International Children's Literature & Librarianship (Denmark) | Kent State University

International Children's Literature & Librarianship (Denmark)

A cohort of graduate and undergraduate students from CCI’s School of Information (iSchool) spent two weeks in Denmark with Professor Marianne Martens studying international cultural production for children, particularly in the context of children’s literature and librarianship.  

Using Denmark as a case study to examine the cultural construction of “childhood,” students conducted inquiries on a range of questions, including “What does it mean to be a child?”, “What is appropriate for children?”, “Do children need protected?  From what?”, “Of what are children capable?”, and “What issues are faced by professionals working with children?”  Students sought to answer these questions through hands-on cultural experiences including visits to libraries, schools, museums and other cultural institutions, as well as dialogues with Danish LIS professors, librarians, educators, politicians, Ministry of Culture staff, graphic storytellers, and book publishers.  Drawing on knowledge and experience gained from her time in Denmark, program participant Kelly Baldwin, a non-degree graduate student in the School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies (TLC) and a lead teacher at Kent State’s Child Development Center,  wrote an article titled “The Power of Using International Picture Books with Young Children," which was accepted for publication by the National Association for the Education of Young Children in their peer-reviewed professional journal Young Children.

"Studying in Denmark provided me with a context for thinking critically about the social construction of childhood, cultural production for children, and the roles of adults in young peoples’ lives.  Working to understand aspects of Danish culture also shed light on my own cultural experiences, helping to bring to the fore the cultural norms, values, and beliefs that dominant my own home cultural context.  Making comparisons between the two contexts gave me a meaningful position from which to ground my research,” Baldwin said.