Faculty Publications


Bicultural perspectives and reader response: Four American readers respond to Jean Fritz's Homesick.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Cynthia B. Leung

Document Type


Publication Date





The study of readers’ responses to literature can help to make public the voices of bicultural children and young adults who experience life from a diversity of perspectives. This study explores the relationship between response to literature and the complex world views of four bicultural students, there Asian American and one of Jewish and Eastern European descent. The focal literary work of the study was the cross-cultural text Homesick by Jean Fritz, a Newbery Honor book about the author’s growing up in China on the eve of the Communist revolution. The participants were interviewed about their experiences with the text in terms of characterization, major events, setting, cultural and historical aspects of the narrative, and appropriateness of illustrations and photographs. Findings revealed a wide difference in response among the girls. Knowledge of Chinese culture, stage of ethnic identity development, personality traits, and prior experiences with the genre of fictional autobiography were found to be major factors contributing to differences in responses.


Reprinted from Asia Pacific Journal of Language in Education, 5(1), 49-78. Full-text article is available through licensed access provided by the publisher. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided below.




University of Toronto Press