75 years later, why is Goodnight Moon still coaxing so many children to sleep? | Today’s Business Unit

BU teachers say Margaret Wise Brown’s book, while heartwarming and beloved, should be added to a more diverse collection of children’s books

I’m not sure how good night moon Finish. Not because I’ve been reading children’s books for over 30 years (though that doesn’t help), but because almost every time my parents read it to me before bed, I fell asleep before I finished it.

This is not a jab at Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Heard’s book, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. If anything, it’s a testament to its power. good night moon It’s done its job for millions of parents and kids. Bedtime readings are still wildly popular. It has sold more than 40 million copies in the past seven years.

“This book is Designed Put your kids to sleep,” said Laura M. Jiménez, senior lecturer and associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion at Wheelock’s School of Education and Human Development. “It’s repetitive and has that quiet language that kids crave. It is very unique because it is not a literary work of plot and characters. It’s never been like this. ”

Published in 1947, good night moon Jimenez, who taught a children’s literature course, said it was a big departure from other children’s books of the time. Instead of retelling classic fables that morally ring home lessons, Brown focuses on the children’s own experiences.she wrote for them instead of about them.

“The reader is not the adult who reads it, but the child who is the listener or the reader, which is very different from many other books,” she said.

good night moon Takes readers through the bedtime routine of its protagonist, a bunny who says goodnight to the things in the room. An older rabbit, knitting in a rocking chair, is described only as a “quiet old lady” who remains in the background except for a whisper of “shhh”.

Except for the words “Good night, no one”, one page is blank. Opposite it, another page reads “Goodnight Mushy” under a bowl of oatmeal. (This is my favorite page.)

Although it was written for children, in part good night moon Sheila Cordner (GRS’13), senior lecturer at the School of General Studies, said it had such a lasting appeal to parents. To this day, the book remains a popular gift for baby showers and early birthdays, she said, because “it does a deep dive for kids before bedtime and it’s well done.

“It’s soothing and still imaginative,” said Cordner, who studies children’s literature and wrote one of his own: Who is hiding in this book?Meet ten authors (Pierce Press, 2019).

But still popular good night moon Nearly a century after its publication, Jimenez stopped. She believes that there are other books that should be placed next to the children’s library.

“As a children’s literature scholar – I specialize in the representation of marginalized identities – I see this and find that, 75 years later, we are still at a moment where more picture books represent anthropomorphic animals than minorities,” she said.

In 2019, the most recent year for which complete data are available, 29 percent of children’s books published in the U.S. feature animals as the main characters, according to the UW-Madison Libraries Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Diversity and demographics of children’s books in the United States. That same year, nearly 42 percent of books featured white people as their main characters. Only 12 percent of children’s books published that year featured black or African characters; 9 percent featured Asian or Asian-Americans; and 5 percent featured Latin characters.


I looked at this and found that 75 years later, we are still at a moment where more picture books represent anthropomorphic animals than minorities.

Laura Jiménez, Senior Lecturer, Wheelock School of Education and Human Development

“It worries me that it’s easier for us to connect and connect emotionally with a talking, well-groomed bunny than an African-American character,” Jiménez said.

She said reading books to children over and over again taught them not only what’s on the page, but also what to expect from the media and what a picture book deserves to belong. These lessons can continue into adulthood.

Cordner agreed, saying that in her course on childhood and children’s literature, every student remembers at least one book from their childhood.

“Typically, animals can be interesting substitutes for humans in children’s books, but it would be great to include a wider range of human characters in our children’s library,” she said. “Books can take advantage of children’s openness to other cultures and other ways of life because children have not yet developed prejudice and judgment.”

“It’s not about a book, it’s about the menu,” Jiménez said. “If a child has a variety of literature, that helps them a lot.”

So, in addition to picking up good night moon For the kids in your life, or as a gift for a new parent, here are some bedtime stories recommended by Jiménez and Cordner. Happy reading everyone, “Good Night Everywhere”.

  • hello lighthouse by Sophie Blacker
  • hair love Matthew A. Cherry
  • flashlight night Author: Matt Forrest Esenwan
  • sweet creature bedtime Nicky Grimes
  • Little Star’s Big Mooncake Grace Lin
  • Alma and how she got her name Juana Martinez-Neal
  • where are you from? Yamir Said Mendes
  • Sal blueberries Robert McCloskey
  • break the chicken David Ezra Stan
  • Everyone in the red brick building by Anne Winter

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