CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) awarded the 2017 Frances Henne/YALSA/VOYA Research Grant to Sarah Evans. This $1,000 grant will provide seed money for her research project, “We Need Diverse Voices: Multicultural Adolescents Critically Analyzing Multicultural Picture Books.”
As the demand for culturally diverse children’s literature grows, so will the need to analyze books according to how authentically the representations are portrayed. Evans’ research not only works to address this issue, but also introduces and involves young adults in this analysis. Working with a local teen library council, Evans will ask teens to critically review picture books that match one, if not more, of the teen’s identities. After, the teens will meet and discuss their findings.
“The jury found Evans’ research to be timely and a step forward in the call for a diverse and representative body of literature,” said Jury Chairperson Kellie Tilton. “In addition, the jury was thrilled with the involvement of teens in this research project. Not only will the young adults involved bring unique perspectives to this analysis, but it will also allow them to think critically about the books they are analyzing and the diversity of the publishing landscape, in general.”
Evans is a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington in Learning Sciences and Human Development. She examines voluntary learning experiences that occur across time, in various settings, and within cultures. She also has a Masters of Library and Information Science degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama, both from the University of Washington, and an Elementary Education certificate from Western Washington University. She was honored to hear that her proposal was selected.
“YALSA’s vision includes creating learning opportunities for young adults that are tailored to the unique circumstances of the community and Evans’ research project puts this vision front and center,” said Tilton. “As this project also aligns closely with YALSA’s research agenda, the jury looks forward to the success of the project for both the teens involved and the community at large.”
The YALSA Frances Henne Award Jury members are: Chair Kellie Tilton, University of Cincinnati Blue Ash; Robert Bittner, Simon Fraser University; Jessica Schwartz, Louisville Public Library; Tiffany Nardella, Free Library of Philadelphia; and Amanda Waugh, University of Maryland.
The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.