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Diverse Books: Windows, Mirrors, Doors, Maps, and More
Fifty years after Nancy Larrick lamented “The All-White World of Children’s Books,” statistics collected by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) continue to document the paucity of literature for youth featuring characters of color. Acclaimed authors Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers published widely read editorials bemoaning the missed opportunities for all children to experience richer and more accurate representations of the world, while the We Need Diverse Books campaign has raised further awareness of the need for books that reflect and inspire broader cartographies of the imagination.
In this issue, we ask: Why do we need diverse books? Who needs diverse books? How do diverse books matter in schools and communities? What makes a book “diverse” in these times? What roles can publishers, authors, and educators play in responding to these calls for diverse books? What theoretical frameworks can help us understand the roots of this problem and how to address it? How are teacher educators preparing prospective teachers to incorporate and teach diverse books? Submission deadline: November 15, 2015
“Tweens”: Too Old for This, Too Young for That!
For this issue, we plan to explore the literacy experiences of children from the ages of 9 to 12. This demographic has been previously defined as upper elementary, middle grades, and preteens, as well as the current and sometimes frowned upon label “tweens.” Despite the name, however, we wonder whether subtleties exist within how literacy teachers instruct students falling in this developmental range.
Are today’s tweens much different from those referred to as "upper elementary students" from decades ago? Are tween boys similar to tween girls when their literacy interests and practices are taken into account? What other considerations across class, ethnicity, and other categories emerge as salient for this age group? For example, how do teachers and librarians decide upon developmental distinctions when selecting children’s versus young adult literature for tweens? We are also interested in how students in this age range read, write, and engage in literacy outside of schools. How do writers view the tween audience as readers? In what ways are tweens marketed to in terms of their literacy interests and practices? Submission deadline: January 15, 2016
Viewpoints and Visions
For this unthemed issue, we invite manuscript submissions that offer a variety of viewpoints and visions related to language arts across multiple settings and modalities. What topics, concerns, or issues do you think are important to today’s readers of Language Arts? What kinds of theoretical lenses have you applied to your inquiry work to increase our collective understandings of language arts instruction? How does your research illustrate the range of ways in which young people are engaged with the language arts? What trends do you see in the field of language arts? What innovative literacy practices do you see in the diverse spaces of classrooms and community settings? Within a digital age, how are our understandings of children’s literature, writing instruction, and literacy learning shifting?
These are just a few of the many questions that can be explored in this issue. Join us in crafting an assortment of articles that helps to expand our viewpoints and visions about language arts. Submission deadline: March 15, 2016
Trauma, Loss, and Literacies
For this issue of Language Arts, we seek manuscripts exploring how traumatic events and experiences are storied within spaces of teaching and learning. What happens when children share or read stories of loss, economic hardship, and/or trauma? How are students drawing on multiple modalities to express these stories or their responses to them? What responsibilities do educators have to those who share trauma narratives and to those who witness the narratives? How do collective experiences of traumatic events (e.g., police shootings, environmental disasters) find expression in the language arts classroom? What happens when these stories are silenced? How do educational institutions, assessment practices, and curricula serve as sites of struggle and loss for students?
In this issue, we also invite authors to write about how the language arts can serve as sites of possibility and hope for students experiencing trauma and loss. Submission deadline: May 15, 2016
For this issue, we are interested in exploring the reading, writing, teaching, and performing of poetry. Recently, nonfiction has received increased attention, largely due to the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, but poetry, often a neglected genre, deserves attention as well. Poetry has the potential to awaken the senses, sharpen language skills, and inspire political activism.
Questions to pose related to poetry include: Which pedagogical practices successfully engage children in reading and responding to poetry in meaningful ways and across the content areas? How can poetry titles be utilized to support children in writing poetry themselves? How have poetry books evolved over time? For instance, a number of recently published books by Joyce Sidman and Douglas Florian include nonfiction information along with the poems. What might content analyses of poetry books by poets such as Janet Wong, Pat Mora, Marilyn Nelson, and others (e.g., past recipients of the NCTE Excellence in Poetry for Children Award) uncover? What are children’s poetry preferences and how are they shaped by the books teachers select, read aloud, and make available? How are young poets finding expression and reaching audiences with digital tools, multimedia platforms, and spoken word events? How do young people orchestrate multiple modalities when crafting and performing poems?
Submission deadline: July 15, 2016