An amputee elephant, a zombie bunny, and a vego piranha: Investigating culture within award-winning Australian children’s and young adult literature

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Every August in Australia brings Book Week when young and old readers anxiously await the announcement from the Children’s Book Council of Australia for the Books of the Year, honouring outstanding Australian children’s and young adult literature. These books are meant to be the best of what is published (and often most of what is purchased) in Australia for any given year. This study analysed the portrayals of culture within the 24 books earning Short List honours in 2016. Using a previous model developed by Kimmel, Garrison, and Forest (2-3), researchers investigated eight cultural constructs including ability, socioeconomic class, gender, immigration, language, race/ethnicity/nationality, religion, and sexual orientation as well as the treatment of Indigenous Australian issues and voices in the titles. Findings indicate diverse coverage of these topics addressing serious social issues like homelessness and suicide. Picture books and Older Readers offered more authentic, nuanced representations of important social problems like the plight of people seeking asylum abroad and the impact of other cultural constructs on the class of characters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalSynergy
Volume16
Issue number1
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 06 May 2019

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