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Understanding the Benefits and Challenges of School Integration: Contributions from Children’s Literature

Jonathan W. Lathey


As a nation, we are currently experiencing a moment of racial reckoning, where issues of racial injustice, diversity, and educational inequality are debated. Literature offers a documentary source of evidence that informs the historical record. Children’s literature reveals our conceptions of social class, race, and the role of education in a given historical period. Scholars like Amanda Gailey at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln study changes in how Blacks are represented in children’s literature. Historically, children’s literature has avoided or neglected representations of Blacks, except as literary stereotypes.

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