|Editorial – Janice Bland, Christiane Lütge and Sandie Mourão||ii|
|Recommended Venues: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre – Gillian O’Reilly||1|
|Who Are You? Racial Diversity in Contemporary Wonderland – Rebecca Ciezarek||4|
Making the Match: Traditional Nursery Rhymes and Teaching English to Modern Children –
Recommended Reads – Beverley Naidoo, Janet Evans, Irma-Kaarina Ghosn and Janice Bland
Book Reviews – Gail Ellis, Susanne Reichl
Welcome to the fourth issue of the CLELEjournal!
Although CLELE is the acronym for Children’s Literature in English Language Education, this does not mean the journal focuses only on pre-teens. Children’s literature is an umbrella term that is usually considered by scholars to include young adult literature, oral literature, film, digital media and visual texts for young people. The CLELEjournal thus has a broad remit – encompassing a wide area of literary texts in language education.
However, the CLELEjournal focuses not only on children’s literature, but also on language learning. In this context there is disagreement as to the role of literature, both children’s literature and adult literature. According to Werner Delanoy (2015, p. 32), ‘philosophies of language learning can vary significantly in their attitude to literature. To put it simply, literature plays an important role in programmes where the focus is on language education rather than on language learning’ (emphasis in the original).
The CLELEjournal sees areas such as critical pedagogy and critical cultural literacy as belonging to language and literature education, particularly when we consider the complexities of English as a global language. Importantly, children’s literature has a ‘massive cultural influence’, to quote Peter Hunt (2001, p. 2), whether read in school or out of school. It is becoming increasingly urgent to understand this influence – which may be equally connected to the visual as to the verbal text.
This leads to the first article in this issue, Ciezarek’s ‘Who Are You? Racial Diversity in Contemporary Wonderland’. This paper interrogates the flexibility of Alice in Wonderland, exactly 150 years since its first publication. The translations, remediations and retellings are extensive, yet the heroine is nearly inevitably ‘visually established as a Caucasian child’ – thus contributing, Ciezarek argues, to the implicit normative status of White culture. The author examines three unusual picturebook adaptations with regard to empowering and connecting all children inclusively in their literacy development.
The next article is Prosic-Santovac’s ‘Making the Match: Traditional Nursery Rhymes and Teaching English to Modern Children’. The use of nursery rhymes is not unusual in language teaching with young learners. However, Prosic-Santovac’s paper studies less the rhymes’ ludic quality, but rather their content – whether nursery rhymes ‘provide material for encouragement of discussion and exploration of values’. Once again, [End of Page ii] the illustrations and representation of nursery-rhyme characters, in a number of published nursery rhyme collections, are included in the examination.
Our chosen Recommended Venue for this issue is said to ‘champion the nation’s stories’. This is the Canadian Children’s Book Centre in Toronto, and the Recommended Venue feature explores how the interested visitor, in person or online, can access information on ‘the best Canadian books for children and teens’.
In this issue we present four Recommended Reads – two picturebooks and two works of young adult fiction that have already delighted fortunate children and teenagers in language education – and that the contributors believe should reach a wider audience. These books have been selected by highly experienced teacher educators and authors, including Beverley Naidoo – herself a Carnegie Medal award-winning author.
This issue also presents book reviews of two new academic books on literacy, both of which centre on children’s literature and language education. Gail Ellis reviews Storybridge to Second Language Literacy. The Theory, Research and Practice of Teaching English with Children’s Literature (Ghosn 2013) and Susanne Reichl reviews Literature for the English Classroom. Theory into Practice (ed. Birketveit & Williams 2013).
With many thanks to our academic book reviewers, our contributors of articles, of Recommended Reads and Recommended Venues, our webperson, Ina Batzke, our assistant editor, Bill Templer, and last but not least the members of our editorial review board – for their essential contribution.
Janice Bland, Christiane Lütge and Sandie Mourão
Delanoy, W. (2015). Literature teaching and learning: theory and practice. In W. Delanoy, M. Eisenmann & F. Matz (Eds), Learning with Literature in the EFL Classroom. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, pp. 19-48.
Hunt, P. (2001). Children’s Literature. Oxford: Blackwell.