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"I See Part of Me in This Book": Migrant Farmworkers Appraise Migrancy-Themed Picture Storybooks

Sun, April 15, 10:35am to 12:05pm, New York Marriott Marquis, Floor: Seventh Floor, Duffy


This presentation qualitatively examines how 23 recent and former migrant farmworkers responded to a nearly complete collection of migrancy-themed children’s picture storybooks (CPSBs). The accuracy, aesthetic appeal, emotional impact, and instructional value of over thirty books were assessed in extended semi-structured focus groups. Our results show that evocation of memories drove most participant responses. Memories of family togetherness, disorientation and isolation, and hard work in the fields provoked multiple profound connections. However, misrepresentations in the books incited equally heartfelt anger. Our findings demonstrate that authentic insiders sometimes reinforce the perspectives of critical scholars who have not ‘walked the walk’–but often their voices provide new insights into successes and failures of authors and illustrators attempting to depict their worlds.


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