Exploring Module Themes: Let’s Talk about the Books

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1. PERPETUAL PROMPT: “My overall takeaway from this week’s materials is . . .”
2. PERPETUAL PROMPT: “I want to talk about these themes in this module’s books . . . ”
3. PERPETUAL PROMPT: write in detail about at least two of the books, and how you think they matter to children’s literature.
4. Write about the influence of librarians, whether it’s in your life, in your school’s life, or in your children’s lives. What do you understand about a librarian’s job? Why is their job important to kids and books, in your opinion? How do you see Pura Belpré embodying the characteristics of a librarian that you find important?
5. Talk about some children’s books that you’ve seen turned into TV shows or films (as Little Bear has been, or Charlotte’s Web). Do you think the adaptations are quality? As a story consumer, do you prefer books or films? What makes you say so?
6. If you’re familiar with the film or TV adaptations of Little Bear or Charlotte’s Web, talk about the similarities and differences you see between the media. How is the visual story different than the word story?
7. Think about character archetypes (see the Vogler link a couple pages back for more info: hero, trickster, shadow, mentor, threshold guardian, herald, shapeshifter, ally) you’ve seen in children’s books or children’s media (think about the Disney films you’ve seen). Why do you think these archetypes are useful for kids? Or are they? Do they give kids stereotypes they don’t need?
8. After six weeks of class, how are you seeing into the hidden (ignored? dismissed?) world of children? In the books we’ve read over the last three modules, what have you learned about kids think, see, and feel?


As a student of children’s literature, the perpetual prompts have provided me with a plethora of materials that have helped shape my understanding of the subject matter. Through these prompts, I have been able to explore themes and concepts that have allowed me to gain a deeper appreciation for the importance of children’s literature.

In response to the first prompt, my overall takeaway from this week’s materials is the critical role that children’s literature plays in the lives of young readers. The books we read this week highlighted the importance of representation in literature and how it can positively impact children’s understanding of themselves and the world around them. The power of literature lies in its ability to shape perceptions and foster empathy, making it an essential tool for children’s growth and development.

Moving on to the second prompt, I want to talk about the themes present in this module’s books, specifically the themes of diversity and representation. In “The Day You Begin” by Jacqueline Woodson, we see a young girl who feels like an outsider in a classroom full of children who don’t look like her. The book is a celebration of diversity and the idea that everyone’s story is important, regardless of their background. Similarly, in “Hair Love” by Matthew A. Cherry, we see a father learning how to do his daughter’s hair, breaking down gender roles and stereotypes, and promoting a healthy relationship between fathers and daughters. These themes are crucial in today’s society, where representation and inclusivity are necessary in literature to help children develop a more well-rounded understanding of the world around them.

In response to prompt number four, I have personally experienced the influence of librarians in my life. The job of a librarian is not just to manage books but to curate a space where young readers can explore, learn, and grow. Librarians are instrumental in promoting literacy and love for books, and their impact can be felt in the lives of countless children. Pura Belpré is an example of a librarian who embodies the characteristics of a great librarian, from her dedication to her work to her commitment to diversity and representation in literature. Her legacy serves as an inspiration to many aspiring librarians and children’s literature enthusiasts.

Moving on to prompt number five, I have seen many children’s books turned into TV shows or films, including “Little Bear” and “Charlotte’s Web.” While some adaptations are excellent, others don’t quite capture the essence of the original book. As a story consumer, I prefer books over films because books allow me to create my own mental images and dive deep into the author’s storytelling.

Prompt number six asks me to compare the visual story to the word story in “Little Bear” and “Charlotte’s Web.” The visual story in these adaptations brings the characters to life in a way that words cannot, allowing viewers to see the story unfold before their eyes. However, the word story is more immersive, allowing readers to engage with the characters and the story on a deeper level.

In response to prompt number seven, I think that character archetypes are useful in children’s literature and media because they provide children with familiar tropes and archetypes that they can relate to. These archetypes are not meant to be stereotypes but rather serve as a framework for the story. They can be used to teach children valuable lessons about character traits such as bravery, cunning, and loyalty.

Finally, in response to prompt number eight, after six weeks of class, I am starting to see the hidden world of children more clearly. Through the books we’ve read, I have learned how children think, see, and feel, and how literature can help them navigate the complexities of the world around them.

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