Portrayal of Latinos in young adult fiction

Citation data:

UNI ScholarWorks, University of Northern Iowa, Rod Library

Publication Year:
2013
Usage 533
Downloads 441
Abstract Views 92
Repository URL:
https://scholarworks.uni.edu/grp/20
Author(s):
Cole, Jennifer
Tags:
Hispanic Americans in literature; Young adult literature;
paper description
The purpose of this study was to establish criteria for rating Latino literature for cultural and literary quality and the existence of Latino stereotypes. This study determined the themes found in the young adult fiction selected and if those themes reflected positive character and cultural traits. The criteria gained through research can be used by teacher librarians to support and enhance the Latin collection in the Storm Lake Middle School library and others by creating guidelines literature should match. The questions asked in the study were: 1. What examples of Latino stereotyping are found in the Storm Lake collection and the Middle and Junior High School Core Collection? 2. What criteria should be used to identify quality Latino literature? A qualitative analysis of content was conducted. The researcher used the Middle and Junior High School Core Collection to locate 16 books within the Storm Lake Middle School collection to read for this study. The books were read and themes were recorded. The 14 themes were grouped together into five final themes: Authenticity of Culture, Engaging Reader, Positive Portrayal of Characters, Negative Portrayal of Characters, and Negative Portrayal of Main Character. The study found that some young adult fiction does contain male Latinos viewed in stereotypical roles. Nine of the 16 young adult novels showed males with stereotypical characteristics. Seven themes portray positive characteristics which should guide library selection decisions: Authentic Cultural Setting, Authentic Language, Rich Characterization, Positive Portrayal of Character, Positive Portrayal of Family, and Main Character Seen as a Survivor. Seven themes portrayed stereotypical characteristics that should be avoided in library selections: Fatherless Families, Low Income Families, Negative Portrayal of Father, Negative Portrayal of Mother, Main Character Member of a Gang, Main Character Abuses Drugs and/or Alcohol, and Main Character Poor in Academics.