“Teachy, but not preachy.”
In her interview in Horn Book Magazine, Rudine Sims Bishop talks about the purposeful nature of African American children’s literature. This literature is more than just stories, or stories that happen to feature black characters, but stories that encourage a positive self image for African American children. This is done through including African American history and heroes, and stories that celebrate African American culture.
Conveying this message while being “teachy but not preachy,” is important for several reasons. First, the story and art can still be appreciated without being overwhelmed (Horning, 2008, pg. 256). Children’s books are more accessible when it does not feel like homework
Also, I think this allows the literature to be more accessible to nonblack readers. The message may be intended for African American children, but positive images of African Americans are important for other groups to see as well. Unfortunately, negative stereotypes are so ubiquitous in society that children pick up on them at an early age.
Horning, K. (2008). An interview with Rudine Sims Bishop. Horn Book Magazine, 84 (3), 247-259.