Date of Award
Master of Science
Since the 1800s, Black children's literature has been a pioneer in literary achievement and has documented the advance of Black people from enslavement to the modern-day. The genre has now transcended written text as it is now readily available in the audiobook format through an application such as Audible, Overdrive, and Libby. The introduction of audiobook narrators underscores this transformation. Audiobook narrators enhance our enjoyment, readership, and at times even the quality of the story being read much to the capitalistic success of publishing houses and imprints. Culturally, however, the role of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) in Black children's books are often overlooked in favor of black children's books that are written and narrated in standard English. Black children's literature that features heavy usage of African-American Vernacular English lacks the audiobook treatment and, in turn, fails to reach a wider audience than its white facing children's literature counterpart.
To handle the cultural dilemmas posed by the current direction of publishing, publishers need to understand the importance of authentic audio representation for Black children in audiobook narration while using African-American Vernacular English. Considering the cultural implications of excluding books with AAVE from audiobook adaptations is necessary. The acknowledgment cultural implications while developing a clear set of principles for selecting narrators that meet cultural criteria rooted in Critical Race Theory, Africanist Theory, Black Authenticity, and Black Authorship.
Howard, Vashalice, "‘"Them who have ears, let them hear": A qualitative analysis of African-American vernacular English used in Black children's literature audiobook narration performances" (2020). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 18040.