Abstract 1, Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 2016

Portrayals of the U.S. in Translated International Children’s Literature: A Cosmopolitan Perspective

Sue C. Kimmel

Old Dominion University

Danielle E. Forest

The University of Southern Mississippi

Yonghee Suh

Old Dominion University

Kasey L. Garrison

Charles Sturt University

This study reports on an inductive, qualitative content analysis exploring depictions of the United States and U.S. citizens in translated, international literature for children.  The sample included 18 titles recognized with the Batchelder Award or Honor, a recognition given to U.S. publishers who translate and publish outstanding children’s literature with international origins. The study was situated within the framework of cosmopolitanism, a theoretical perspective acknowledging the importance of local values, culture, and traditions while embracing the global and the unfamiliar.  Findings revealed depictions of the United States on the local level as a destination, refuge, and glamorized place of diversity.  On the global level, the United States was portrayed as a world power with regard to its military, economics, media, and culture. These findings promote perspective taking and critical literacy as they offer a window for U.S. students into how people from other nations perceive their country.

Key words: Cosmopolitanism, Translated Literature, Children’s Literature, Batchelder Award, Content Analysis, Global Education

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