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The Romantic Legacy in the Literature of Childhood
Postcolonial Readings of Children’s Literature
Children’s books seek to assist children to understand themselves and their world. Unsettling Narratives: Postcolonial Readings of Children’s Literature demonstrates how settler-society texts position child readers as citizens of postcolonial nations, how they represent the colonial past to modern readers, what they propose about race relations, and how they conceptualize systems of power and government.
Clare Bradford focuses on texts produced since 1980 in Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand and includes picture books, novels, and films by Indigenous and non-Indigenous publishers and producers. From extensive readings, the author focuses on key works to produce a thorough analysis rather than a survey. Unsettling Narratives opens up an area of scholarship and discussionthe use of postcolonial theoriesrelatively new to the field of children’s literature and demonstrates that many texts recycle the colonial discourses naturalized within mainstream cultures.
Feminist Voices in Children's Novels
The Sleeping Beauty in Roberta Seelinger Trites' intriguing text is no silent snoozer passively waiting for Prince Charming to energize her life. Instead she wakes up all by herself and sets out to redefine the meaning of “happily ever after.” Trites investigates the many ways that Sleeping Beauty's newfound voice has joined other strong female voices in feminist children's novels to generate equal potentials for all children.
Waking Sleeping Beauty explores issues of voice in a wide range of children's novels, including books by Virginia Hamilton, Patricia MacLachlan, and Cynthia Voight as well as many multicultural and international books. Far from being a limiting genre that praises females at the expense of males, the feminist children's novel seeks to communicate an inclusive vision of politics, gender, age, race, and class. By revising former stereotypes of children's literature and replacing them with more complete images of females in children's books, Trites encourages those involved with children's literature—teachers, students, writers, publishers, critics, librarian, booksellers, and parents—to be aware of the myriad possibilities of feminist expression.
Roberta Trites focuses on the positive aspects of feminism: on the ways females interact through family and community relationships, on the ways females have revised patriarchal images, and on the ways female writers use fictional constructs to transmit their ideologies to readers. She thus provides a framework that allows everyone who enters a classroom with a children's book in hand to recognize and communicate—with an optimistic, reality-based sense of “happily ever after”—the politics and the potential of that book.
A Look at Canadian Children's Literature in English
When Russel B. Nye and Martin Gardner teamed up to bring out a new edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, theirs was the first critical analysis of L. Frank Baum American classic. The book opens with an essay by Nye, entitled "An Appreciation," which is an overview of Baum's creative and imaginative genius. Nye explores the reasons why earlier critics virtually ignored the Oz stories. Gardner, in his essay, "The Royal Historian of Oz," presents a brief biographical sketch, revealing little-known facts about this prolific writer. The volume also contains the complete, original text of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, along with many original illustrations by artist W. W. Denslow.