College of Education > News and Publications > News: Oct. - Dec. 2011 > Yenika-Agbaw and Napoli Release New Book on Africana Literature and Cultures

Yenika-Agbaw and Napoli Release New Book on Africana Literature and Cultures

"African and African American Children's and Adolescent Literature in the Classroom" has been released.

by Joe Savrock (October 2011)

Two Penn State faculty members are co-editors of a newly released book that addresses multicultural issues in children's and adolescent literature, particularly as it relates to African and African American cultures.

Vivian Yenika-Agbaw, associate professor of language and literacy education at University Park, and Mary Napoli, associate professor of education and reading at Penn State Harrisburg, have assembled African and African American Children's and Adolescent Literature in the Classroom: A Critical Guide (Peter Lang Publishers, 2011).

The book is a comprehensive collection of essays that challenge current understanding of what multicultural texts really are in an age of globalization. These essays illustrate multicultural literature's power to educate young readers about the numerous and varied perspectives on their own cultures and roles in society, as well as those of other cultures. The scholarship presented in the book suggests that not only should multicultural literature be integrated within the school curriculum, but that it can be examined to reveal subtle cultural nuances that show how cultures, customs, and people may be at once similar and different.

Yenika-Agbaw and Napoli both contributed chapters to the book. Yenika-Agbaw’s chapter, “Disability in Africana Adolescent Literature,” discusses representations of children with disabilities in African and African American adolescent novels. Napoli, in her chapter titled “Powerful Words: Celebrating Poetry with Young Children,” looks at how African and African American poetry can enrich the lives of young children.

The book is part of Peter Lang’s Black Studies and Critical Thinking interdisciplinary series, which examines the intellectual traditions of and cultural contributions made by people of African descent throughout the world.