This chapter focuses on historical, social, and political influences on children’s literature, including contemporary influences related to digital and technological advances. One key aspect of contemporary children’s literature is the inclusion of multiple modes, or ways of communicating. This chapter discusses how teachers can utilize multimodal children’s literature by inviting students to engage in arts-based responses that draw from visual and performing arts that are essential in teaching language arts skills and standards in elementary classrooms.

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, readers will be able to

  1. think critically about children’s literature, from the 17th century up to the digital age;
  2. analyze ways children’s books are culturally produced and how they influence readers;
  3. explain the importance of incorporating literature and literature responses that allow for multiple ways of understanding and communicating, including through audio (sound and music), gesture and space (drama and dance), and visual messages (visual art);
  4. discuss and plan arts-based responses to children’s literature.