12/29/11

Managing Stress in the workplace


DISCUSS TOPIC:
Stress in the workplace is a major problem. What are some reasons why stress is increasing in the workplace?

Layoffs:
In today’s working class is struggling to find and keep work. With unemployment reaching 10% Americans need jobs. The tough economy is then in turn demands companies make cuts to stay in the black. This causes great stress on the work and their position is valued. It is their lively hood and how they provide for their family. Many positions are getting cut and employees are left jobless.

Managers might not have any choice in this season, as funds are limited. At the same time managers could, look into other areas that they could cut to keep employees in their positions. Consider how companies could cut a great bit of overhead by shifting many employees to work from off site locations. Years ago this option seemed a bit more difficult, but with high-speed Internet and computer technology working in a virtual environment is pretty seamless. Dollars saved in overhead could be applied to wages and give the company a new virtual edge.

Lack of Compensation:
Today’s employees are very frustrated with their wages. As the prices of goods and services have continued to rise, the wage of the worker has remained pretty much the same. Many employees today are not receiving the bonuses; health benefits, retirement plans and annual raises that were once considered common place in any position. In fact employees are seeing that their marginal raises barely cover inflation of goods from year to year.

The truth of the matter is that the rate of compensation is rising slower than the rate if inflation. Mangers may not have the funds to financially compensate their employees, but they can still compensate them. Insensitive programs, lottery pools, verbal affirmation, special recognition and contests are just a few things a manager could put into place to try to help employees feel valued, when the wage is not enough.

Raising Expectation: In an 8 hour workday, which is an hour longer than it was 50 years ago, the expectation of higher production is continually on the backs of employees. Technology has spoiled the work environment with instant results. An employee has the information at their fingertips. The expectation has followed technology as employers expect employees to produce significantly more with continual growth. Also, there is now the instant availability and employees can never get away from work. They are taking phone calls, emails, and working round the clock.

While pushing productivity is important to business growth it is important for managers to see their employees as humans, not machines. Setting goals is important, and pushes employees to work hard. At the same time to continually raise the bar will eventually burn out employees. Managers need to keep a healthy balance in mind and compensate long days and long hours. Some managers may even celebrate a the tough season in the slow season and take staff on trips, or have office parties. This is also a way to recognize the hard work and effort.

Resources:
AIO Classroom, Organizational Psychology | PS4010 XB. Week 6 Web. 21 September 2011.

Bunner, B. (n.d). Discussion about Modern Management. Warehouse Manager.
Interview. 22 September 2011.

Managment and Change


DISCUSS TOPIC:
Change is difficult for everyone because it is often seen as threatening. Give specific reasons why change and willingness to be flexible are important to modern management. Use outside references and the readings to support your argument.

Higher efficiency: New systems are continually being implement to streamline production and create greater efficiency. Many companies are learning the value of new management systems that help manage time, projects and people. Sigma 6 is one of the many that helped revolutionize GE and had become one of the major systems that larger companies implement. 

Competition: As businesses progress and companies move forward change is necessary to keep a competitive edge. If management is unmovable and set in their ways the company will miss the needs of their target market. Consider how landline companies had to switch their direction to stay in the market. ATT now offers Internet, cable, and wireless devices. Cable TV had to push their technologies forward as well too. And cell phones change almost on a weekly basis.

New information and technology: Every company is implementing new technology continually. One of the greatest new pieces many companies have added to there systems is the ipad. Implementing this new device has streamlined efficiently and communication greatly. Also considering how smart phones are essential to today’s businessperson. Their calendars, contacts, presentations and more are all so much easier to access with advancing devices.

Mergers and Takeover: Companies these days are merging and switching full management systems. If you were unable to flexible and move with the change you would be lost in the changes. From banks, grocery stores, automotive companies, and even advertising agencies all are experiencing mergers and takeovers. Managers must be willing to implement new systems and to meet the needs of the new and or adjusted department.

Resources:
AIO Classroom, Organizational Psychology | PS4010 XB. Week 6 Web. 21 September 2011.

Bunner, B. (n.d). Discussion about Modern Management. Warehouse Manager.
Interview. 22 September 2011.

Challenges with Direct Mail


Direct mail first off has very low return rate. “For a targeted direct mail campaign, you should see an average response rate of 2-5%” (Direct Mail Response Rate Tips, 2011). This means for 5000 Pieces were sent out a 2% response would mean 100 responses. In my opinion this is very low. Considering the cost clients with a low budget may want to consider a different approach, as the amount need to invest is rather significant for a reasonable response. The price invested is in production of the mailer piece as well as the posting. Also if there is a promotional offer or gift that can be redeemed, that is an added expences. The key question is how to make the response rate higher?
A very competitive offer is a good place to start. It is a sad but true fact that people are not very interested unless they are getting something out of the piece. The direct mail piece needs to grab the audience’s attention and call them to action. For me personally I end up handing most direct mail pieces to my 3-year-old daughter. She likes the color, images, and it keeps her entertained for about 4 minutes. Unless they have a great offer, or something that strikes me, (grabbing my attention) the piece will end up in her little hands.  Even if the mailer is to inform people about an upcoming event, sale, or promotion there needs to a reason to motivate the viewer to take action. Coupons and money saving offers are a great place to start.
Another vital part of direct mail is making sure the contact information is available. Yes, we know pretty much anyone can jump online and do a few searches and figure it out, but why add the extra challenge? Contact information is essential to an effective call to action. Taking this a step further is making sure there is a web addresses and social media. The web is the modern day yellow pages. You could take it one step further and add a QR code for those with a smart phone that want to play with this fad.
Urgency is another essential aspect to add to a direct mailer. If there is no sense of urgency, the mailer is likely to be filed away never to be seen again or the packrat individual will show up with your mailer 3 years later and be annoyed that you are no longer extending the offer. Making the mailer urgent also adds a sense of excitement, and a call to action now. For example, “This weekend Grand Opening! FREE fuel card to the first 50 shoppers!” This means if you want some free gas, you need to get there first.
These of course are the basic essential elements for successful direct mailers. Keep in mind also getting an accurate target mailing list is also helpful. For example I have a client that does mailers for his automotive repair shop. He buys a mailing list for all German automobile owners in a surrounding 100-mile radius. This focuses his advertising to the local area and individual that would be interested in his specific services. Also he always gives money saving offers.




Works Cited:
Birchell, MaKenzie. "4 Big Direct Mail Mistakes | Bluewater Blog." Integrated Direct Marketing Solution - Bluewater. Web. 27 Sept. 2011. .
"Direct Mail Response Rate Tips." Small Business Marketing Tips. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. .

Effective Direct Mailer Concepts


DISCUSS TOPIC:
Will your direct mail campaign be viewed as just another piece of junk mail? Discuss some of the strategies learned from your reading as well as ideas you've developed that could save a direct mail campaign from being automatically tossed in the trash.

Overview:
The stats are against direct mail especially if an organization is not able to afford the volume to get the low rate of return to show the needed numbers. This means some creative ideas are in order to generate a better return and get the public to delay disposal of the direct mail piece.


1. Using the Famous:
The first idea is to locate some sharp looking celebrities with great teeth, probably some one on the red carpet looking very glamorous. The concept is that “You don’t have to be a celebrity to have a nice smile…” Images could be located on http://www.shutterstock.com and as long as the printed number was less then 250,000 the price for the photography would be rather affordable. To make this concept successful the celebrity would need to be a more popular one. Kids might connect with Justin Bieber, while generation-X might be drawn more to Megan Fox, or Ryan Reynolds. My wife claims women of all ages like George Clooney. The bottom line to this concept is that people would see the celebrity and think of this glorified individual. We would play on their emotions as we are saying the dental care will make them one step closer to this ‘godlike’ individual. Think of how teens have posters of these individuals plastered across their bedrooms. Using a popular celebrity face would defiantly slow the trip to the trash.

2. Special Offer:
My gut reaction is a special offer will always get someone in the door or at least delay throwing away the promotional. But as dental offices are giving away free whitening, cleanings, and x-rays like it is going out of style, one would think that there would never be anyone missing dental care or not establishing a dental home.

This offers have almost given ruined the public for direct mail as there is always a catch. My wife for example went for her free exam and the dentist claimed to find 6 cavities and wanted $2500. Funny she had never had a cavity before in her life.

The offer would need to be clear and not have hidden addenda.  For me I would like to know that I could get in the door and out with the service without getting hammered with a bill. “A free first visit” might be in order. The service and experience would key to retain the client and make them want to return. Also booking the follow up in 6 months would need to happen to help establish the relationship and dental home.

3. Stuff For Kids:
Kids love to get stuff in the mail. If the mailer was directed at children it might prove to stay in the home out of the trash for the longest amount of time. I would consider some type of folded piece that has stickers and was a chart that children could place by their toothbrush, or even hold the toothbrush. They could track their brushing, and flossing and it would help count down to the next dental appointment. This would help remind the child of their next dental visit and they would be excited as the completed chart could offer some “great prize” for healthy brushing habits.

Conclusion:
I think a combination of all of these concepts would be the best solution. Marketing should be directed at the children. The piece should be some type of thing that helps them remember to brush and practice good dental habits. If the piece showed a good track record the child would get a prize and free dental cleaning this would be Incentive for the child and parents both. Taking this one step further finding a relatively inexpensive character to help endorse the promotion would be the best touch, but could be costly. Most cartoon characters are branded with copyright. It might almost be easier to develop a new character, but that removes the “I know them” concept from the piece. For example, if my daughter got a piece in the mail with Dora, or Elmo on it saying to brush her teeth, she would be more drawn to the piece than if a everyday cartoon dog was on the piece. This being the case still combining the concepts would aid in creating a solid piece that would offer great motivation to both child and parent.

Pros and Cons of Branding


Branding may hurt or help a nonprofit organization in marketing pieces. Many nonprofit organizations do not have the dollars to create and support a strong use of their branding. Organizations tie up dollars more in operations and fulfillment and therefore have no funds left to put toward the image or branding of their association. This can be good in as it shows people that are donating to the organization that the support is needed and necessary for the future existence. Many companies also might prefer a weaker branded organization that might let their company shine through with great support. Bottom line with poorly branded nonprofit organizations there is some positive depending on the view of the individual. It mainly shows that the organization is struggling and needs help. Some might find that appealing, others may see that as a red flag and take their support elsewhere.

Stronger and more established branding in contrast could be seen as a good thing to many companies. Many companies that want to support a nonprofit want to know their dollars are going to a legit organization that is growing and going to be around for years to come. Having strong branding established helps both supporters and users of the service to know the nonprofit is established and is not going to fall apart in the coming months. Their investment and use of the service is going to be for the “long hall” and not be a wasted investment. They also see the dollars are being use and moving the organization forward and are glad to have their name associated with the success and being part of it.

Taking this a step further, depending on the public’s view of  an organization, if it is involved in a marketing piece it could discourage involvement of some parties. For example, I think of how some conservatives do not like to have anything to do with the Planned Parenthood organization as they perform abortions. Having the Planned Parenthood branding on apiece may strike some individuals to not even take a look at what the piece is trying to communicate. Branding a piece that has nothing to do with abortion but might be loosely tied to Planned Parenthood could make the piece very unsuccessful, depending on the market receiving the pieces.

On a more personal level I recently had a client that wanted nothing to do with a promotional book I was working on cause it was involved with and had a page branded for the Red Cross. For some reason the client wanted nothing to do with this organization and refused to participate.

Resources:
AIO Classroom, Advanced Computer Graphics | GDE406 P04. Week 3, Web. 10 October 2011.

"Marketing a Non-Profit Brand." Ries' Pieces. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. .

"Nonprofit Branding: Unveiling the Essentials." GuideStar Nonprofit Reports and Forms 990 for Donors, Grantmakers and Businesses. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. .

Bluebeard - Points of view.


In the 1697 story ‘Bluebeard’, written by Charles Perrault, a story is painted of a very wealthy man that is considered terribly ugly because of his blue beard. He was so ugly and frightening women would actually run from him. In addition to his horrible looks there were rumors that he had been married many times previous, and nobody knew what had happened to his wives.

He desired one of his neighbor’s two beautiful daughters, but neither wanted him. To win affection he threw a party at his home and had several girls over for a week of all kinds of fun. His efforts were not in vain as the youngest of the girls began to see him differently. They were soon married and shortly after Bluebeard was called away for a trip.

He gave his new bride free reign of the house, handing her keys to everything and granting her permission to go anywhere, except for one closet. She promised and he went away. She then quickly threw a large party while he was gone and became very curious about the forbidden closet. She opened it and found it full of dead women.

Bluebeard, returned home and found out what happened he set out to kill her. She was granted a short bit of time before she was to be slain, in which she contacted her brothers who came and killed Bluebeard seconds before he was going to slay his disobedient wife.

While the morals written by Charles Perrault talk about regret from entertaining curiosity and perusing disobedience, the article written by Ginette Vincendeau reflects much deeper ideas and interpretations. He admits that there is the aspect of addressing the caution against curiosity, but he also goes much deeper, even to suggest, “It is a parable on the dangers of sex for girls” (Vincedeau, 2010).

Another aspect he suggests is that it is a glimpse of the story of Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Consider how she had free reign of the garden, and was only instructed not to eat from one tree. This is a great parallel, until we see the girl’s brothers kill Bluebeard. If Bluebeard were personifying the role of God, the comparison does not really work.

He also discusses that others have a view of the story showing a close relationship to that of a victim and their assassin, the sexual power struggle of men against the emerging sexuality of females and even a relationship to death in childbirth.

Regardless of the message the underlying story is terrifying. Women identify with the joy and freedom the new bride experiences with the sharp contrast of fear as she realizes whom she is really married to. We could consider the simple phrase, “ignorance is bliss”, as she was happy until she knew the truth. The truth is the women were killed previous to her developing the relationship. The only thing that had changed was her perspective. And that is what this story is really about, perspective.


Works Cited:

Perrault, Charles. “Blue Beard.” Contemania.com - Contes, Fables, Histoires, Comptines - Texte Int├ęgral Gratuit. Web. 12 Nov. 2011. .

Vincendeau, Ginette. "Bluebeard." Sight & Sound Aug. 2010: 50-51. Wilson Web. Web. 12 Nov. 2011.

Serious, Nonsense, the Best of Both.

Defining children’s literature may seem like a simple task when the thoughts of picture books, phonics builders, fairytales, and the like at a primitive comprehensive reading level. Children’s literature seems to really boil down into two main categories. Children’s stories have always been used to help teach, educate, train and even entertain children with fundamental principles that will help move them forward in their culture. As stories have evolved through the ages, we see the extremes of structured principles, nonsense and an approach that shows a balance of both extremes.
Aesop’s fables, while rather simple short stories, were entertaining illustrations for teaching principles. Consider these allegorical writings with their simple lessons. We see these simple teachings in fables like; The Crow and the Pitcher, and learning the principle of innovation; The Fox and the Grapes, which gives insight to dealing with disappointments; and the classic lesson of “Slow but steady wins the race” in The Hare and the Tortoise (Aesop, 2007). The fables are short entertaining and give children a unique life lesson. These stories also show fundamental characteristics in the characters in each story. Consider the fast hare, or slow tortoise. The stories also were more geared around the outcome or lesson for the audience. The more serious, and lessons of cause and effect in many cases revealed disappointment for the characters developed.          
A completely different approach with children’s literature would be The Owl and the Pussy-cat, by Edward Lear. While some may question Lear’s value in pushing fundamental principles in culture, he may have actually touched on one of the most important values children need to consider. He has earned the title, “an unrivaled master of nonsense verse” (Stahl, 2007). Lear revels the value of fun, silliness and wonder that often is discouraged in childhood. He helps remind kids to be kids and not grow up too fast. His stories of nonsense that talk about a women with a long “wonderful nose”, or the man with all kinds of birds nesting in his beard, and the owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful pea-green boat,” create more of a dreamlike story where anything is possible (Lear, 2007).  Silly rhymes and concepts paint a creative picture in the minds of his audience as he fills their thoughts with silly creative images.
Shel Silverstein takes the principles of both lesson, and nonsense then unifies them in a very unique piece called; Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out. This ingenious fusion of the entertaining foolishness that children love, and the very simple moral or lesson, is a great merging of the two approaches. I enjoy most the climax of the story where the character finally says, “ ‘OK, I’ll take the garbage out!’ But the of course it was too late… The garbage reached across the state,” (Silverstein, 2007). The phrase paints a very vivid image and is so witty in the rhyme scheme that it just makes one smile. The story builds so nice and the lesson is clear as day, don’t procrastinate.
Children’s literature is most difficult to break down into categories with its many avenues, themes, styles, reading levels and so on. The evolving art of writing children’s literature has does have two drastically different approaches used to reflect the values of its culture. We see in early works like Aesop’s Fables that while the entertaining factor was present that the lesson was serious giving opportunity for many different avenues of application. As time moves forward culture saw the value in fun foolish gibberish in many of the creative silly tales of Edward Lear. Both have value and both are still valid approaches seen in children’s literature today. But we also see how well these two approaches work when they are fused together like in the stories written by Shel Silverstein. Keeping things light, silly and entertain, and yet giving children a simple lesson makes shows the influence of two great approaches.

Works Cited:

Aesop. "Aesop's Fables." Crosscurrents of Children's Literature: An Anthology of Texts and Criticism. 1st ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. 335-36. Print.
Lear, Edward. "Edward Lear (1812-88)." Crosscurrents of Children's Literature: An Anthology of Texts and Criticism. 1st ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. 312-13. Print.
Silverstein, Shel. "Shel Silverstein (1932-99)." Crosscurrents of Children's Literature: An Anthology of Texts and Criticism. 1st ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. 316. Print.
Stahl, J. D., Tina L. Hanlon, and Elizabeth Lennox Keyser. Crosscurrents of Children's Literature: an Anthology of Texts and Criticism. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.

Achieving Authenticity in Childrens Literature


DISCUSS TOPIC:
Authenticity of voice is often a topic analyzed in literature. Considering key elements of the character’s identity, such as race, class, gender, or regionalism, how can a writer portray characters which are different from the writer’s own and still achieve authenticity?
 

While there is a great bit of children’s literature that is story telling, many pieces involve an author placing themselves in different roles in the characters of their stories. The writer of today is called to address many topics and issues that they may never have experienced personally. Consider the topics of abuse, divorce, sexuality, and social issues children of today face. Consider how many others use personification and take on the character of an animal. Taking this even a step further an author may develop characters that come from a completely different background then their own. In considering the contrast of race, gender, wealth, and even culture and geological location, many might question how the author keeps the character believable and well developed.

A key component involved in a genuine character for any author would be research. The author need to delved into the situation, life, culture, values, and find as many characteristics to build and develop an authentic character. This is much easier today than many years ago with the convince of technology, and travel. The world that was once so vast keeps getting smaller and smaller with people traveling and visiting all over. Developing a realistic character not only provides authentic characterization for the reader, but also reaffirms and educates the reader about other issues they might not be as familiar with.

Once an author has found several key examples to pattern a character from they then need to delve in with empathy. They need to consider their background, heritage, hurts, joys and what has shaped them into the character they are. With empathy and careful consideration the character will be understood by the author who can then develop an authentic character that is contrary to their won life experience.


Resources:
AIO Classroom, Children's Literature | ENG4010 P01. Week 3, Web. 19 November 2011.


Childrens Literature Non-Fiction

Non-fiction children’s literature is produced in several different formats. From very simple picture books, watered down reproductions of classic documents, how-to manuals and even expository text, children’s non-fiction literature encompasses a very large variety of topics. In reviewing many different books about animals, history and architecture, to very simple concepts like shapes and colors. These non-fiction children’s books bring information to children in a format that children can be drawn in and digest.
With such a large variety of texts in this genre, this paper will specifically look at the category of animals and examine and contrast the different reading levels and content provided by several popular publishers. It is apparent that some publishers are better than others as they provide an over all better product with greater aesthetic appeal. As society moves forward we see new and innovative publishers taking the place of those we at one time considered to have the corner of their market.
  With children’s literature targeting a wide range of reading levels one of the main things I found in my research is that there is a wide range of books available. In discussing this with the librarian she pointed out that children start pulling these books out for book reports as early as second grade. Some children need simple facts, while older children are looking for greater details. Even beyond research some children are drawn to certain animals and earnestly research for their own recreation. With this in mind I found a wide range of books in the category.
A Scholastic book, by Ann O. Squire, “A True Book Tigers”, seemed to be more of a middle ground compared to the other books in this section. The photography was not as clear, and the books design allowed for smaller photos and larger sections of text. The design and color scheme seemed a bit dated as well and did not make book exceptionally appealing when compared to others in its section. Other books that fell in this group were Xavier Niz’s, “Elephants”, and even “Hippopotamus” by Patricia Whitehouse. Whitehouse took a slightly different approach as they pose questions at the beginning of each section and used the text to answer the question. Questions like, “What do hippos look like?”, “Where do hippos live?”, and “How are hippos special?” are covered in this book (Whitehouse, 2003).
Other books like “Amazing Animals Orangutans”, seems to have more information begin to prepare the reader for digesting more text and content about the topic. This book chooses to use nice large photos to relate to the text, but other books like Gorillas, by Gail Gibbons use a more illustrative approach. Gibbons book is full of loose watercolor and ink illustrations, yet has many facts that you would not expect to find in a more expressive piece like, “Gorillas never use a newt more than once”, and “Gorillas rarely drink water because of the plants they eat are juicy” (Gibbons, 2010).
The Pebble Plus books appear to have a superior aesthetic to the others.  In reviewing the “Manatees” book by Jody Rake and “Giraffes”, by Catherine Ipcizade I was exceptionally impressed. Considering the elements of large vibrant photographs, simple yet informative text, and consistent format, the young readers are given a clean and informative experience. The wealth of information, is well-organized, very easy follow and to understand. 
With children’s non-fiction literature, the options seem endless. One of the great ways to sift threw the many texts and find the exceptional pieces are identifying publisher series. I personally was most impressed with the Pebble Plus publications as they were so well done. The consistency from one book to the next was also very reassuring.  Even in comparing well-known publications like Scholastic, Pebble Plus just seemed to be more direct. I believe this is partly in part to they way this genera has evolved. Pebble Plus is more of an up and coming publisher while Scholastic was more popular when I was a child. We see the progression and how the new publishers have a fresh and contemporary piece. As non-fiction literature moves forward I believe we will continue to see the content to be more concise and the photograph quality continue to improve.













Works Cited:

Gibbons, Gail. Gorillas. New York: Holiday House, 2010. Print.

Ipcizade, Catherine. Giraffes. Mankato, MN: Capstone, 2008. Print.

Kueffner, Sue. Orangutans. Pleasantville, NY: Gareth Stevens Pub., 2009. Print.

Niz, Xavier. Elephants. Mankato, MN: Capstone, 2005. Print.

Rabe, Tish, and Jim Durk. Is a Camel a Mammal? New York: Random House, 1998. Print.

Rake, Jody Sullivan. Manatees. Mankato, MN: Capstone, 2007. Print.

Squire, Ann. Tigers. New York: Children's, 2005. Print.

Whitehouse, Patricia. Hippopotamus. Chicago, IL: Heinemann Library, 2003. Print.

What About Young Adult Literature?


A plethora of options for reading seems to have always existed for both children and adults alike. The large children’s section of libraries and bookstore are filled with picture books for the emerging readers. The adult section filled with its fiction, self-help, biographies, autobiographies, and other non-fiction texts seem to be the grander part of every bookstore or library. Where does literature for young adults fit in between the childish and mature? “Young adult literature is often thought of as a great abyss between the wonderfully exciting and engaging materials for children and those for adults” (Vandergrift, 2011).

Pre-teens have it pretty rough. They are going through so many changes so quickly. In addition finding literature that is interesting enough, and digestible for their reading level. Young adults want to find text that engages them at their crossroads in life. They want a read that reflects their hopes, dreams and struggles in life. Today’s growth in adult literature “not only their needs but also their interests, the literature becomes a powerful inducement for them to read, another compelling reason to value it, especially at a time when adolescent literacy has become a critically important issue” (Cart, 2008).

Building a large selection of literary pieces for this group helps address the motivational issue of getting young adults to make reading a priority. It then, “provides a medium through which adolescents and their teachers can raise "hot topics," and confront and grapple with the social contradictions and complexities that comprise adolescents' lives” (Groenke, 2011).

Today’s teens have a much better selection than those seeking this scope of literature 20 years ago. Today, “a wealth of fiction created especially for teens that deals with the possibilities and problems of contemporary life as experienced by this age group” (Vandergrift, 2011). This not only has given this group more options for recreational reading, but greater opportunity for self-discovery. “Through story a reader can confirm one's own life experiences” (Vandergrift, 2011). In being a bystander witnessing characters deal with life issues, emotions, and situations, young readers gain great insight in healthy and appropriate responses to their daily issues as well. “This tension is evident in everyday life but revealed most fully in story” (Vandergrift, 2011). By offering a greater base of options to this young adult target group, society is not only providing engaging literature, but also providing an opportunity for maturity and self-discovery.

Works Cited:

Cart, Michael. "The Value of Young Adult Literature | Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)." ALA | Home - American Library Association. Jan. 2008. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .

Groenke, Susan, Joellen Maples, and Jill Henderson. "Raising "Hot Topics" through Young Adult Literature." Voices from the Middle 17 (2010): 29-26. Web. 26 Nov. 2011.

Vandergrift, Kay E. "Vandergrift's YA Literature Page." Home - School of Communication and Information - Rutgers University. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .

Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day...


Favorite Picture Book and Other Matters of Aesthetics
One of my all-time favorite books is a complete masterpiece by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz. The duo of Viorst writer and Cruz illustrator in, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, has always been a favorite of mine. The team of writer and illustrator were able to really find common ground in the storytelling and creating very convincing imagery.  The book and its text and illustrations work hand in hand to express a very entertaining and engaging story.
This incredible story details a disheartening day of a young boy name, Alexander.  His day is an account of hi one problem and disappointment after another. It has always been a fun read for me as a child and adult alike. I found as a child, I was able to identify how the little things that happened in the day would pile up and make the whole day seem bad. As an adult I can identify with the “When it rains it pours” complex we get into as people and love the expressions that the illustrator has created for Alexander. Ray Cruz must have had many children he referenced as he was working on this piece, as his illustrations are spot on. 
The book not only is very accurate in the perspective of a young boy may have, the illustrations are very expressive as well. The illustrator has chose to work in a black pen and use hatching and some pointillism to create detail and shadow in the imagery. While some might find the lack of color disappointing, I think it is another element to push the dynamic of the book as each vignette has rich detail of texture, and adds to the dramatic expressions of the character. The images are incredibly detailed and show very accurate gestures and expressions that go hand in hand with the storyline.
In my opinion one of the best lines from the book is toward the end where Alexander comments on dinner then the kissing he saw on TV. The simple phrasing any young boy can identify with, and every parent has heard. Then the complement of the illustration is priceless. The wild hair created for the character adds to the overall look and characterization of Alexander. Both the text and illustration work hand in hand to say a big “YUCK” with out spelling the word out.
While some might say the book is overall a little negative, I find it to an extreme that makes it humorous. I believe this is the overall idea that the author had in mind. They wanted to show a child having a bad day and show us how to laugh at these little things that might bug us. The closing of the story wraps up the concept with “My mom says some days are like that” and gives the story grounding that we all have bad days (Viorst, 1987). Together the team of Viorst and Cruz address this issue of a bad day and create fun and entertaining book that we can all relate to.
Works Cited:
AIO Classroom, Children's Literature | ENG4010 P01. Week 1-4, Web. 28 November 2011.
Viorst, Judith, and Ray Cruz. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. New York: Aladdin

Banning & Censoring Children's Literature


DISCUSS TOPIC:
Banning and censorship in children's literature.

Banning and censorship of children’s literature directly comes from the Library Bill of Rights, Article 3 that states, “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibilities to provide information and enlightenment” (ALA Library Bill of Rights, 2011). While many individuals, like myself, would think the number of books challenged each year would be rather minimal, I was shocked to learn that “There are hundreds of challenges to books in schools and libraries in the United States every year” (Kennedy, 2011). “According to the American Library Association, there were 348 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2010, and many more go unreported” (Banned Book Week, 2011).

Challenging or banning a text does not vanquish the piece from existence. It is simply is an effort to put some restriction on the access of the piece and possibly remove it from the library or educational syllabus.

The book I was most shocked to find in the top challenged titles from 2010 was, Twilight (series), by Stephanie Meyer. Knowing the great popularity of the Twilight (series) and how it is even greatly increased with the release of the movies, I was shocked to see this saga in a list of challenged texts. The reasons listed, “sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence, unsuited to age group” seem a bit extreme in my opinion (Banned Book Week, 2011). I was surprised that there was not an issue with the vampire aspect but more an issue of the inappropriate connection of the characters, and mostly was considered sexually explicit. In my opinion the series should not be under such scrutiny. The setting is high school and the audience appears to be for a mature teen. Maybe 50 years ago this type of stories and relationships were more frowned upon. But today it seems more commonplace. I am not advocating that the decay of society is good, but rather where it is.

In my opinion, parents really need to step in here. Most parents screen movies, why would they not screen their Childs literature. I would imagine most kids hear way worse things on the playground or bus ride to school. I am reminded of a friend of mine that has a 4 year old that reads. My friend mentioned that he must be careful what magazines and books he leaves lying around his home, as his young son reads everything. There are some things a child should not read. This once again is the parent’s responsibility to protect the­­ child.





Works Cited:

"ALA Library Bill of Rights." ALA Home - American Library Association. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. .

Banned Books Week. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. .

Kennedy, Elizabeth. "Censorship and Banned Children's Books and Books for Teens." Children's Books - Reviews Articles Lists of Best Children's Books. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. .

Raising Standards & Expectations with the Caldecott Awa


The Caldecott Award Pushes Picture Books Further

Picture books are very enjoyable for readers of all ages. While they may be the first favorite books of young toddlers, they still can be found on the coffee table of even the most educated and refined individual. The stunning creativity and expressive strokes that tell such an elaborate story with such little use of words is most impressive. The Caldecott Award has been a huge part of children’s literature since 1938. It originated in honor of “Randolph Caldecott, a nineteenth century English illustrator who was known for his picture book illustrations,” (Kennedy, 2011). Today it is awarded annually to children’s book illustrators for the original, and very distinguished work in children’s literature. One key element of the award is the aspect of “advancing the story visually” (Miller, 2011).  This award has established an expectation and standard to ensure the quality, detail and expressive creativity in the development of children’s literature.  
source: http://mwhittrandr.blogspot.com/2011/05/jumanji.html
Looking back to the 1982 Caldecott winner, Jumanji, by Chris Van Allsburg rich detail is revealed in elaborately detailed scenes.  The many unique perspectives and incredible use of value make this book truly a magnificently illustrated piece. Also consider how the artist was able to create such realistic and dramatic images with a limited color palette. The details of the setting and the characters are so subtle but tell the story of wonder, surprise, and curiosity that the story holds.   
Source: http://www.childlit.com/battledore/shop/index.php?productID=160
Van Allsburg again produces another magnificent piece that was awarded in 1986, The Polar Express. Like Jumanji, The Polar Express also shows realistic detail creating a very dramatic visual story. A difference in the two pieces is that in The Polar Express we see rich color, but both pieces hold a realistic detail that is very similar. “Van Allsburg's beautiful illustrations become as important to the story as the words themselves” (Caldecott Medal Picture  Books, 2011).
 Source: http://coxsoft.blogspot.com/2007_12_01_archive.html
Beyond just visually appealing artwork, Van Allsburg has visually told the story. “These life-like pictures encourage children of ALL ages to explore their own imaginations and to become active participants in the young boy's journey” (Caldecott Medal Picture Books, 2011).
Source: http://picturebookjunkie.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/hello-world/
            The Caldecott is not only for detailed realistic illustrations, but also is awarded for other visual aesthetics that enhance the story. Smoky Night by Eve Bunting is a sharp contrast to the awarded pieces of Van Allsburg. The acrylic painted illustrations on top of the photographed collage of story related items creates a dynamic rich texture that drives the story forward. The texture in turn relates directly to the story like, “when in the story the boy views people stealing cereal from the market, the background is a photograph of actual cereal” (Caldecott Medal Picture Books, 2011). Bunting shows us that creativity and innovative thinking are also key elements admired by the Caldecott Metal. Her book was awarded in 1995.

 Source: http://www.betterworldbooks.com/golem-id-0395726182.aspx
            Even techniques like hand cut paper have been recognized as they have proved to be a great medium for illustration. Golem, by David Wisniewski, was a medal recipient in 1997. “It's beautiful, with cut-paper illustrations that seem to spring off the page” (Caldecott Medal Picture Books, 2011).  At the same time, the choice of color equally added to the dynamic, which adds to the grim tone and development of the story. With this in mind, this book would be considered for a more mature audience as it addresses the Jewish persecution in 1580. The tone and content would not be appropriate for young children. 
 Source: http://alotlikebreathing.blogspot.com/2010/09/house-in-night.html
            Another masterpiece that won the Caldecott Award in 2009 is The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, and illustrations by Beth Krommes. This book is truly a visual experience. The artwork is done in a limited palette just using the page color and black ink with splashes of yellow color. Still another illustration technique is used in this piece as well. The etching style of illustration is a completely different style than the previous 4 awarded books. The artist uses hatching techniques to create rather involved landscapes with a rather long visual field considering the technique. A very small sentence or phrase on the page guides the reader as they gaze at the elaborate monochromatic texture before them. Consider the complex illustration below where the text simply reads, “the house in the night” (Swanson, 2008).
Source: http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=2206
With imagery as such a key element in picture book literature, we can appreciate the standards that the Caldecott Medal recognizes and ensures in children's literature. The award proves that the expectation and standard remain paramount in quality pieces for children’s literature. At the same time we also see that the Caldecott is not in any way committing to one style of illustration over another, but rather celebrating creative and progressive works that directly correlate with the story line and push the message of the text forward. The Caldecott Award proves that the creativity and expression created should not go unnoticed as it recognizes the efforts of dedicated authors and illustrators in this industry.

Works Cited:
Bunting, Eve, and David Diaz. Smoky Night. San Diego: Harcourt Brace,
      1994. Print.
Caldecott Medal Picture Books. Web. 03 Dec. 2011.       
      medal-picture-books.blogspot.com/>.
Kennedy, Elizabeth. Caldecott Medal for Illustration of Children's Books - 
     Randolph Caldecott Award Winners. About. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. 
Miller, Linda. Personal interview. 21 Nov. 2011.
Swanson, Susan M., and Beth Krommes. The House in the Night. Houghton
      Mifflin Company, 2008.
Wisniewski, David, and Lee Salsbery. Golem. New York: Clarion, 1996.
      Print.
Van Allsburg, Chris. Jumanji. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981. Print.
Van Allsburg, Chris. The Polar Express. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985.
     Print.

Psychoanalysis of Cinderella,


The Psychoanalysis of Charles Perault and His
Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper.

Charles Perault reveals much of his core value, upbringing, personal experiences and
subconscious addenda’s in his work Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper
.  The psychoanalysis of this story reveals many details of the life of Charles Perault’s. Further more, Perault uses his writing to help children, but also subconsciously advocates his personal addenda’s from his life experience.
The psychoanalytic approach of looking into an authors writing gives great insight into much of the past experiences and subconscious musings of the writer. With this approach the piece will be examined for details that could “express the secret unconscious desires and anxieties of the author” (Delahoyde, 2011). This analysis is based on the theories, and ideas of “Harold Bloom, Jacques Lacan, Sigmund Freud” (AIO, 2011). Typically when reviewing a story most look to the characters and try to decipher how the author is attempting to express themselves through an individual character. This however is typically not the case in the Psychoanalytic approach as the author is assuming identities in all characters, elements and happenings in story and they are in turn all projections of the writer. As the text is examined the reader searches for key components that point to unresolved emotions, guilt, or conflicts that position a subconscious expression from the writer. Then considering the author’s personal upbringing and traumatic experiences from family, addictions, sexual confusion, and the like stresses that are tucked away in the characters of the piece of literature. This is unpackaged and revealed by using technique of symbolism, condensation, and displacement.
One of the key elements in the psychoanalytic criticism is the analysis is never attempts to identify the author’s underlying intension for the piece. Rather, it is a probing search to find what the author never intended to reveal in their work, the details of their past. The text is evaluated, searched, and scrutinized for the details that are repressed or buried in the subconscious memory the authors mind truly looking to reveal.
Looking at the background of the author Charles Perault, several details are useful as the as the analysis begins. He was born into a wealthy family that lived in Paris, France. He always was looking to gain more knowledge and went to the best schools where he would achieve top rankings in his classes. The most interesting fact about him is that his fairy tales did not come about till the end of his life. “He was almost 70 years old when he wrote his first fairy tales in 1697” (Unknown 1, 2011). Another very critical detail about Perault, is that his wife passed “in 1678” after 6 short years of marriage (Unknown 2, 2011).
In reviewing Cinderella, or the little Glass Sipper, one thing is very evident using the psychological analysis is we see the writer has an understanding of wealth. The story is about kings, balls, hopes and dreams. This indicates that author has experienced this wealthy life. At the same time, he also shows us that he has an understanding of the working class that supports the upper class. He has communicated a definite attitude against those who have had the wealth handed to them, verses those who have had to work for it. It would be easy to see how he has buried himself in the Cinderella character, as he had to go to school and work for his success. He understood the upper class, but also expresses an undertone of disenchantment with those who did not have to work for their status. 
Considering also how the main character Cinderella is treated, it begs the question of the opposition Perault must have faced in being successful in school. Seeing that he has created this character that is so good, yet faces so much opposition points to his great success, and possibly feeling that he never was giving the recognition he truly deserved.
The author also places himself in the character of the Godmother. This is truly what the story is about, his gift to children. Consider his age, and how long it had been since he had experienced the wonder and excitement of his childhood. The Godmother in this story brings the gift of experience to the main character Cinderella. Consider then how Perauslt has placed himself in that character as he has revealed wonder, and excitement to children through his story. 
Another aspect to consider in Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper is the hidden addenda in his communication of characters in this story. “His tales were intended to train young girls in how to become ladies” (Unknown 3, 2011). Being raised with the upper class Perauslt learned quickly what a lady was. He admired the true beauty of a woman with class. His story addresses true beauty and attempts to put his values of what it takes to be a beautiful woman. Consider the moral. “Beauty in a woman is a rare treasure that will always be admired. Graciousness, however, is priceless and of even greater value. This is what Cinderella's godmother gave to her when she taught her to behave like a queen. Young women, in the winning of a heart, graciousness is more important than a beautiful hairdo. It is a true gift of the fairies. Without it nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything.” (Lang, 1891).
Taking Perauslt’s projection of a beautiful refined young woman and how they behave a step further, consider how much of his imagination of beautiful young women is represented in his fantasy in his fairytales. Consider his wife dieing at such a young age, and how he used his stories to carry on his idealism of his deceased wife. This technique is a coping mechanism as well as a technique to fulfill his romantic drive.
By using the Psychoanalytic approach to examine the work of Charles Perauslt, it is clear there he is expressing his subconscious messages through the story. These messages give the reader insight about his values, personal views, struggles, childhood and loss in life. These subtle messages in his stories were not an intentional effort, especially as he was writing to young children, but the subtle elements are key indicators of his personal history and life experiences are much of his work. Some might judge Perauslt with revealing these elements in his work, but the truth of the matter is that every writer expresses their deep-rooted emotions and values in their work. After it all it is their life and experiences that have shaped the individual into who they are. With creating and writing Perauslt was bound to reveal himself in his stories. Even if it was not intentional, his values, character, childhood and personal perception made him into the author that was able to write so many classic tales. He could not have written any other way.










Works Cited:

AIO Classroom, Children's Literature | ENG4010 P01. Week 1, Web. 26, November
    2011.

Lang, Andrew, The Blue Fairy Book, 5th ed. (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1891),
   
pp. 64-71.

Delahoyde, Michael. Psychoanalytic Criticism. Washington State University - Pullman,
    Washington. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. .

St. Martin’s, VirtuaLit: Critical Approaches. Default. Web. 05 Dec. 2011.
    .

Unknown 2, "Charles Perrault | Fabulous Fairy Tales." Welcome | Fabulous Fairy Tales. 
    Web. 07 Dec. 2011. .

Unknown 1, The Story of Charles Perrault. Perrault Fairy Tales. Web. 06 Dec. 2011.
     .

Unknown 3, "Charles Perrault." Perrault Bio. Web. 06 Dec. 2011.
   
    /WebProject/Bios/Perrault%20Bio.htm>.


The Change From Book To Film


DISCUSS TOPIC:
In what ways does changing the medium (book to film) alter the social commentary?

When a classic children’s story is recreated for film many times elements of the story need to be altered. Transforming stories from one medium to another or transplanting them from one setting to another involves trade-offs for good or ill.” (Stahl).  When stories are recreated, and retold many times the process involves altering the story.

Many times the medium in which the piece has been observed first sends an expectation of how one would expect to find the piece in other mediums. For me personally remember the many different Dr Seuss stories that I read as a child. The tone, storyline, imagery and voice inflections were so different from the film versions. I found myself to be very disappointed. Especially looking at the new series on PBS Kids, The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That. In the books the cat seemed to be more irresponsible and looking for fun. This new version seems so tame and scaled back. The cat is more concerned about education in each episode compared to just wanting the kids to have fun.

Another very drastic example of this is in the PBS Kids show Super Why.
Each episode takes a classic children’s story and draws conclusions to help children solve their daily problems. Part of the problem solving the show reveals is actually changing the story to solve the problem. While there is so many examples to pull from this show, one simple concept that has been modernized is that Little Red Riding Hood, has been renamed to Red. She also is always wearing skates.

Many times change is necessary in literature works as the culture pushes forward. As film directors pull the classics and recreate many times we see the final product is drastically different, as the story did not lend well to the visual story line. Also consider how small adjustments to a story could simply be a director’s preference and creative expression. A great example of this is in the 1994 Romeo and Juliet remake movie. Much of the classic speech and is used, but the story setting is contemporary. Even the activities of the characters are more matched to modern day. In one scene the two main characters are dropping acid. This was not part of the original, but was an element that seemed to related to the current culture. 

With a progressive culture always looking to change, improve or modernize the classic works of literature, one might question if the works of the greats will be lost with the noise of the new versions. To some point the works of the greats will be lost. I am personally thinking of all the stories I thought I knew before I took this class. In reading the older versions I have found that I did not ever know the original story. But when we consider how today information is at our fingertips, it is not far fetched to research and find appreciation for the classic work. As it was mentioned in the beginning of this class, many times the hype from a new released story in a new medium creates hype to make the story popular once again. It is just an old product that has been remarketed and branded to a new target group.

Works Cited:
Stahl, J. D., Tina L. Hanlon, and Elizabeth Lennox Keyser. Crosscurrents of
       Children's Literature: an Anthology of Texts and Criticism. New York:
       Oxford UP, 2007. Print.

Resources:

AIO Classroom, Children's Literature | ENG4010 P01. Week 6, Web. 08 December 2011.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Book VS. The Film.


DISCUSS TOPIC:
Please select a story which has been made into a movie and research into its production. Investigate to see if you can find out whose idea it was to create the movie, what ideas guided the production, and so on. Be sure that you cite this information.



As a young child, I had heard and loved the story of Mr. Popper’s Penguins. I can still recall the story written by Richard and Florence Atwater about a house painter and his very entertaining penguins. The book was written in 1938 and was awarded with the Newbery Award. The plot expressed and contained a very unique story about “the adventures of a housepainter and his brood of high-stepping penguins” (Unknown, 2011).  The classic piece became very popular over the years for young elementary students. In 2011 the story was taken and made into a film. While both the book and film have similar concepts, and ideas, and characters when the story was recreated for film many aspects of the story were changed. 

In 2011 Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment released their modernized film of Mr. Popper’s Penguins. This new release featured drastically changed the unique family story. From character relationships, values, careers and even the setting of the story has a drastic contrast as the book is compared to the film.

This classic tale took quite a twist when it hit the big screen. The main character is portrayed quit differently in the two different mediums. “The Mr. Popper of the movie is not the carefree, slightly eccentric Mr. Popper of the book” (Wendy, 2011). Looking at the main character, Jim Carey, it is fairly simple to have a good idea of how this character is portrayed in the film. Carey has earned himself quite a reputation for his silly faces, and comical combinations. Considering other movies like, Ace Ventura, Liar, Liar, The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, Yes Man, Bruce Almighty, Me, Myself & Irene and even Batman Forever have all pushed Carey forward with unique yet similar characters that have made Carey into what he is today. Despite Carey’s extreme success in his film career, knowing how his characters are always over-the-top which in turn puts a different spin on this classic tale. We can see how the film chose to rely on the personality of the actor and their entertaining qualities, rather than the quirky characteristics. The book was driven from its entertaining story and well developed characters. 

Looking into the film story we see how the story has been modernized to out current culture. The classic tale sets the story in a fictional small town where the Popper family all live together. The film has a drastically different setting as it is places the story in New York City, and the Poppers have a typical divorced American family. In addition to this detail, the book puts Mr. Popper in a humble job as a house painter. When Hollywood got a hold of the storyline they made some major adjustments to Mr. Popper’s life, as in their version he is a very successful businessman who “has little time for family” (Wendy, 2011).

Another major change in the storyline is the origin of the penguins. The classic tale paints the picture of Mr. Popper’s sense of adventure and how he longs to explore the south pole.  Explorer “Admiral Drake” sends Mr. Popper penguins as a gift (Unknown, 2011). The new film version ties in some issues with Mr. Poppers father that he is carrying over from his childhood. He then acquires these penguins as a gift from his father.  

Overall both the book and the movie are fun and amusing. But if the viewer is planning on the film following the classic story written in text, they will instead find “a very loose interpretation of the book” (Wendy, 2011).  When it comes to a better message to children and their families, it is clear that the classic story shows more character and better values than the new fling. Adapting a classic story to fit better with our modern culture might make it more believable, and easier to related to, but at the same time can pull away many key elements that made the story a classic in the first place.

Works Cited:
Wendy. "Mr. Popper’s Penguins – Book and Movie Review – Caribousmom." Caribousmom. Web. 09 Dec. 2011. .

Unknown, "Mr. Popper's Penguins | Scholastic.com." Scholastic | Children's Books and Book Club | Scholastic.com. Web. 09 Dec. 2011. .