Abstract

This study surveys twelve recent children's books focused on the ritualized event of School Picture Day in American schools; ten were written in the late 1990s and most after 2000. Collectively, they reveal children's preoccupation with loose or missing teeth and bad hair (or haircuts); these recurring themes obliquely address more generalized childhood fears and anxieties about social acceptance and personal appearance. Close readings of these texts and their illustrations further reveal their subservience to adult agendas, and adult anxiety concerned with the documentary power of photography, self-presentation as social performance, and the normalizing functions of American educational institutions.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1553-1201
Print ISSN
0885-0429
Pages
pp. 313-331
Launched on MUSE
2007-01-22
Open Access
No
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