Jane M(arie) Bingham (1941-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1941, in Huntington, WV; Education: Flint Junior College, A.A., 1961; Central Michigan University, B.A., 1964; Michigan State University, M.A., 1966, Ph.D., 1970.
Office—Department of Education, Oakland University, 501 O'Dowd Hall, Rochester, MI 48309-4401.
Elementary school teacher at public schools in Flint, MI, 1961-65; Michigan State University, East Lansing, assistant instructor in education, 1965-66; Flint Junior College, Flint, instructor in children's literature, summer, 1967; Oakland University, Rochester, MI, instructor, 1969-70, assistant professor, 1970-75, associate professor of children's literature, 1975-c. 2001. Member of Friends of Flint Public Library, Detroit Public Library, Avon Township Library, Kerlan Collection at University of Minnesota, Osborne Collection at Toronto Public Library, DeGrummond Collection at University of Mississippi, and Detroit Institute of Art.
International Reading Association, International Research Society for Children's Literature, Association for Childhood Education International, National Council of Teachers of English (treasurer of Children's Literature Assembly, 1973-75; chairperson, 1976-78), American Library Association (member of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Caldecott Medal awards committees; chairperson of national planning for special collections committee), Children's Literature Association (board member, 1975-78; secretary, 1975-76).
NONFICTION FOR CHILDREN
(Editor, with Fiona Chandler and Sam Taplin) The Usborne Internet-linked Encyclopedia of World History, Usborne, 2001.
Tiananmen Square: June 4, 1989, Raintree (Chicago, IL), 2004.
The Red Cross Movement, Raintree (Chicago, IL), 2004.
The Human Body: From Head to Toe, Heinemann Library (Chicago, IL), 2004.
A History of Fashion and Costume, Volume 1: The Ancient World, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2005.
Johnny Depp, Raintree (Chicago, IL), 2005.
Sikh Gurdwaras, Raintree (Chicago, IL), 2005.
Why Do Families Break Up?, Raintree (Chicago, IL), 2005.
"WHAT'S THE DEAL?" SERIES; NONFICTION FOR CHILDREN
Heroin, Heinemann Library (Chicago, IL), 2005.
Alcohol, Heinemann Library (Chicago, IL), 2005.
Marijuana, Heinemann Library (Chicago, IL), 2005.
Smoking, Heinemann Library (Chicago, IL), 2005.
"WORLD ART AND CULTURE" SERIES; NONFICTION FOR CHILDREN
Indian Art and Culture, Raintree (Chicago, IL), 2004.
African Art and Culture, Raintree (Chicago, IL), 2004.
Aboriginal Art and Culture, Raintree (Chicago, IL), 2005.
(With Grayce Scholt) Fifteen Centuries of Children's Literature: An Annotated Chronology of British and American Works in Historical Context, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1980.
Author of "Children's Literature: Views and Reviews," a quarterly column written with Grayce Scholt for Michigan Reading Journal, 1971-76. Contributor of articles and reviews to education, library, and women's studies journals. Editor of Children's Literature in Review and The Three R's: Reading, Writing and Radio (children's magazine).
Jane M. Bingham spent most of her adult life teaching college students about children's literature at Oakland University, collecting and studying children's books from across history and around the world, and campaigning for better materials for children to read. After she retired from that career, she began writing children's books of her own. Bingham has since authored several nonfiction books that seek to explain contemporary issues to children, including divorce, the dangers of drug abuse, and the art and culture of civilizations around the world.
In Why Do Families Break Up? Bingham attempts to demystify the process of divorce for middle-school students. The book begins by examining some of the reasons a couple might decide to divorce, then moves on to explain the process of coping and moving on after a family separates. School Library Journal contributor Sharon A. Neal described the book as "supportive [and] unbiased" and noted, "Despite the nature of the topic, the book is hopeful."
Tiananmen Square: June 4, 1989 examines the studentled protest against China's Communist rulers that occurred there, in the middle of Beijing, in the spring of 1989. On June 4 the government mobilized the army, including tanks, to disperse the demonstrators, killing several of them in the process. "The excellent illustrations and clear narrative," Elizabeth Talbot wrote in School Library Journal, make Tiananmen Square a "good introduction" to the protest and its aftermath.
Bingham is the author of three installments in the "World Art and Culture" series, examining India, Africa, and Aboriginal Australia. Each book is brief, only fifty-six pages long, and "the texts are straightforward and concise," Gillian Engberg noted in a review of African Art and Culture for Booklist. Despite this brevity, much information is packed into each volume. Bingham opens each book with a chapter about the history of the region, from thousands of years ago to the present day, and follows with chapters about the art forms practiced in that area. These include architecture, basket-weaving, creating musical instruments, dance, and body modification (tattoos, piercings, and the like), among others. Indian Art and Culture also includes a chapter on one of that country's modern art forms, the "Bollywood" movie industry. As Donna Cardon noted in School Library Journal, "The texts not only describe the art forms and how they are created, but also explain the role that art plays in the cultures."
Bingham once wrote: "In 1981 I completed a trip which took me to American Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Kenya, South Africa, and Swaziland. I collected examples of children's books along the way and became acutely aware of the need for books and other teaching resources in many developing countries. I was especially impressed with the variety of India's and Bangladesh's children's books—in spite of the difficulties their creators often encounter in publishing and promoting them. I also found that becoming aware of and enjoying the literature from other countries enriched my appreciation of American children's books. I found myself asking over and over why we, with the plethora we have to choose from, too often opt for the mediocre rather than the 'rarest kind of best.' As educators, creators, and consumers, we all too often forget to think of children's books as real literature because we fail to apply critical literary standards. It is my hope that my teaching and writing will draw attention to the continuing need for quality books in our own country and will also encourage American students and teachers to adopt a wider, world view of children's literature."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, April 1, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of African Art and Culture, p. 1373.
Oakland University Post (Oakland, MI), March 27, 2002, Ashlyn Cates, "Bingham Gives Kresge Books."
School Arts, February, 2005, Ken Marantz, review of Indian Art and Culture, p. 55.
School Library Journal, November, 2001, review of The Usborne Internet-linked Encyclopedia of World History, p. 86; February, 2004, Donna Cardon, review of African Art and Culture, p. 156; April, 2004, Wendy Lukehart, review of African Art and Culture, p. 63; June, 2004, Marilyn Ackerman, review of The Red Cross Movement, p. 157; October, 2004, Elizabeth Talbot, review of Tiananmen Square: June 4, 1989, p. 186; February, 2005, Sharon A. Neal, review of Why Do Families Break Up?, p. 145.*