Allison's Book Bag

A Reading Experiment

Posted on: March 26, 2012

Multicultural Week at York Lanes

Multicultural Week at York Lanes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the next few weeks, my posts will look a different. I’m going to write about what I’m learning in my graduate studies. Yes, that will still involve books for young people. However, I’m going to focus exclusively on multicultural books and what I’m learning from them.

In my Intercultural Communication course, I’m studying how people from various countries and cultures view the world around them and interact with one another. For the final paper, I need to read theories, conduct research, and draw conclusions about some aspect of intercultural communication.

One evening in class, my teacher gave various examples of research projects including analyzing books to see how they portray intercultural communication. When I listed her suggestions for my husband, he scolded me: “You like to read. You have a blog where you review books. Why aren’t you studying books for your paper?” And so after weeks of agonizing, I found my focus.

For the data part, I’ve decided to return again to Golden Sowers. Searching through the listings of the past ten years’ worth of nominees to find multicultural examples gave me about sixty books. I reduced that exorbitant amount by restricting my selections to just those also written by multicultural authors. This left me with about twenty books.

While that number of books will be much easier to handle reading in a month than sixty, reading extras to review at Allison’s Book Bag would still realistically be too much of a challenge. I considered shutting down my blog for a month, but have instead found another option. For the next few weeks, whenever I finish a new book, I’ll tell you a little about it and how various cultures are portrayed.

During the month, I’ll also monitor how many hits my blog receives. If they show that interest is staying high with my blog, I might try future research projects. For example, I’m curious to know those with special needs are portrayed in novels. What are some themes you wonder about?

Sweetie that he is, my husband has volunteered to help. He plans to read a few books from my spreadsheet and write full-fledged reviews of them. You can expect to see those on Saturdays! In the meantime, for the next few weeks, check in daily here for my quick insights on multicultural Golden Sowers. Near the end of April, I’ll give you a summary both of hits on Allison’s Book Bag and my research findings.

4 Responses to "A Reading Experiment"

Hey Allison. People are interested in other cultures. That’s why I wrote my book, now with an agent, the way I did. My novel highlights the life of one character from one culture (midwest girl raised on a dairy farm) and one from another culture (boy from India) …and alternates the chapters of their lives. At least I hope people are interested in learning about two cultures, side by side, the differences and similarities of two people with a similar heart.

My favorite read this year about other cultures is Heart of Samurai by Margi Preus. It is the fictionalized true story of how a Japanese teenage fisherman named Manjiro discovered America in 1841 and how as an adult he persuaded Japan to ease open its boundaries. Another overlooked gem that I reviewed here at Allison’s Book Bag is The Meerkat Wars by H.S. Toshack. It’s only indirectly about other cultures because it’s main characters are a house cat and the meerkats she meets, but one does learn a lot about South Africa’s landscape through its pages. Already through my current studies of multicultural Golden Sower nominees, I’m discovering some new books and authors that I like. So, I hope you keep returning to check out my posts.

All the best on your book! What’s the intended age group? How did you come about the two locations? I’m curious, partly because my hometown now is in the Midwest.

Thanks! From this experiment, I may also find out if I should write shorter or longer reviews. 🙂 My reviews for the next few weeks will be about the length of a teaser.

This sounds like a great project. I’m so looking forward to the new reviews!

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