Abstract

Abstract:

The article analyzes contemporary representations of disability in children's picture books that elide visual markers of difference in the name of inclusion. Based on detailed readings of the picture books Susan Laughs (Willis) and My Pal, Victor/Mi Amigo, Víctor (Bertrand) from a media literacy perspective, the argument is that a potentially productive inclusion of characters with disabilities can lead to their narrative erasure by constructing the disability as an individualized problem that needs to be hidden. This narrative erasure and individualization of disability is also prevalent in pedagogical texts including current English as a Foreign Language (EFL) textbooks in Germany, where disability is only superficially engaged. The investigation of online commentaries confirms that the promotion, circulation, and reception of children's picture books remains strongly embedded in an ableist framework that manifests in "special needs" language use, inclusion discourses, and overcoming narratives. Contrasting these two picture books to No Fair to Tigers/No Es Justo Para los Tigres (Hoffman), the article encourages a DisCrit discourse about picture books that juxtaposes individualized readings of disability with narratives about disabling societal structures that do not shun depicting the lived reality of impairment.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1757-6466
Print ISSN
1757-6458
Pages
pp. 303-319
Launched on MUSE
2018-08-14
Open Access
No
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