Forging Truths from Facts: Trauma, historicity and Australian Children's Picture Books

Kerby, Martin ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4073-2559 and Baguley, Margaret ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0098-6378 (2020) Forging Truths from Facts: Trauma, historicity and Australian Children's Picture Books. The Lion and the Unicorn, 44 (3). pp. 281-301. ISSN 0147-2593

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Abstract

Though they can find themselves constrained by the imagined 'demands of children’s literature as sanitary, benign, and didactic' (Tribunella 102), children’s picture book authors and illustrators regularly attempt to engage with 'unimaginable, unspeakable, and un-representable horror' (Trezise 43). Whether it be in the form of genocide, war, persecution or displacement, they tend not to shy away from the atrocities of history when searching for subject matter. However, the balancing of the sanitary with the unimaginable demands a compromise. Authors and illustrators invariably soften, perhaps even distort the horror in their efforts to be morally instructive. In their creation of a 'parable of war' (MacCallum-Stewart 177) they explore the underlying humanist principles of the stories they tell, rather than historical perspectives. As a result, books such as the three Australian children's picture books analyzed in this article are often very successful in exploring broader issues of personal morality, but they make for dubious history. The critical and commercial success of works that adopt this approach suggests that the book buying public share this preference for morality tales over historical accuracy.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2021 23:14
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2021 05:55
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aboriginal, ANZAC, Australia, authors, Children's picture books, conflict, happiness, historical trauma, history, illustrators, Indigenous, literature, morality, suffering, refugees, trauma, truth, war
Fields of Research (2008): 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200502 Australian Literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature)
Fields of Research (2020): 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430302 Australian history
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history > 450109 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature, journalism and professional writing
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470502 Australian literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930104 Moral and Social Development (incl. Affect)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1302 Communication > 130203 Literature
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/uni.2020.0028
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/43005

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