington
- Tools of the Trade: School Library Media Specialists, Reviews, and Collection Development - Janie Schomberg
- Evaluating Children's Books for Whole-Language Learning - Violet Harris
- Reviewing Nonfiction Books for Children and Young Adults: Stance, Scholarship, and Structure - Betty Carter
- Visual Criticism and Children's Literature - Barbara Kiefer
- Insights and Discoveries: Illuminating Textual Criticism - Cathryn M. Mercier
- The Impact of Reviewing on Children's Book Publishing - Dorothy Briley
- Reading Latin America: Issues in the Evaluation of Latino Children's Books in Spanish and English - Graciela Italiano
- And Yet . . . Beyond Political Correctness - Hazel Rochman
In Conclusion - Roger Sutton
The Proceedings of the Allerton Park Institute have been digitized through the Open Content Alliance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Introduction to Evaluating children's books : a critical look : aesthetic, social, and political aspects of analyzing and using children's books (Papers presented at the Allerton Park Institute held October 25-27, 1992) (Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993)
(Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993)Both the writing and the reviewing of children's and young adult nonfiction are art forms. Fine works of nonfiction promise hours of pleasure, exhilaration, and contemplation for their readers; they convey both wonder ...
Contributors to Evaluating children's books : a critical look : aesthetic, social, and political aspects of analyzing and using children's books (Papers presented at the Allerton Park Institute held October 25-27, 1992)
Front matter including Table of Contents to Evaluating children's books : a critical look : aesthetic, social, and political aspects of analyzing and using children's books (Papers presented at the Allerton Park Institute held October 25-27, 1992)
In the 1990s, libraries are beginning to face the new demands of demographic and technological change. In this evolving context, a discussion of book reviewing and collection development can begin by examining the ...