Saturday, February 20, 2016

Poverty in Picture Books

Children develop perceptions from picture books. They unravel understandings about themselves, their communities, and the larger world they share. They gain insight to the known, peek at the unknown, all the while seeking meaningful connections. Children deepen their sense of self through messages of validation, and are left feeling isolated when their narratives, their voice, is absent. Do children from poverty see their economic experiences portrayed in picture books? All kids need diverse and relevant picture book models, serving as catalysts to conversations and schema about economic diversity. The following are some sample text that portray possible experiences of poverty.

Words from A Shelter in Our Car... Mama opens our little ice chest and makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We drank some leftover orange soda. It's sweet but flat.

Early next morning, Mama wakes me up and reminds me, "let's use the restroom in the park before it gets to crowded." It's chilly there, and I shiver as I put on my school clothes. Then I splash water on my face from the faucet.

Words from Getting through Thursday...
And the next day, my family and I grit all we got toward getting' through Thursday. That's because payday at Mama's school where she's a lunch lady doesn't come till Friday.

Words from Those Shoes...
"Grandma, I want them." "There's no room for 'want' around here- just 'need," Grandma says. "And what you need are new boots for winter."