chapter  13
14 Pages

“Black and Beautiful and Bruised Like Me”: Contrasts and the Black Aesthetic in Picture Books of Langston Hughes

Chinese children's literature has furnished numerous images of children closely related to the commercial economy and the spirit of commercial culture, in the past years. Such children, who have a strong sense of the times, are nourished by the modern commercial cultural spirit and demonstrate the artistic direction of children's literature in the period after the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76. Compared with the child characters of the past, most of whom are victims of social and family problems, the dynamic image of children today is a fresh aesthetic breeze eagerly embraced by those child readers who want to control their lives in the real world. In most Chinese novels with rural settings, the central characters still exhibit the traits that traditional culture assigns to children. Commercial culture posits an active and rational nature. Many of the protagonists of children's novels in the new century are characterized by relatively mature cultural awareness, social judgment, and initiative.