From the dazzling cover by David Diaz, to the general and detailed tables of contents, the fascinating side-bars, the up-to-date bibliographies, and especially the clear expression of ideas, almost always in connection to specific books and real children, this book will inspire and delight all who teach children's literature or who work with children and their books. Dresang's theory of Radical Change describes the changes that have proliferated in books for youth in response to the changes in society brought about by television and computers. Dresang identifies three categories of Radical Change: changing forms and formats, changing perspectives, and changing boundaries. Underlying her perspectives on all of these changes are the following assumptions: (1) Children are capable and seeking connection, (2) The digital environment nurtures children's capabilities, (3) Handheld books offer digital age connections, and (4) Adults and youth are partners in the digital world. Just as Galileo's telescope in Peter Sis's The Starry Messenger (a book that represents all three types of Radical Change) opened up new vistas and led to new theories of the order of the universe, Dresang's theory of Radical Change provides a tool that enables the reader to see new patterns and a bright future in literature for young people. Dresang's work holds out the welcome possibility that rather than living in a post-literate age, we may be entering a time of more complex and higher literacy, a radically changed literacy.
School Library Journal
Dresang discusses more than 200 excellent, provocative books with which children's librarians and teachers would do well to be acquainted. They range from picture books to YA fiction, from informational nonfiction to poetry. Many of the titles are challenging, either because of their structure or because of their subject matter. They push at many boundaries. Their formats may be nonlinear or different points of view may receive simultaneous graphic expression on a single page. Their plots may be open to different resolutions, depending on decisions readers make while perusing the pages. The authors and illustrators sometimes court ambiguity. Many of the books treat topics such as violence, bigotry, suicide, chronic illness, and prejudice. It's great to have a list of so many stimulating books. What Dresang does not wholly convince readers of is that these books have anything in common or how they fit into the construct of what she calls "Radical Change." No matter. What she has provided is a valuable overview of the recent evolution of children's literature and a wonderful resource list of what the author calls "handheld books" that readers will find themselves turning to repeatedly. If the book leads them to examine these titles and to use them with kids, that is, in itself, enough to recommend it.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Proposing a conceptual framework for evaluating "hand-held" books, Dresang (information studies, Florida State U.) explains how books are changing along with developments in digital information and how librarians, teachers, and parents can recognize and use books to create connections for and among young people using digital concepts and designs that emphasize multilayered, nonlinear stories and information. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.