Representations of Adoption in Contemporary Realistic

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Journal of Language and Literacy Education Vol 13 Issue 1 Spring 2017. Faryl Kander is a Reading Specialist in Jenks OK and a Faculty Mentor at California Southern. University Dr Kander s recent publications address how standardized tests define readers Kander. 2015 Arizona Reading Journal technology integration in teacher education Vasinda Kander Sanogo 2015. in Niess Gillow Wiles Eds The handbook of teacher education in the digital age and writing as. springboard for inquiry Kander Lambson 2014 Texas Journal of Literacy. Dana Hardy holds an MS in Teaching Learning and Leadership from Oklahoma State University She has. worked as a public school teacher reading specialist curriculum coach and teacher educator She is. currently an academic language therapist in Bartlesville Oklahoma. e are teacher educators so diversity and significant in the lives of children and families was a. W equity is fundamental to our work 1 In,public school classrooms we look and. listen for it and learn from it In our university,silent diversity in these crucial contexts. This study began when Suzii Sue observing in a,public school took a moment to search the library. classrooms we engage teacher candidates in, conversation and inquiry about it For each of us catalog for books featuring adoption Of the few. books available each description suggested a,understanding and advocating for diverse.
character struggling with a problem related to, perspectives is a core aspect of our scholarship and a. guiding principle for professional and personal having been adopted Struck by both the limited. choices and the consistency of a problem based,action In our ongoing conversations about and. message she wondered If a reader read just these,inquiry into diversity and equity in education we. noted that adoption was rarely mentioned as an books what images and understandings about. adoption might he or she construct This question,aspect of diversity When we researched in. expanded into a conversation that turned into an,classrooms adoption was not part of the community.
conversation In discussions with practicing extended exploration We wondered How might. the ways authors write about adoption position,educators and teacher candidates we were almost. various readers in relation to their experiences and. always the ones to broach the topic Other aspects of. diversity made their way readily if not easily to the their understandings of others What else is out. there These early musings solidified into the,forefront of the conversation but adoption though. research question guiding this work,richly relevant in the lives of many children and. families seemed shadowed at best perhaps even,avoided We observed that adoption while. We acknowledge that there is a gender spectrum and gendered in a particular way Otherwise we used gender. that many pronouns exist that we can use when referring inclusive language including using the pronoun they as. to individuals our writing Throughout article we used singular to refer to multiple possible gender identities. gendered pronouns only when the gender of the, individual was clear and specific to that person for.
instance when the character in the book was clearly. Journal of Language and Literacy Education Vol 13 Issue 1 Spring 2017. How are adoption adoptive families and Despite its prevalence adoption is often. participation in the adoption process depicted in unrecognized as an aspect of identity yet it is. contemporary realistic fiction for young adults significant in the lives of youth and their families. Considering Bishop s 1999 insights about the, In this article we articulate our critical content. importance of literature serving as mirrors in which. analysis of depictions of adoption and adoptive, readers see their lives and experiences reflected and. families in contemporary realistic young adult YA as windows revealing possibilities they had not yet. fiction books Through our literature review we,experienced we considered how adolescents might. discuss social and historical contexts regarding, see adoption depicted in relation to their own lives. adoption as well as frequent themes about adoption and the lives of others Indeed adoption is an. often negative and stereotypical commonly,intriguingly complex aspect of diversity.
expressed in various media Following the literature. encompassing international transracial single, review we explore critical literacy as the theoretical mother and father older parent LGBTQ parent. frame through which we conducted our content,foster and kinship adoption all related to themes. analysis We explain how we found and selected the,of gender race class and privilege religion and. books used in this study then go on to address our social contexts specifically noted as important to. process of content analysis We describe content,consider in literature for young. analysis as method in general,adults Young Adult Library.
then directly articulate the Despite its prevalence. Services Association 2011 In, specific ways our research team adoption is often this article we explore how. engaged in critical content, unrecognized as an aspect of adoption and adoptive families. analysis to reveal our findings are represented in YA literature. Following articulation and identity yet it is significant. examining recurrent themes, discussion of our findings we in the lives of youth and across texts and highlighting. provide guidelines for selecting their families embedded and cumulative. books with authentic and,perspectives,respectful portrayals of adoption that may engage. readers in critical conversations about adoption as a Adoption in Literature and Other Media. significant aspect of social diversity,Much scholarly work on how adoption is.
Adoption is a part of family experience for many represented in literature focuses on classic works. youth According to the 2010 census Kreider Novy 2005 Reimer 2011 historical perspectives. Lofquist 2014 there are 2 1 million adopted Matthews 2010 Novy 2005 Wesseling 2009 or. children in the U S alone The 2002 National topical bibliographies e g Miles 1991 The few. Adoption Attitudes Survey Harris Interactive Inc studies that have been conducted focus primarily on. 2002 indicates that about 65 of Americans have a how adoption is represented in literature for very. personal connection to adoption as do three of the young readers Kokkola s 2011 analysis of Allen. four researchers on this study Two researchers are Say s work revealed both complex visual allusions to. adoptive parents one adopting at birth and the the complexities of cross cultural adoption and. other from the foster system another s spouse was troubling oversimplifications Bordo 2002 and. adopted and a fourth has no personal connection Ayers 2004 both noted that while portrayals of. adoption in current children s books and media offer. more realistic images than earlier stories depictions. Journal of Language and Literacy Education Vol 13 Issue 1 Spring 2017. are still slanted toward outdated tropes related to scholars Pertman 2011 2012 asserted that. gender ethnicity and the nature of inaccurate sensationalized and unbalanced. kinship motherhood especially in relation to birth broadcast and print portrayals of adoption in. parents and adoption circumstances Jerome and entertainment and informational media perpetuate. Sweeney 2014 looked specifically at portrayals of problem based views Adoptive Families magazine. birth parents in books for young children noting features a regular column that addresses positive. that birth parents are usually depicted as and problematic treatments of adoption in the. inadequate Further inclusion of birth parent stories media and marketplace Concerns often focus on. varied according to ethnicity with Latino and adoption punch lines or taunting scenes that suggest. African American birth parents largely absent from adoption as problematic imply that adoption is a. the literature altogether Inaccurate oversimplified financial transaction in which children are bought. and or biased representations are particularly and sold or implicate adoption as a lower form of. problematic given that families seek out literature to family membership Again such portrayals are. help children understand adoption Bergquist 2007 significant because without careful interrogation all. Mattix Crawford 2011 forms of media can affect how we view ourselves and. others Cort s 2000,Related YA studies largely address teen pregnancy. Davis and MacGillivray 2001 noted eight common Readers and viewers develop understanding of their. messages related to sex and experiences of teen own lives and the world around them through the. pregnancy as depicted in YA novels concluding that stories with which they engage YA literature. the narratives were silent on important topics such specifically has been shown to influence readers. as race and class prenatal care and birth control empathy and understandings of themselves and. Each of these topics however play a role in others Gardner 2008 Kidd Costano 2013 Jacobs. adoption decisions and are related to historical and 2006 Meixner 2006 Sherr Beise 2015 In YA as. social contexts of adoption such as gender rights in all forms of media active and accurate inclusion. and roles wealth and privilege and race and and critical analysis of texts depicting diverse life. culture Nichols 2007 compared portrayals of teen experiences are power and equity issues Hermann. pregnancy in YA books to the actual experiences Wilmarth 2007 Kellner Share 2005 Depictions. reflected in data noting mismatched portrayals of of adoption matter because unexamined. teens who choose abortion 40 of actual vs 1 in assumptions can permeate discourse and weaken. books or adoption 3 of actual vs 35 in books healthy development of adopted individuals and. Emge 2006 on the other hand found that while adoptive families Smith Surrey Watkins 2006. YA books addressing teen pregnancy have begun to,Theoretical Framework. acknowledge agency and choice protagonists rarely, viewed adoption as a good option We approached our reading and analysis from a. critical literacy perspective in which literacy is. Portrayals of adoption in television movies and, documentaries have increased significantly in recent conceptualized as a practice with significant social. implications In this view texts are created,years Gailey s 2006 research on adoption in film.
embedded in and reflective of particular social and. revealed iconic images and reiterated story lines that. represent shape and perpetuate widespread historical contexts Reflecting those contexts texts. of all types position and influence readers Rudine. stereotypes Such messages are the frequent subject. of written commentary by adoption advocates and Sims Bishop s 1990 work offered metaphors. Journal of Language and Literacy Education Vol 13 Issue 1 Spring 2017. embraced by the researchers for considering justice such race religion gender class sexual. representation in texts Books are mirrors that offer orientation and education that privilege or. an opportunity to see one s self reflected back in the diminish access and voice for individuals and. literature for those with a personal connection to communities Edelsky 1999 Rogers Malancharuvil. adoption a text can serve as that mirror through Berkes Mosley Hui O Garro 2005 Viewing and. which one sees one s self reflected However it is engaging with texts through a critical lens is at once. vital that the literature offers a number of diverse an act of hope and focused intent we illuminate and. realistic and relevant mirrors for readers A fun resist stereotypes in an effort to advocate for. house reflection that distorts or misrepresents inclusiveness and respect As Fowler 2006. identity or experience can be highly problematic reminded Stories have power but I want to make a. particularly when this distortion is repeated across distinction between a story and a narrative A. multiple texts The most grotesque distortion of all narrative includes not only the story but also the. as Jones 2008 noted is the absence of any teller the told the context and conditions of the. reflection of a significant component of a reader s story telling and the reasons and intentions for. identity in a body of literature that purports to narrating p 9 Rather than ignoring our identities. represent young adult experiences they are an integral part of the analysis We work as. Misrepresentation is problematic invisibility is a a team to recognize articulate and examine our. different but also potent form of disrespect potential biases and or blind spots while also. valuing our own perspectives which can lead to,Conversely when an array of. insights derived from a, realistically drawn characters Texts print or non print are particular way of seeing. not perfect but portraying a Kramp 2004 p 115 working. positive image overall is,never neutral,to heed Fowler s 1990 plea to. reflected back it can be a,attend to the hidden truths in. valuable opportunity for a reader with a personal ourselves p 78 As Johnson Bailey 2004 noted. connection to adoption to explore their identity, It is well to remember that the exotic entertaining.
Bishop 1990 went on to discuss books as windows,and harmless Other can only exist in contrast to. and sliding glass doors through which in this case the uninteresting observing and authoritative. contemporary realistic fiction for young adults In this article we articulate our critical content analysis of depictions of adoption and adoptive families in contemporary realistic young adult YA fiction books Through our literature review we discuss social and historical contexts regarding adoption as well as frequent themes about adoption often negative and stereotypical commonly

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