Topics of Stress and Abuse in Children’s Literature for Intermediate Readers
Wendy M. Smith-D’Arezzo
Loyola University Maryland
4501 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21210
Susan C. Thompson
University of Northern Colorado, Greeley
School of Teacher Ed Office
McKee Hall 280
Campus box 107
Greeley, CO 80639-0001
Incidents of child abuse and neglect are reported daily in the United States, currently numbering close to 900,000 cases per year. Children are abused/maltreated physically, emotionally and sexually, in addition to being abused through neglect. Introducing this topic in the intermediate grades as a social justice/civil rights issue is one way to open the door to discussions of child abuse with children who may be experiencing abuse in their homes. Included here is an in-depth analysis of thirteen current texts for intermediate readers that contain significant incidents of child maltreatment, comparing the abuse within the books to actual statistics and types of maltreatment currently recognized within the United States. Suggestions and guidelines are given to teachers for using these books with children, although cautions against using bibliotherapy are clear throughout.
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