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Female Characters in Children's Literature

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Brittany Noble

on 25 April 2013

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Transcript of Female Characters in Children's Literature

Brittany Noble Female Characters in
Children's Literature Caldecott Medals Conclusion What Are they? 1940's 1970's 2000's The Caldecott Medal is given annually to recognize "the most distinguished picture book for children" published in the United States during the preceding year. In addition to the Caldecott Medal the committee also awards the Caldecott Honor to a small number of worthy runner-ups. This award is named after Randolph Caldecott and began with 1937 publications. Children's Development of Gender Stereotypes By three years old children are able to distinguish between themselves and the other sex. Books often act as role models and from them children learn what behavior is acceptable for them, for their peers, and for adults around them. Over the past century authors of children's books have typically adjusted the role of their female characters in order to match the role of women in society at that time. When Mrs. Mallard attempts to leave their nest and navigate across town she runs into all sorts of problems and needs to assistance of a male police officer. "One day Mr. Mallard decided he'd like to take a trip...he quacked over his shoulder 'take good care of the ducklings'
'Don't you worry' said Mrs. Mallard. 'I know all about bringing up children'." "The postman said it looked like snow. The farmer said it smelled like snow. The policeman said it felt like snow, and his wife said her big toe hurt, and that always meant snow." Make Way For Ducklings White Snow, Bright Snow Pop Corn and Ma Goodness "They get them some kids for to whuppitty whoppetty
All doon the hill.
Now Pop he chops firewood a-chippitty choppetty
And Ma reds the house up a-mippitty moppetty." "Old Ma she sees stars go a skippitty skoppetty
'He loves me,' she says, heart a-flippety floppetty." The Funny, Little Woman "'Hurt her! I should say not,' said the wicked oni. 'I'm going to take her home and have her cook for all of us.'
'Tee-he-he-he.' laughed the little woman as the wicked oni took her down the road to a wide river. "Tee-he-he-he,' she laughed 'What fun I shall have making rice dumplings.' The weeks and months passed as the little woman kept busy cooking for the wicked oni." "After that, the little woman was very happy, for, with her magic paddle, she could make more rice dumplings faster than ever. So she sold them and soon became the richest woman in all of Japan. 'Tee-he-he-he!" Flotsam In this picture book David Weisner tells the story of an ungendered child solely through pictures. Because of this any reader, particularly a child, can identify with any of the characters in the book who closely resemble themselves. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale In Knuffle Bunny we can see some of the large changes that have occurred over the past few decades. Not only is the father featured doing the laundry but he also brings their child along with him. A man doing these types of errands would never have been present in one of the books from the 1940s. Depictions of women in both the text and the illustrations of Caldecott award winning books have changed drastically over the past century. Authors have generally based their depictions of women on general social and political feelings towards women at the time of publication and so therefore as women's position in society changed, so did their depictions in children's literature. The wife is never given her own identity she is always referred to as his wife and therefore has absolutely no independence. "Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were looking for a place to live. But every time Mr. Mallard saw what looked like a nice place Mrs. Mallard said it was no good."
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