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edited by

KERRY MALLAN
First published 2014
Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)
Laura St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia
PO Box 3106, Marrickville Metro, NSW 2204
Tel: (02) 8020 3900
Fax: (02) 8020 3933
Email: info@petaa.edu.au
Website: www.petaa.edu.au
ISBN 978-1-875622-97-9

National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry

Title: Picture books and beyond / edited by Kerry Mallan contributors, Cherie Allan [and 8 others].
ISBN: 9781875622979 (paperback)
Notes: Other contributors: Geraldine Massey, Keryy Mallan, Amy Cross, Clare Bradford,
KumarasingheDissanayake Mudiyanselage, LenUnsworth, Erica Hateley, CatherineSly.
Includes bibliographical references and index.

Subjects: Picture booksHistory.


Picture books for childrenHistory.
Illustrated booksHistory.
Illustrated childrens booksHistory.

Other Creators/Contributors:
Mallan, Kerry, editor.
Allan, Cherie.
Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)

Dewey Number: 741.64


Copyright Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA) 2014

Cover and internal design by Nice Stuff


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Contents
About the contributors iv
Acknowledgements vi

Introduction: Picture books then, now and beyond


Kerry Mallan 1

1
Remembering the past through picture books
Cherie Allan 12

2
Picturing sustainable futures
Geraldine Massey 25

3
The artful interpretation of science through picture books
Kerry Mallan and Amy Cross 41

4
Fantasy and its functions
Clare Bradford 61

5
Encouraging empathy through picture books about
migration
Kumarasinghe Dissanayake Mudiyanselage 75

6
Investigating point of view in picture books and
animated movie adaptations
Len Unsworth 92

7
Touching texts: Adaptations of Australian picture books
for tablets
Erica Hateley 108

8
Em ering 21st century readers: Integrating graphic
novels into primary classrooms
Cathy Sly 123

References 148
Index 154
About the contributors
Cherie Allan is currently teaching a number of childrens literature units at
Queensland University of Technology. She has also worked on several AustLit
childrens literature projects. She gained her PhD in 2010, and her book, Playing
with picturebooks: Postmodernism and the postmodernesque (2012), was awarded the
International Research Society for Childrens Literatures (IRSCL) Honor Book
Award in 2013. She is affiliated with the Children and Youth Research Centre at
QUT.
Clare Bradford is Professor of Literary Studies at Deakin University in Melbourne.
Her books include Reading race: Aboriginality in Australian childrens literature (2001),
which won the Childrens Literature Association Book Award and the International
Research Society for Childrens Literature Award; Unsettling narratives: Postcolonial
readings of childrens literature (2007); New world orders in contemporary childrens literature:
Utopian transformations (2009) [with Mallan, Stephens and McCallum]; and
Contemporary childrens literature and film (2011) [with Mallan]; and The Middle Ages in
childrens literature (2015). She was President of the International Research Society for
Childrens Literature from 2007 to 2011. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy
of Humanities.
Amy Cross is a Research Assistant at Queensland University of Technology, where
she works on a number of childrens literature projects including Asian-Australian
childrens literature, and Australian childrens book awards. She has a Masters
in Childrens Literature, and is a co-author of PETAA Paper 193 Developing
intercultural understanding through Asian-Australian childrens literature. She is
also a Project Support Officer for the Children and Youth Research Centre, QUT.
Erica Hateley is a Senior Lecturer in childrens and adolescent literature in the
Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology. The research for her
chapter was supported by the Australian Research Council under the Discovery
Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme. Erica is passionate about the
possibilities and potential of literature in young peoples lives in classrooms,
libraries, and beyond and would love to hear about practitioners experiences with
picture books in all their forms. She can be reached at erica.hateley@qut.edu.au.
Kerry Mallan is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queensland University
of Technology and the Director of QUTs Children and Youth Research Centre. She
has published widely in childrens literature. Her most recent books are Secrets,
lies and childrens fiction (2013) and Contemporary approaches to childrens literature and film
with Clare Bradford (2011). She is a co-author of the PETAA Paper 193 Developing
intercultural understanding through Asian-Australian childrens literature.

iv Picture books and beyond


Geraldine Masseys love affair with picture books began when her sister took her
to the local council library where together they discovered an imaginative world
of words and pictures. Geraldine completed a PhD study in which she analysed
a selection of Australian childrens literature in relation to environmental ethics.
She taught at QUT as a tutor in degree courses such as B. Ed. (Primary) and B. Ed.
(Secondary), as well as the Graduate Diploma in Teacher-Librarianship. Geraldines
early career in both government and non-government schools included teaching
secondary English and working as a teacher-librarian. She still loves reading picture
books.
Kumarasinghe Dissanayake Mudiyanselage is a PhD candidate in the Faculty
of Education at Queensland University of Technology. He is currently researching
empathic potential of Australian multicultural childrens picture books about
immigration. Kumarasinghe has obtained a Master of Arts degree in Linguistics
from the University of Queensland. He is also a lecturer in language and literature
studies at University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. He has published two books and
several research articles that address various topics from Sinhalese language and
literature, as well as translation studies.
Cathy Sly is a PhD candidate in the School of Communication and Creative Arts
at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Currently she is researching notions of
narrativity in graphic novels, with a particular focus on Australian graphic novels
for children and young adults. She has taught English, Drama and History in NSW
Department of Education high schools and has worked as a writer, editor and
consultant for the School Libraries Learning Systems division of the NSW Office
of Public Schools.
Len Unsworth is Professor in English and Literacies Education within the Learning
Sciences Institute of Australia at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney.
His other publications focusing on childrens literature include: Teaching childrens
literature with Information and Communication Technologies (2005) [with Angela Thomas,
Alyson Simpson and Jenny Asha]; E-literature for children and classroom literacy learning
(2006); Reading visual narratives (2013) [with Clare Painter and Jim Martin]; English
Teaching and New literacies pedagogy: Interpreting and authoring digital multimedia narratives
(2014) [with Angela Thomas].

About the contributors


v
Acknowledgements
The authors and publisher gratefully acknowledge the use of the following copyright
material in this publication.
Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, for permission to
reproduce text and image from The three pigs by David Wiesner on page9. Magabala Books for
permission to reproduce the cover of Tjarany roughtail by Gracie Green & Joe Tamacchi, illustrated by
Lucille Gill on page4. Allen & Unwin for permission to reproduce: the cover of Remembering Lionsville
by Bronwyn Bancroft on page4; the inside front and back cover images from Going bush by Nadia
Wheatley and artist Ken Searleon pages34 & 35; text and images from The little refugee by Anh Do,
Suzanne Do & Bruce Whatley on pages81 and 82. Millbrook Press for permission to reproduce the
cover of Africa is not a country by Margy Burns Knight & Mark Melnicove, illustrated by Anne Sibley OBrien
on page6. Lothian Books, an imprint of Hachette Australia, for permission to reproduce: the image
from Memorial by Gary Crew, illustrated by Shaun Tan on page13; image and text from My grandad marches
on Anzac Day by Catriona Hoy, illustrated by Benjamin Johnson on page18; image and text from When
elephants lived in the sea by Jane Godwin & Vincent Agostin on pages48 and 49; image and text from The lost
thing by Shaun Tan on page105; image and text and cover of Rules of summer by Shaun Tan on pages118
& 119 Brian Caswell & Matt Ottley for permission to reproduce text and images from Hyram and B
on pages78, 79 & 80. Little Hare, an imprint of Hardie Grant Egmont, for permission to reproduce:
images and text from Lone Pine by Margaret Warner & Susie Brown, illustrated by Sebastian Ciaffaglion
on page17; text and images from My two blankets by Irena Kobald, illustrated by Freya Blackwood on
pages86, 87 and 88; text, images and cover from Look, a book! by Libby Gleeson, illustrated by Freya
Blackwood on pages110,111 & 114. Walker Books Australia for permission to reproduce text and
images from Simpson and his donkey by Mark Greenwood & Fran Lessac on page20. HarperCollins
Publishers (Australia) for permission to reproduce images from Leaf Litter: Exploring the mysteries of a
hidden world by Rachel Tonkin on page32. Roaring Books Press for permission to reproduce text and
images from Island: A Story of Galpagos on pages50 and 51 and Gravity on page53 by Jason Chin. Blue
Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., for permission to reproduce cover and text and images from
Ocean Sunlight by Molly Bang and Penny Chislom on pages54 & 55. Schwartz and Wade Books, an
imprint of Random House Childrens Books, for permission to reproduce text and images from The
watcher by Jeanette Winter on pages57 & 58. New Frontier publishing for permission to reproduce
text and images from A true person by Jacqui Grantford & Gabiann Marin on pages83 and 84. Ford
Street Publishing Pty Ltd for permission to reproduce text and images from Ships in the field by Susanne
Gervay & Anna Pignataro on page85. Scholastic Australia for permission to reproduce text and
images from I dont believe in dragons by Anna Walker on pages66 & 67; for images and text from The wrong
book by Nicholas Bland on page115. Templar Publishing for permission to reproduce text and images
from Knight night by Owen Davey on page72. Weston Woods Studio/Scholastic Corp for images from
the movie Where wild things are directed by G. Deitch. Terry Denton for permission to reproduce text
and images from Felix and Alexander on pages100 and 101 and Terry Denton and Australian Childrens
Television Foundation for stills from the movie Felix and Alexander on page101. Passion Pictures
Australia & Screen Australia for permission to use stills from The lost thing directed by Shaun Tan and
Andrew Ruhemannon on pages102, 103, 104, 105 and 106. Shaun Tan for permission to reproduce
stills from the iPad app for The rules of summer by Shaun Tan on pages120 and 121. Nicholas Bland
for permission to print screen capture from the iPad app of The wrong book on page116. Toon Books
for permission to reproduce text and images from Ottos orange day on page136. Working Title Press
and Ruth Starke and Greg Holfeld for permission to reproduce text and images from An Anzac tale on
page137.

While every effort has been made to trace and acknowledge copyright and ownership of all
included works, should any infringement have occurred, the publisher offers their apologies
and invite copyright owners to contact them.

vi Picture books and beyond


Introduction: Picture books then,
now and beyond

Kerry Mallan

T
he title of this book Picture books and beyond suggests it is about the
known and the unknown, the familiar and the unfamiliar. Picture books
are known and familiar objects to many children and adults. They have
been variously described as art objects, cultural documents, hybrid texts and
verbal-visual art forms. They have also been variously categorised according to
their readership ranging from very young children to older readers, the latter can
extend through the primary years to high school and even into adulthood. Scholars
and students study picture books as part of an evolving literary and cultural
landscape which has given rise to new genres and trends, such as multicultural
picture books, environmental picture books, postmodern picture books, and
what Cherie Allan terms, postmodernesque picture books, that is, picturebooks
about postmodernity (Allan, 2012, p.141). Picture books are also the staple
literature in many early years and primary school classrooms for literacy and
literary development, thus supporting the designated strands for literacy, literature,
and language in the Australian Curriculum: English.
For some time now digitisation has been repurposing existing picture book
texts and developing new forms of storytelling and textreader interactivity. This
transformation is ongoing and the inclusion of beyond in our title is intended to
capture this state of change, which includes the adaptation of picture books to
e-versions and films, as well as the popularity of graphic novels in recent years.
Graphic novels and comics are both like and not like picture books. Again, we
could say that they go beyond picture books in that while they are similarly
visual narratives, they are nevertheless distinctive and different forms of visual-
verbal texts. The same could be said for film adaptations and e-versions of picture
books. All of these forms are an already present and familiar part of the textual
landscape, yet the ever-evolving nature of experimentation and innovation in
childrens literature generally means that the field is constantly reinventing itself.
Consequently, beyond points to a future that cannot be known.
There have been many texts published about picture books concerning the theory
and practice that arise from their study and pedagogical application. Some of
these are included at the end of this chapter. Picture books and beyond is intended to
complement these existing resources thereby adding to a long standing dialogue
between writers and readers about the intriguing complexities of picture books.
Our focus in this book is primarily on the texts themselves, whereby we bring
our own distinctive meaning-making repertoire of strategies to the discussions
drawn predominantly from childrens literature studies, English education, social
semiotics, and visual grammatics (see Unsworth & Macken-Horarik, in press).
The individual chapters explore their own themes, topics, or genres war, fantasy,
sustainability, science, migration, animation, tablet technology, and graphic novels
and offer readers different entry points for reading and re-reading picture books
and their digital and filmic manifestations. We also invite teachers and other
educators to go beyond these examples to discover other texts and create new
teaching and learning possibilities that foster skills, knowledge, dispositions, and
enjoyment for students.
In this chapter I briefly outline some general trends and influences, histories,
and changes that have contributed to both the picture book and its digital
transformation. This is intended to set up a dialogue with the chapters which
explore picture books and other texts as works in their own right, and as texts
that can support the learning areas and general capabilities of the Australian
Curriculum, and some of its cross-curriculum priorities.

Picturing over time


As the subtitle of this chapter implies, picture books are part of a trajectory of
time then, now and beyond. Picture books have a past, a present and hopefully
a future. At this moment in time, which Ted Striphas (2009) calls the late age
of print, picture books and their kindred texts have not succumbed to the dire
predictions of the death of the book. This is in no small part due to the tenacity
and ingenuity of publishers who, while struggling with economic constraints,
continue to publish both print books and e-books, and experiment with the
materiality of texts (such as smart paper, a material that looks and feels like thick,
glossy paper, but is actually a controllable display surface). However, technological
change is probably not the driver that will hasten the end of the book, as economic
factors shaped by the behaviour of producers and consumers of texts will most
likely play a more important role.

2 Picture books and beyond


Picture books comprise a dynamic, constantly evolving form that responds to,
and possibly inspires, changes in the publishing industry, reading practices, and
technological advances. Jane Doonan (2014/1996, p.231) considers World War I
as the time from which significant changes occurred with respect to perceptions
about childhood, picture books, and publishing. Barbara Kiefer traces the
precursor to the modern picture book back much further citing rock paintings
in the Chauvet Pont de Arc caves in southern France, and other similar cave and
rock paintings, as the first picturebooks (2008, p.11). Kiefer defends her claim
by saying that although cave paintings do not resemble todays picturebook, they
may represent a similar aesthetic process (p.11). Australian Aboriginal rock art
is, of course, part of this long tradition of painting and engraving that contains
symbols and motifs whose meanings and stories may be known or unknown to the
viewer. The variety of styles and subject matter of rock paintings, from the distant
past and those from more recent times, reflect the diversity of Aboriginal cultures,
countries, stories, histories and ceremonies (see Aboriginal Art Online for further
information).
In her book Reading race: Aboriginality in Australian childrens literature (2001), Clare
Bradford draws attention to how Aboriginal illustration and picture books continue
to evolve, citing among her many examples, the first Aboriginal illustrations to
appear in a childrens book Australian legendary tales (Parker, 1896). The illustrations,
attributed anonymously as being drawn by an unnamed native artist, were
in fact produced by Tommy McRae, a noted and prolific Aboriginal artist who
lived around the Murray River area between Albury and Yarrawonga, and whose
drawings, principally silhouettes in ink, were collected by white settlers in the
area (Bradford, 2001, p.163). Bradford describes McRaes art as lively, inventive
and dramatic (p.164) in its depictions of hunting, fishing, and ritual fighting
scenes. However, unlike Kiefers acknowledgement of cave and rock paintings as
exemplifying a similar aesthetic process to Western ideas of picture books, McRaes
illustrations were judged at the time by well-known folklorist, Andrew Lang, to be
not ill done but nevertheless not conforming to the more (literate and valued)
European traditions of representational art (Bradford, 2001, p.163164).
From this early publishing of Aboriginal art in childrens books, Aboriginal
artists have made, and continue to make, a significant contribution to childrens
literature, across all genres and forms, experimenting with traditional Aboriginal
and European art styles, creating a rich diversity of texts that challenge, entertain,
and inform their readers. Picture books by Indigenous illustrators and writers, or
with non-Indigenous collaborators, illustrate some of the changes in picture book
subject matter, artistic styles, and modes of storytelling that reflect Aboriginal
traditions and cultural knowledges; developments in Indigenous and mainstream
publishing; and the relationships between Aboriginal and Western narrative
traditions. These texts are an important resource for the cross-curriculum priority:

Introduction: Picture books then, now and beyond


3
Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander histories and cultures.
See for example: the retelling
of traditional stories from the
peoples of Cape York in the
picture books by Dick Roughsey
(Gooballathaldin) (The giant devil
dingo, 1973) executed in oils but
with a distinctive style that draws
on Aboriginal art traditions;
The story of the falling star (1989)
by Elsie Jones uses a collage
colonial art, comic-book balloons,
photographs, maps in telling a
story from different storytellers;
the dual-language picture book,
Tjarany roughtail (1992) by Gracie
Greene, Joe Tramacchi and Lucille
Gill, relies on an oral storytelling
style to communicate directly
with its audience, with the visuals
incorporating maps executed
in a familiar Western style and
labels to facilitate reading of the
Indigenous paintings to which
they refer; Bronwyn Bancrofts
story of her familys life in
Remembering Lionsville: My familys
story (2013) is told in first person
and directly addressing the
reader. Bancrofts arresting artistic
style incorporates richly-textured
patterning of dots and lines, a
full-colour palette, borders with
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
motifs, and collages of
photographs and drawings.

Figure1
Front cover of two books by Aboriginal authors
and illustrators

4 Picture books and beyond


This small selection of texts spanning five decades shows how picture books by
Aboriginal artists and writers cannot be subsumed under a single category of
artistic style or subject matter. Rather, Aboriginal picture books relate in tangible
ways to the specific places and cultures from which they originate. They are
recognisably Aboriginal, but are inflected by the narrative and artistic traditions
of their producers. This point can be extended to the field of picture books more
generally in that many picture book artists have a recognisable style that draws on
art traditions but is nevertheless a product of their own particularised approaches
to representation and storytelling. Picture books define their category in many
ways, going beyond boundaries of sameness and conformity, while paradoxically,
maintaining a familiarity that ensures their continuity.

Imagining ourselves and others


The picture books produced by Aboriginal writers and illustrators serve as an
important reminder that reading and viewing are not only subjective activities
but also ones that are culturally and generationally shaped. As adults we read
and see the world according to our previous experiences, accumulated attitudes
and dispositions, and cultural backgrounds. The same is true for children who
bring their own histories and languages to their reading experiences. They also
bring their own generational perspectives to the world and to the text. Therefore,
we cannot assume that there will be a consensus of opinion, understanding, or
aesthetic appreciation of a picture book, film, graphic novel, or e-picture book that
we might share in the classroom.
Texts across different media and formats provide children with the cultural and
visual literacies and narrative patterns necessary for crafting their sense of self and
an appreciation of others in their society (Coats, 2008, p.76). For example, while
picture books about immigration might enhance childrens feelings of tolerance
and empathy for others, environmental texts may promote, as Geraldine Massey
notes in Chapter 2, childrens sense of themselves as ecocitizens or as having an
active role to play in achieving sustainable futures. These texts and others play an
important element in the scaffolding on which children build coherent and effective
selves (Coats, 2008, p.76).
Ones perception will also influence how a text will be received. In his influential
study Art and illusion (1960), Gombrich makes the point that: All perceiving
relates to expectations and therefore to comparisons (Gombrich, 1960, p.254).
Gombrich is drawing on perceptual psychology that argues that we carry with us
culturally informed mental templates and that what we see and reflect upon is

Introduction: Picture books then, now and beyond


5
continually adjusted to these templates. Instead of templates, John Stephens uses
the more expansive term schemas, which he describes as knowledge structures,
or patterns, which provide the framework for understanding (Stephens, 2011,
p.13). When readers encounter a story about a situation that is familiar, they will
accommodate this new information to their existing schema.
Celebrations are a familiar part of family and community life for many children.
However, when the celebration is about something that happened before a
childs living memory, such as the landing at Gallipoli, then children will need to
accommodate new information into their existing mental schemas. Cherie Allan, in
Chapter 1, discusses how individuals and societies celebrate victory (and defeat)
with parades and public holidays, and erect monuments to remember those who
died in service for their country. As Allan explains, stories handed down through
the generations or mythologised as historical truths, become the means for
children to understand and incorporate past and present identities of their families
and themselves as Australians.
In retelling stories about a nations past, there are inevitable omissions as well as
selective remembering. Picture books such as Shaun Tans celebrated graphic novel
The arrival (2006) invites reflection on migration and what it means to arrive in a Figure2
strange land where everything is different and unfamiliar. While there is no one Front cover of
universal migrant story, Tans text, which relies solely on visuals to communicate Africa is not a
country
the experience of an unnamed new arrival, is
one way in which readers can come to appreciate
that a nations story is never complete. Not only
does immigration continue to shape a countrys
story of itself, but in retelling its past, individuals
and groups who are marginal to the dominant
culture are often not included or are assigned
to a footnote. Children also need to read other
countries stories about national, personal and
community identities to enlarge their cultural
frames of reference and to reflect on how these
stories share similarities and differences to their
own. For example: My name is Yoon (Recorvits &
Swiatkowska, 2003) is a story of a Korean child
and her family as newly settled immigrants to
the United States; Whale Snow (Edwardson &
Patterson, 2003) provides insights into everyday
life of an Inuit family; Africa is not a country (Knight,
Melnicove & OBrien, 2000) explains the diversity
of cultures and geographies that characterise

6 Picture books and beyond


Africa; and Nice day for a war: Adventures of a Kiwi soldier in World War I (Ellliot & Slane,
2011) is a graphic novel for older readers.
Fiction for children has always dealt with questions of identity and sometimes the
discomforting topics of war and trauma. Whereas picture books once stayed away
from so-called taboo subjects such as death and trauma, these taboos, like many
others, have gradually melted away over past decades. My Hiroshima (Morimoto,
1987), The tin pot foreign general and the old iron woman (Briggs, 1984), and Rose Blanche
(Gallaz & Innocenti, 1985) were among the first picture books to introduce the
stark realism of war and its effects on innocent people, including children. These
texts can be seen as trying to evoke in readers (both child and adult) empathy
for the other, or what LaCapra suggests empathic unsettlement (LaCapra, 2001,
pp.4041) whereby readers can empathise but not over-identify with victims.
One can never know the experience of another, but students are often expected
to step in the shoes of the other as a way of creating an empathic response
or alignment with a characters circumstance. According to LaCapra, empathic
unsettlement enables readers to work through the issues represented in the text
rather than merely to sentimentalise victims. The strategies discussed in Chapter 6
by Len Unsworth provide important ways for examining how texts (both animation
and print) evoke empathy and alignment with characters (or distancing) from
constructions of point of view and access to the depiction of characters affect. In a
related way, Kumarasinghe Dissanayake Mudiyanselage, in Chapter 5, explains how
refugee-theme picture books may encourage children to develop a more empathic
viewpoint regarding refugees or asylum seekers which may be different from
popular media accounts.
Thus, texts about immigration, war, and trauma may accommodate a new
understanding to childrens schema about inclusion and exclusion, belonging, self
and other. Teachers play an important role in assisting children in reading these
texts to comprehend how a normal childhood schema is disrupted when the story is
about a child-refugees dangerous journey to Australia and subsequent life in a
detention centre, or when a childs way of life is destroyed by war.
Readers can also accommodate new understandings through stories that are
not steeped in reality, yet reference the real world of consumer culture. Fantasy
provides children with many familiar characters, settings, and artefacts such
as dragons, fairies, faraway kingdoms and magic wands. In Chapter 4, Clare
Bradford highlights how the abundance of medievalist cultural products picture
books, animated films, play and dressing-up props indirectly addresses many
contemporary issues that afford opportunities for reflection and discussion.
As Bradford explains, many of these playful texts that incorporate an imagined
Middle Ages of knights, battle, and magical creatures also provide children with

Introduction: Picture books then, now and beyond


7
instances of how characters manage other personal and interpersonal situations
that resonate with the real world such as encountering difficult situations, bullying,
stereotypes, and the consequences of making false assumptions. These texts
show how characters develop self-knowledge and confidence and build positive
relationships with others and thereby can assist in expanding readers frameworks
of understandings about themselves and others.

Playful textual encounters


The interplay between words and pictures in picture books is often discussed as
one of the genres defining features (except for wordless picture books). However,
interplay is not simply seeking a literal interpretation but often requires complex
meaning-making strategies, a point which I have made in relation to Aboriginal
picture books and others about personal and national identities, and cross-cultural
encounters. Graphic novels require further meaning-making strategies, as readers
need to negotiate the textual interplay that disrupts familiar reading practices and
conventions.
Graphic novels (and comics) have traditionally been regarded as existing outside of
the classroom. Their outlaw status was in fact an aspect of their appeal for children
and older readers, including adults. Until fairly recently graphic novels, except
those that adapted stories from classical literature (for example, the Classics
Illustrated series), were generally not found in classrooms and school libraries.
The reason being that they did not conform to the idea of proper literature, which
was regarded by some as deserving more respectful treatment than these so-called
popular comics. However, many publishers (and perhaps teachers) saw these texts
as easing the way for reluctant readers to move on to the more serious and longer
originals. As Cathy Sly notes in Chapter 8, the tide has turned and, as her examples
of graphic novels suitable for F7 suggest, this is no longer the case. Sly suggests
that graphic novels transgress boundaries between the visual and the verbal and
can empower children to become active meaning makers.
While reading texts requires complex encounters between text and reader, Kress
and van Leeuwen note that language and images each has its own possibilities
and limitations of meaning. Not everything that can be realised in language can
also be realised by means of images, and vice versa (Kress & van Leeuwen, 1996,
p.5). In picture books and graphic novels, the two semiotic modes are combined
in different ways and both modes are necessary for the construction of meaning.
Experimental or postmodern picture books often borrow from the storytelling
style of graphic novels and comics by attending to the materiality of type. As
Michael Joseph notes: The BAMs, oofs, twangs, ZAPS, etc. of comics visually and

8 Picture books and beyond


acoustically signify bodily sensations, with a rough, vernacular energy (Joseph,
2012, p.459). (Slys use of the graphic letters POW in the title of her chapter is
an acknowledgement of this characteristic of the genre that is the subject of her
chapter.) The postmodern picture book The three pigs (Wiesner, 2001) uses a common
graphic novel device of frame-breaking whereby characters appear to move out of a
panel giving a trompe-lil effect.

Figure3
Another form of playful encounters with texts is subsumed under the umbrella An example of
term edutainment, which in recent years has become a marketing strategy used a postmodern
picture book,
to promote what David Buckingham terms fun learning (2007, p.143). While some The three pigs
examples of edutainment are guilty of extracting any fun out of learning, others
are more engaging, even playful, in the ways they inform and entertain. Computer
games are commonly cited as being part of this broader edutainment strategy,
but we can also see a similar strategy being employed in information-style picture
books, e-picture books and apps.
Information picture books rely heavily on eye-catching, detailed illustrations, and a
varied design and layout intended to make complex concepts and ideas more easily
accessible. By encouraging children to read in a non-linear fashion, these texts
mimic, to some extent, the browsing and random reading practices of hypertexts and
digital interactivity of games and web pages. This random reading can encourage
both superficial and close reading as readers navigate the often complex and
multilayered format of the text with its juxtaposition of words and visuals, different
fonts, and sometimes fold-out pages, flaps, and other interactive design features.

Introduction: Picture books then, now and beyond


9
Chapter 3 by Kerry Mallan and Amy Cross examines a selection of information
picture books that conveys science concepts, ideas, and biographical accounts of
scientists through a successful integration of verbal and visual information. Some
science picture books are collaborations between scientists and picture book
illustrators and writers. These texts are another example of curriculum border
crossing, whereby picture books extend the boundaries of learning areas such as
Science and English, and open up new integrated possibilities for developing both
scientific literacy and visual aesthetic understanding (Sipe, 2008, p.131).
Digital texts such as e-books and apps are concerned with different modes or
semiotic resources for making meaning and undoubtedly embody the fun learning
aspect of the edutainment industry. As Erica Hateley explains in Chapter 7,
e-versions of picture books have varying degrees of interactivity and supplementary
features which move the reading experience beyond the print page. As Hateley
observes, the advent of tablet devices has brought about a significant change in
the e-picture book. Yokota and Teale agree and suggest that: we are now seeing
more digital print-sound-movement creations for children that arise not from
translating a picture book creation into a digital product but as multimedia,
interactive storytelling experiences borne out of the digital world itself (Yokota &
Teale, 2014, p.579).
The many different ways in which texts educate and entertain converge at one
point, that is, their ability to use story to communicate to an audience. Story and
storytelling are embedded practices in all cultures and have evolved over time from
cave drawings to digital stories. While we dont know what the next must have
device will be, we can probably be assured that picture books and tablets will be
part of this future, but not necessarily in their current form.

Structure of this book


Picture books and beyond is not a book about literacy teaching and learning. Nor is
it a book about language or literature. Rather, it encompasses all three aspects
and in this respect it aligns closely with the goals and directions of the Australian
Curriculum: English, which sees literacy, literature and language as interrelated.
In the chapters that follow, the authors offer possible readings and interpretive
opportunities that their sample texts invite through their complex interplay of
words and images, narrative strategies, digital interactivity, or filmic adaptation.
We provide suggestions to inform pedagogy by considering the potential of the
texts for enabling students to critically and creatively respond to the texts, as well
as beyond these examples. In so doing, the authors highlight, where appropriate,
the links to the curriculum, general capabilities, and cross-curriculum priorities.

10 Picture books and beyond


Suggestions are not intended as recipes but as indicators of possibilities that will
vary according to the interests and needs of students, and the resources at hand.
At the end of each chapter is a list of Additional texts. These are intended to lead
readers to other useful picture books, films, graphic novels, e-picture books and
apps that relate to the topics discussed.
There is an internal logic behind the sequence of the chapters, but this is not
something that is necessarily obvious or essential to grasp.The chapters can be
read in any order as each is independent but inevitably share an awareness of how
the texts can be used to enhance childrens pleasure in reading foremost, as well
as develop the more explicit enhancement of their knowledge, skills, critical and
creative capacities.

Additional texts about picture books


Anstey, M & Bull, G 2000 Reading the visual: Written and illustrated childrens literature, Harcourt
Australia, Marrickville, NSW.
Arizpe, E, Colomer, T & Martnez-Roldn, C 2014, Visual journeys through wordless narratives:
Aninternational inquiry with immigrant children and The arrival, Bloomsbury, London.
Haynes, J & Murris, K 2012, Picturebooks, pedagogy and philosophy, Routledge, New York.
Nikolajeva, M & Scott, C 2006 (2001), How picturebooks work, Routledge, New York.
Nodelman, P & Reimer, M 2003, Pleasures of childrens literature, Allyn and Bacon, Boston.
Painter, C, Martin, J R, & Unsworth, L 2013, Reading visual narratives: Image analysis of picture
books, Equinox, Sheffield, UK.
Pantaleo, S 2008, Exploring student response to contemporary picturebooks, University of Toronto
Press, Toronto.

Introduction: Picture books then, now and beyond


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