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Picture Books. CMNS 320 2 Feb 2006 Ben Woo. The Children’s Book. Why do do children have a literature of their own?. Moral and spiritual instruction Literacy and education Entertainment and pleasure. Why do do children have a literature of their own?. Preserving the canon Bonding

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Picture Books

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Picture Books

CMNS 320

2 Feb 2006

Ben Woo


The Children’s Book


Why do do children have a literature of their own?

  • Moral and spiritual instruction

  • Literacy and education

  • Entertainment and pleasure


Why do do children have a literature of their own?

  • Preserving the canon

  • Bonding

  • Therapy and Socialization


A Brief History of the Children’s Book

  • First books

    • “Mother Goose” adaptations of oral culture (sagas, ballads, tall tales, and rhymes)

  • 1600: Reformation

    • Alphabet books, nursery rhymes, folk tales

    • Religious tracts

  • 1700: Schooling

    • ‘the greats’/ texts books: literacy a disciplining of consciousness and training for civility

    • opening new vistas: history, geography broadens scope


A Brief History of the Children’s Book

  • 1800: Children’s Literature

    • Literature for its own sake: fantasy, imagination, fairy tales, folk tales and adventure stories

    • The canon of kid’s lit: Alice, Peter Pan, and Pooh

    • Delights of the imaginary world (sprites and animals; mystery and gentle humour)


A Brief History of the Children’s Book

  • 1930 and on: Mass Market

    • From children’s literature to children’s media and popular culture

    • Comics, cinema, radio, and television begin to compete with children’s books as sources for stories


The Genealogy of Narrative

  • Stories in Oral Culture:

    • Story-telling: Drama, play, myth, saga, religion

    • Role of Memory

    • The art of conversation

    • Voice and rhythm


The Genealogy of Narrative

  • Books in modern culture

    • The literacy agenda: reading and writing as techniques of rationality

    • Reading to Kids:

      • The cultural agenda: knowledge, religion, civility and appropriate stories

      • The canon

    • Reading for Pleasure:

      • Autonomous zone of children’s literature

      • Liberated imagination


The Genealogy of Narrative

  • Rise of Mass Mediated Culture:

    • Translation of folklore: Disney films and mass popular culture

    • Exposing the Secrets: blurring the boundaries between adult and child access to knowledge

    • Eroding the family sharing of stories

    • Ideological: Sanitization/contamination of Folk tales

    • Commodification of culture: audiences rather than children


Children’s Book Publishing in Canada

  • According to Statistics Canada:

    • 66% of children’s books sold in Canada are by Canadian authors

    • Canadian publishers have a total of 6 565 children’s book titles in print

    • In 2000-01, Canadian publishers sales of children’s books (both their own titles and ones licensed from foreign authors) totaled $194 235 000


Characteristics of Children’s Literature

  • Visual

  • Fantastic

  • Fun with language


Pictures


Fairy Tales


Songs and Poems


Hey Kids, Comics!


William Hogarth


William Hogarth


William Hogarth


Rodolphe Töpffer


The Comic Book


Super-heroes


Two Moral Panics

  • Literacy

  • Delinquency


Dr. Frederic Wertham


“Wonder Woman … is always a horror type. She is physically very powerful, tortures men, has her own female following, is the cruel, "phallic" woman. While she is a frightening figure for boys, she is an undesirable ideal for girls, being the exact opposite of what girls are supposed to want to be.”


“Only someone ignorant of the fundamentals of psychiatry and of the psychopathology of sex can fail to realize a subtle atmosphere of homoerotism which pervades the adventures of the mature ‘Batman’ and his young friend ‘Robin.’”


The Comics Code Authority


Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.


Although slang and colloquialisms are acceptable, excessive use should be discouraged and wherever possible good grammar shall be employed.


Respect for parents, the moral code, and for honorable behavior shall be fostered. A sympathetic understanding of the problems of love is not a license for moral distortion.


The treatment of love-romance stories shall emphasize the value of the home and the sanctity of marriage.


Where have all the children gone?

  • Dwindling child audience

  • Competition with television

  • Increasingly, readers AND creators are middle aged men who grew up reading comics


Superman For All Seasons


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