Tuesday Coffee Talk, May 29th
May 28, 2007
1. Miss Fuse has news: A Fuse #8 Production is moving to School Library Journal for a paid blogging gig. Congratulations to Betsy Bird, the voice behind the curtain at Fuse 8.
2. Confessions of a Pioneer Woman posted the most complete recipe for chicken spaghetti casserole I've ever seen. With photos. Awesome.
3. After last week's Carnival of Children's Literature, here's some more on multicultural lit. Saturday's piece at La Bloga was an interview with Theresa Howell, a children's book editor, about authenticity. René Colato Laínez asks Howell, "What does a manuscript need to have in order to be multicultural?" Howell answers,
Too many stories for children depict characters from the dominant culture. A multicultural manuscript tells the stories of characters outside of the mainstream. These manuscripts tell stories of people from wonderfully diverse cultures. They help readers look at the world from different perspectives.
4. See also "Questioning Cultural Stereotypes," an essay by Radhika Menon, the managing editor of a small publishing house in India. Menon writes,
The reality, then, is that the focus on multicultural publishing has not translated into authentic and inclusive literature from all cultures. The reality is also that the parameters of what is acceptable in multicultural publishing are set by big, successful, western publishing houses – the rest of the world must follow unquestioningly.
Link via Educating Alice and Writing With a Broken Tusk.
5. First it was a best-selling series of children's books. Now it's a singing and dancing extravaganza? "Magic Tree House: The Musical" premieres at the Warner Theatre, in Torrington, Connecticut, in September.
Are you in the mood for a meme? I hope so! HipWriterMama tagged me this morning--and now I'm tagging you. You can read about the meme at Wild Rose Reader.
Hope you and your family had a great weekend!
Posted by: Elaine Magliaro | May 29, 2007 at 12:23 PM
I've tagged you also - sorry about that ! Maybe I should give up sleeping to be sure of catching people first !?
Posted by: Michele | May 29, 2007 at 03:41 PM
I like how you included both of those quotes side by side. I am uncomfortable with the term "multicultural" because I think it usually means "not white" as in "not us". Like it's a code for letting a few of them in the room, but it's still our house. Howell's quote especially makes that clear - it's not that many cultures are represented equally, but that white kids get to read about "others" outside the dominant group. That's not what she is trying to say but it is the message undercurrent that I hear many places.
Menon's article makes it clear. He is saying the huge variety of authentic diverse voices of Indian culture have a hard time getting published because there is a limited space for stereotypical "diversity" in the marketplace. Even in India, because of the influence of colonialism, the market pressure is to fit the expected norm (coming from the West) with a little predictable "Indian" flavor.
Anyone else see it this way? Am I making any sense?
Posted by: cloudscome | May 30, 2007 at 05:39 AM
I see what you mean, Cloudscome. Pooja Makhijani's review">http://tinyurl.com/27goop/">review of "Elephant Dance"(which ran here at this blog) came to mind when I read your comment.
Pooja wrote, "Both the text and the art treat India as if the country were a monolithic place. Ravi asks about "India" and Grandfather replies with definitive responses, as if the weather, vegetation, and wildlife were the same throughout the vast country."
The book's editor and the author wrote in, though, to say that the book was intended as an introduction to the country for young children. One used the term "exotic" in referring to India. Now, if you live in India (or Mississippi or Alaska or Brazil or Cameroon), I doubt that you view your state or country as "exotic." It's just home. It was an interesting discussion.
Posted by: Susan | May 30, 2007 at 09:28 AM
Exactly. It's exotic if you are mainstream. Whatever that means - but I guess it's most of us white folks. It's multicultural if all the people aren't white in appearance.
And I tagged you back!
Posted by: cloudscome | May 30, 2007 at 12:59 PM