Using children's literature to look at bias and stereotyping

Primary History article

By Russell Jones, published 31st August 2005

We have come to understand that modern children's literature often provides a way of examining a range of social and moral issues, affording educators the opportunity to discuss issues such as bias and stereotyping. Many adults have seen the possibilities here to contextualise classroom incidents differently, or to explore themes being discussed as part of a citizenship or PSHE agenda. Jacqueline Wilson's books are an often cited starting point, and they have come to epitomise a modern genre of books for children. We are no longer surprised that children actively want to read about divorce and family break-up (Dustbin Baby), mental illness (The Illustrated Mum) and parental abuse (Lola Rose). Perhaps now would be an interesting time to look at controversial issues in earlier works of fiction for children and to see if similar lessons can be learned…

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