The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children's Literature, Vol 8, No 1 (2004)

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TLG 8.1 Editorial

Frame of Reference


Editorial

Jane Goldstein


Literary scholars of critical theory agree that reader response is the reader's reaction to what they have read. That may be the only point that they agree on. Each school of thought has its own interpretation about how the reader's response is to be measured and what kind of importance should be applied to that measurement. The staff of The Looking Glass has its own definition of reader response. When you send a comment, we feel successful because something in an article we published made you think. When you bring us a new reader, we are pleased you found we were worth sharing with a colleague. When you forward an article for us to consider, we feel it is the ultimate compliment.

Mirrors and Windows debuted in the January, 2003 issue with Maggie Parrish as the column editor. We hoped for at least 300 reader responses to her forum style discussion of Philip Pullman's work. While we didn't get that, we did get a wonderful paper submission which leads off Alice's Academy in this issue. Susan R. Bobby explores the supernatural powers of daemons and their impact on the characters in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy.

Alice's Academy also includes "Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!" by David LaBounty. This phrase in English-speaking cultures is used by children to taunt that person who has fallen victim to his own dishonesty. I suspect every linguistic group has such a phrase. LaBounty traces the theme of lying in characters from Aesop's fables to more modern stories. He shares psychological and sociological analysis from several sources as he questions why children lie.

Evelyn Perry includes information about Robin McKinley as she continues to explore the author's retellings of popular fairy tales. The column is long but the ending will not disappoint the reader.

My Own Invention is the column in which guests share things that they have developed to use some aspect of children's literature with real children. While critical theory is great for our brain development, it is always good to read about how librarians and teachers are using books in the classroom. In this issue, Tom Bruggman, a counselor at the Calvert School, writes about an interdisciplinary program he developed for use with only one student or with larger groups of children. The school is progressive and along with its academic goals encourages students to be aware of the richness and diversity of the world around them. This academic philosophy affords Dr. Bruggman the opportunity to experiment with psychological concepts and a variety of educational disciplines as he counsels in his office and classroom. Because children process the written pages of a book in many ways, he combines illustration and drawing, with music and role-playing to make the story on the page accessible to every child as he builds connections between student and adult.

For readers elsewhere in the world, the Calvert School may sound familiar. Along with the actual independent school facility in Baltimore, MD., 18,000 elementary aged children throughout the world use its instructional materials to receive an American education.

The country of Sweden has chosen to honor the memory of Astrid Lindgren by making yearly awards in her name. The first recipients were Maurice Sendak of the United States and Christine Noestlinger of Austria. The Looking Glass was pleased to be invited to celebrate at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, DC. this fall. Information about the presentation makes up our Caucus Race for this month.

Our reader response in the past months has been getting more active. We have received inquiries about our next issue which will focus on the children's literature of the Middle East region and of that for Arabic children now living throughout the world. We already have some good papers being edited. The deadline for submissions for that issue is February 15, 2004, and we would love to hear from you.

May the New Year bring peace to the worlds of children everywhere.

Editorially yours,

Jane Goldstein


Volume 8, Issue 1 The Looking Glass, January, 2004

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"Frame of Reference"
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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680