“When Can We Make Paper Cranes?”: Examining Pre-Service Teachers’ Resistance to Critical Readings of Historical Fiction

Laura Apol, Aki Sakuma, Tracy M. Reynolds, Sheri K. Rop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


There has been much recent scholarship on the importance of engaging students of all ages in the critical readings of texts. This study explores a group of pre-service teachers’ responses to a set of experiences designed to encourage them to respond critically to several picture book versions of the American-Japanese conflict in World War II, focusing particular attention on Sadako by Eleanor Coerr (1993). Although a presentation by a visiting scholar from Japan highlighted the “constructedness” of the Sadako myth and outlined the historical and cultural inaccuracies of Coerr's telling of the story, the pre-service teachers in the study chose to believe the truth of the story and based their choices about teaching this literature to children on their pre-existing assumptions. The study examines reasons the pre-service teachers may have responded as they did and challenges teacher educators to develop more effective methods to support pre-service teachers as they select literature and develop their own pedagogical strategies to promote thoughtful critical conversations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-464
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Literacy Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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