deborah: Kirkus Reviews: OM NOM NOM BRAINS (kirkus)
deborah ([personal profile] deborah) wrote2016-09-24 09:49 pm

Syllabus and stats

I've updated the online reading list for my Fantasy and Science Fiction class at the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College.

Some random statistics might be interesting. I kept track of them for my own purposes, and then I had too much fun with pivot tables, so I'm sharing some of my results. Keep in mind these are often guesses on my part, because I only needed rough numbers, and I could be wrong.
  • 42 books assigned to be read by all the students
  • 33 white authors, 9 authors of color, 2 authors who are native or indigenous
  • 2 disabled authors, but I only noted that where it's relevant for the work; there may well be more
  • 1 Muslim and 2 Jewish authors, but same as above vis-à-vis relevance

The total number of protagonists adds up to more than 42 because some books have more than one, and most of these are done from memory so I could be remembering some wrong, but I have, for main or point-of-view characters:

  • 21 white
  • 15 characters of color, though one of them is in a pretty racist story
  • 2 native or indigenous
  • 4 without human protagonists
  • 1 Muslim, 2 Jewish
  • 2 disabled protagonists
  • Out of 24 books where sexuality is a thing, 21 protagonists exhibit opposite sex sexuality / straight-appearing, and 3 are queer. Two books had queer secondary characters. All main characters are presumed cisgender; one secondary character is trans. Bisexuality appears multiple times.

Other random stats:

  • The earliest book is from 1953, and the most recent is from 2016; the mean year of publication is 1998.
  • The most frequent publisher is Harper (in various incarnations) with 7 books, followed by 4 books from Atheneum. I'm rather pleased by the two books from, ahem, Tu Books; since Tu's entire list is only 25 books (including several sequels), having 2/42 books on my list from them is a sign of how quickly they've become important. Other publishers that interested me were the one each from Jump at the Sun, First Second, and Marvel.
  • There are 4 graphic novels.
  • There are 7 books that have movie adaptations, counting one where the movie's not yet in production. (I only counted theater versions, though the picture books often have short straight-to-video recordings.)
  • The book for the youngest readers contains only five words. The books for oldest readers are still clearly YA; there's books with a reasonable crossover audience but nothing that would be marketed as "New Adult." The arguable exception is the sole superhero comic; the marketing of those is complicated.

I'm not going to do a breakdown of fantasy vs. science fiction, because that's one of the points of the class.