Michelle Ann Abate is Associate Professor of Literature for Children and Young Adults at The Ohio State University, USA.
Selected for the Outstanding Academic Title (OAT) Award 2017 by CHOICE magazine. Author Abate (Ohio State Univ.) makes a strong argument for the ongoing atomization of American cultural, social, and political life that has brought readers to the rather nuanced children's literature market of today. The current sociocultural landscape is a vast departure from the one-size-fits-all mentality of the Industrial Revolution, later reinforced during the mass industrialization of the early 20th century. Abate explains the technological advances that make it possible for anyone to author and publish books for children-books that reflect whatever personal interest or political issue the authors wish to advance. In a series of essays, she dissects the range of contemporary children's literature niches reflecting concerns as diverse as marijuana legalization, elective plastic surgery, LGBTQ rights, and schoolyard bullying. Providing objective analysis of these materials, Abate successfully demonstrates the positives as well as downsides of such fiction, which is fascinating in its ingenuity, exciting in its possibilities, and at times even troubling in its partisanship. The future of children's literature may perchance be foretold in such specialized work. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries/levels. - K. N. Reed, Middle Tennessee State University, CHOICE Some of the highlights of The Big Smallness include eye-opening expeditions into cultural histories behind the issues Abate discusses. ... Those looking for theoretical reflection on the formation of heteronormative gender and sexual identities will especially enjoy chapters 3 and 5; a reader interested in the ongoing medicalisation of motherhood and the developing adolescent body will likely turn to chapters 2 and 4. - Marek Oziewicz, University of Minnesota, USA