Rudine Sims Bishop

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Rudine Sims Bishop
Born (1937-07-31) July 31, 1937 (age 85)
EducationWest Chester State Teachers College, University of Pennsylvania, Wayne State University
SpouseJames J. Bishop

Rudine Sims Bishop, professor emerita at Ohio State University, has been referred to as the “mother of” multicultural children's literature for her groundbreaking[how?] American children’s literature research.[1]


Bishop was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, about a hundred miles northwest of Philadelphia. The public schools in her community were not racially segregated, though Bishop noted that professional opportunities were limited for African Americans at the time.[1] One area open to her was teaching.

After graduating from Pottsville Area High School,[2] Bishop attended West Chester State Teachers College, which is now West Chester University.[3] She completed her master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania.[4] She later obtained her doctorate from Wayne State University in Detroit.

She taught elementary school for a few years. At the college and university level, Bishop taught reading, curriculum development, and children’s literature at Morgan State College in Baltimore, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the State University of New York at Buffalo and Ohio State University, where Bishop specialized in children’s literature, particularly African American children’s literature.[4][5][6]

Bishop has credited a few influences on her evolving work around multicultural children’s literature. The first influence came when one of her freshman college roommates, Patricia Grasty Gaines, introduced her to Marguerite de Angeli’s Bright April (1946), the first children’s book Bishop read with characters that looked and experienced community life similar to her own.[7] The next memorable occasion happened while Bishop was a graduate student at Wayne State University. Here she first encountered a large collection of African American children’s literature.[7] The Detroit Free Press sponsored an annual book fair. In November 1969, Dr. Donald Bissett of Wayne State’s Children’s Literature Center, coordinated a display of 40+ children’s books featuring African Americans at the fair. The display was called “The Darker Brother Collection” after the Langston Hughes poem, I, Too.[8] Bishop later recalled, “…it was the first time I had seen so many children’s books about African Americans together in one place. I remember wanting to read them all, see what they were like, what sorts of topics and themes were dealt with, and how African Americans were represented. That was one of the threads that eventually led to my interest in multicultural literature…”[4] The final influence came from Bishop’s work as a graduate research assistant to Wayne State professor Ken Goodman, who was also her advisor. Bishop and others assisted Goodman in his reading miscue analysis research. The analysis examines when an observed response in the reading process does not match the expected response.[4] The research recorded children in states as diverse as Mississippi, Maine and Hawaii reading two different stories, including one identified as “culturally relevant”. Bishop recalled, “…[w]hen we examined the miscues and the retellings, we observed that when there were differences between the kids’ performances on the two stories, they did better on the ‘culturally relevant’ stories. So one conclusion is that what children read makes a difference.”[4]

Bishop’s 1982 book, Shadow and Substance, established a framework for analyzing children’s literature about people of color, and remains a standard in the field.[1] Bishop examined 150 contemporary fiction books that included African American characters. She categorized the books into three distinct areas: Social Conscience, Melting Pot, and Culturally Conscious books.


Bishop has written a number of books and articles related to American and multicultural children’s literature including:

Author Title Year Publisher ISBN Notes
Sims, Rudine A psycholinguistic description of miscues generated by selected young readers during the oral reading of text material in Black dialect and standard English 1972 Ed. D. Wayne State University OCLC Number: 9291163
Sims, Rudine Shadow and substance: Afro-American experience in contemporary children's fiction 1982 National Council of Teachers of English: Urbana, IL 9780814143766 Survey of books by and about African Americans published between 1965 and 1979
Sims, Rudine Strong Black Girls: A Ten Year Old Responds to Fiction about Afro-Americans (article) 1983 Journal of Research and Development in Education vol. 16, no. 3 pp. 21–28, Spring 1983
Bishop, Rudine Sims Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors (article) 1990 Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom vol. 6, no. 3, Summer issue
Bishop, Rudine Sims Presenting Walter Dean Myers 1990 Twayne Publishers: Boston, MA 9780805782141
Bishop, Rudine Sims Kaleidoscope: a multicultural booklist for grades K-8: second edition, covering books published from 1993-95 1997 National Council of Teachers of English: Urbana, IL 9780814125434
Compiled by Rudine Sims Bishop, Illustrations by Lois Mailou Jones Wonders: the best children's poems of Effie Lee Newsome 1999 Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press: Honesdale, PA 9781563978258
Bishop, Rudine Sims Free within ourselves: the development of African American children's literature 2007 Greenwood Press: Westport, CT 9780313340932
Bishop, Rudine Sims Bishop Daniel A. Payne: great black leader 2009 Just Us Books: East Orange, NJ 9781933491158

Other Contributions[edit]

Bishop has been involved with the Coretta Scott King Book Awards program for several years. In 2014 and 2015, she was a jury member.[9][10] In 2016 and 2017, Bishop chaired the jury committee.[11][12]

Bishop was a member of the 1999 Caldecott Medal Selection Committee[13] as well as a member of 1992 Newbery Medal Selection Committee.[14]

Bishop was also one of three members on the Boston Globe Horn Book Award Committee for 1987-1988 and 2003-2004.[4]


In 2013, Rudine Sims Bishop received the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) James R. Squire award. The award is given to an NCTE member who has contributed foundational knowledge within the field of education.[15]

In 2017, Bishop received the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement award.[16][5]

Bishop was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame in 2001.[17]


Former students of Bishop include:

  • Dr. Jonda C. McNair, the Charlotte S. Huck Endowed Professor of Children’s Literature at The Ohio State University.[7]
  • Dr. Cynthia Tyson, Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University.[1]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Rudine Sims Bishop: 'Mother' of multicultural children's literature". Ohio State Education and Human Ecology. 5 September 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Pottsville High School Yearbook, 1955, p. 41". U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  3. ^ "West Chester University Yearbook, 1959, p. 166". U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Oxley, Peggy (2006). "PROFILE: Rudine Sims Bishop: Making a Difference through Literature". Language Arts. 83 (6): 552–557. ISSN 0360-9170. JSTOR 41962155. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  5. ^ a b Bishop, Rudine Sims (2009). "Profiles and Perspectives: Surveying the Hopescape". Language Arts. 86 (3): 212–217. ISSN 0360-9170. JSTOR 41483528. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  6. ^ "University to honor Bishop's service". Ohio State Education and Human Ecology. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Bishop, Rudine Sims. "2017 CSK–Virginia Hamilton Award Acceptance by Rudine Sims Bishop". The Horn Book. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  8. ^ Halas, Susan (2 Nov 1969). "Through the Doors of the Book Fair, A Bonanza of Books and Authors". Detroit Free Press at p. 30. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  9. ^ Patton, Kim; Adlawan, Kim; Bigelow, Therese; Dawson, Rose; Sherif, Sue; Bishop, Rudine Sims; Huggins, Sujin (2014). "2014 CSK Awards Discussion Guide". Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  10. ^ Patton, Kim; Dawson, Rose; Dorr, Christina; Newell, Ruth; Bishop, Rudine Sims; Spears, Barbara; Walke, Martha (2015). "2015 CSK Awards Discussion Guide". Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  11. ^ Bishop, Rudine Sims; Bloom, Sam; Dorr, Christina; Newell, Ruth; Roy, April; Spears, Barbara; Thompson, Ida W. (2016). "2016 CSK Awards Discussion Guide". Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  12. ^ Bishop, Rudine Sims; Armstrong, Kacie; Bloom, Sam; Marks, Erica; Parravano, Martha; Roy, April; Thompson, Ida W. (2017). "2017 CSK Awards Discussion Guide". Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  13. ^ "Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938-Present". Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). 30 November 1999. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922-Present". Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). 30 November 1999. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  15. ^ "James R. Squire Award". NCTE. Retrieved 2021-02-18.
  16. ^ "Rudine Sims Bishop 2017 recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement". News and Press Center. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Rudine Sims Bishop (Inducted 2001) | Reading Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2 January 2021.