Based on an ethnographic study in an urban classroom of seven to nine-year-olds, this work examines how young school children use popular culture, especially superhero stories, in the unofficial peer social world and in the official school literary curriculum. In one sense, this work is about children "writing superheroes" - about children appropriating superhero stories in their fiction writing and dramatic play on the playground and in the classroom. These stories offer children identities as powerful people who do battle against evil and win. The stories, however, also reveal limiting ideological assumptions about relations between people - boys and girls, adults and children, people of varied heritages, physical demeanours and social classes. The book, then, is about children as "writing superheroes". With the assistance of their teacher, the observed children became superheroes of another sort, able to take on powerful cultural storylines. In this book, Anne Dyson examines how the children's interest in and conflicts about commercial culture give rise to both literacy and social learning, including learning how to participate in a community of differences.
Publisher: Teachers' College Press