Junko Yokota

Junko Yokota

From spoken language to print to digital creations -- the ways in which stories and information are shared with children have expanded exponentially over the centuries. For decades, printing technology generally limited children’s picture books to a 32-page format, and over the years the design of these books has continually evolved to what is now a meticulously conceptualized state that combines attention to aesthetic factors with theories of child reader response. But now, with the rise of digital books, the drama of the picture book page turn, even the action of holding the book and turning its pages are being transformed into reading experiences defined by time, not space, by horizontals with no gutter, by the swipe of a finger. What happens to the reading experience when this world of print books explodes into print and spoken word, image and moving image, silent text and musical sound track, story and game, nonfiction text and links of clustered information? What happens when a "book" is one kind of device for a reading teacher, another for parent, a third for the child-looking-for-a-game-to-play? What is gained, what is lost, what are we to watch out for? What complementary roles do each of these book formats play in the literacy and literary development of children from culturally and economically diverse backgrounds? Questions such as these address fundamental issues of what it means to become literate in this era of rapidly changing digital media and what implications these developments have for scholars of children's literature.

Junko Yokota is Professor of Reading and Language at the National College of Education of National-Louis University in Chicago, Illinois, and the Director of the Center for Teaching through Children's Books. Her topics center on issues of multicultural and international literature, the acquisition of literacy by students from culturally and economically diverse backgrounds, and improving literacy instruction through quality literature. Her publications include a coauthored college textbook in children's literature, Children's Books in Children's Hands, two columns that review children's books, as well as journal articles and book chapters in edited books. She is past president of the U.S. national section of the International Board on Books for Young People, and has served on numerous committees of the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. Dr. Yokota is a recipient of the Virginia Hamilton Award for Contribution to Multicultural Literature and of the Reading the World Award.

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