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>More weeding wisdom

>From Work with Children in Public Libraries by Effie L. Power (ALA, 1943):

“Nationality and race influence mode and type of reading and therefore library selection. Jewish boys and girls are inclined to read serious books on mature subjects, and Italian children who live most naturally out-of-doors under sunny skies read reluctantly but enjoy picture books, poetry, and fairy tales. German American children make wide use of books on handicrafts which Jewish children largely ignore and from which Italian children choose few except those related to arts, such as wood carving, metal designing, and painting. The Czech children read history and biography. Probably the greatest readers of fiction are found among native American children.”

I do like this:

“Girls, like boys, are seeking life, but in a different way. They need some so-called boys’ books with moving plots and an adventurous hero to take them out of themselves and to keep them from becoming too introspective; for the opposite reason boys need some of the so-called girls’ books, for their suggestions of self-analysis and wholesome sentiment.”

The most arcane thing I’ve found thus far is a small LP from 1963 called “A Message from Lois Lenski: The Making of a Picture Book.” Who’s got a record player?

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Anonymous says:

    >Italians often have record players but use them mainly for opera. Occasionally they will listen to other musical forms native to their region, but they are reluctant to listen to instructional recordings.

  2. >I do — party at my house! But check your knitting books and salamis at the door.

  3. Jenny Schwartzberg says:

    >Why not give these books and LPs to Simmons or Harvard for their rare book collections? They would be of interest for the change in interpretation of children’s literature over time.

  4. Elizabeth at Egmont says:

    >We are really going to town on this blog entry at my office, where we do occasionally have our own mildly embarrassing conversations, such as “If we only put a girl on the cover most boys won’t read it” or “how do we keep this from looking *too* historical?”

    Anyway, our editorial assistant, Alison, is a Sleepy Hollow native who also happens to be a young Jewish woman of German and Czech descent. As submissions came in late this afternoon we cheerfully called out “Here’s another serious biographical craft book for Alison!”

    By the way, if my colleague Regina Griffin and I ever write a book on “Why Children Read” for the ALA, we will be sure to title our chapter on romance for teens “It’s All About the Yearning.”

  5. >Those passages are similar to some I’m using in my dissertation, which focuses on literacy programs for immigrants in libraries during the teens and ’20s. Here are links to a couple about gender and reading that I posted a while back. Post 1 and Post 2

    In my research notes I have quite a few about ethnicity and supposed reading preferences – I just haven’t gotten around to posting any of them yet. The will be in the dissertation. 😀
    Post 2

  6. Debbie Reese says:

    >I’m guessing that the last line “native American” doesn’t mean American Indian.

    And, FYI, I blogged again today about AMERICAN GIRL. Found a review of one of the stage shows. Gross.

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