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WCE Faculty Contribute to Book on Teaching Diverse Youth Literature

Monday, September 06, 2021

Cara Ward and Amy Senta, along with Lisa Brown Buchanan of Elon University, have co-authored a chapter in the book Handbook of Teaching Diverse Youth Literature to Pre-Service Professionals. The book is a comprehensive reference source that curates promising practices that teachers and librarians are currently applying to prepare aspiring teachers and librarians to share and teach diverse youth literature. It was published by IGI Global in June.  

Ward, Senta and Buchanan authored a chapter titled Deploying Black Joy: Learning to Teach Towards Abolition Through Picture Books. The chapter describes a theory into practice approach for using children's literature to explore and affirm Black joy, Blackness, and Black identity in the elementary classroom. The work of Dr. Bettina Love on abolitionist teaching provides the theoretical grounding for this chapter. The authors describe a synthesis of representation in children's literature and framework for abolitionist teaching, a description of three lessons focused on teaching Black joy, and a call for expanding this work in teacher education.

Ward and Senta were awarded a 2021-2022 Friends of UNCW grant to fund materials for expanding implementation of the lesson plans within the chapter with WCE undergraduate students and their partnership classrooms. The grant funded five sets of picture book titles that illustrate Black joy in the everyday lives of Black children and in experiences of Blackness.

About WCE’s Author Contributors

Cara Ward teaches a variety of elementary and secondary education courses in the Watson College. She has a B.A. in history and an M.A.T. in secondary social studies from UNC Chapel Hill and earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration from UNCW in 2010. Having served the public school system in North Carolina since 2000, she was named the Heide Trask High School Teacher of the Year in 2007. Her various roles in education include social studies teacher (National Board Certified), K-12 lead teacher for social studies, instructional leader for the NC Virtual Public School, and project director for a Teaching America Great History Grant. Her research focuses on various topics in social studies education including the use of history labs to teach historical thinking skills and how racialized violence is addressed in curriculum standards. Dr. Ward’s work has been published in Social Studies and the Young Learner and The Journal of Social Studies Research.

Amy Senta is an assistant professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Literacy and Special Education at the Watson College, where she teaches equity studies in elementary education programs. Her areas of research include participatory ethnography with youth in grades K-8, qualitative research methodologies, the social foundations of education, critical Whiteness studies, critical social theory, poststructuralism and cultural studies. She has been teaching for 19 years, including six years at a public elementary school in Durham, North Carolina.

Lisa Buchanan is an associate professor of education at Elon University where she teaches a variety of courses in teacher education for elementary, middle and secondary grades in the school’s M.Ed. program. Prior to joining Elon’s faculty, she was an associate professor at UNCW’s Watson College and taught elementary grades in Alamance Burlington Schools in North Carolina. She is an avid children’s literature fan. Her research interests are primarily focused on teachers’ perceptions of using children’s literature, film and discussion to teach difficult topics.

The Handbook of Teaching Diverse Youth Literature to Pre-Service Professionals is available through igi-global.com, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.