Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature

A scholarly publication devoted to critical essays on childre.'s literature, published three times a year. Articles include evaluations, history, and comparative discussion.

Articles

Vol. 18, No. 2, December

Editorial
The theme of the Eighth International Conference of the Australasian Children's Literature Association for Research (ACLAR), held at Victoria University of Wellington on 27-29 June 2008, was 'Other Worlds in Children's Literature: Fantasy, Reality...
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Fantasy as Epanalepsis: 'An Anticipation of Retrospection'
I begin with a paragraph that unaccountably disappeared when something I wrote for the book The Gothic in Children s Literature, transferred from my computer to the publisher's computer. Somehow or other, a paragraph in my essay on the vampire novel,...
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'Abandoned Boys' and 'Pampered Princes': Fantasy as the Journey to Reality in the Harry Potter Sequence
With the publication of the seventh and final novel in the Harry Potter sequence, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007), it is at last possible to judge not only the thematic agendas of the sequence but also its overarching narrative strategy....
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Fantasy Motif Metaphors: Magical Powers as Exceptionality in Disney's the Incredibles and Zizou Corder's Lion Boy Trilogy
While works of the fantasy genre convey literal stories which make sense according to the laws of their fictional worlds, the very impossibilities of these narratives invite further readings of their 'secondary or tertiary levels of meaning' (Bleiler...
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'Do What You Wish or Wish What You Want?' Michael Ende's Fantastica and Rudolf Steiner's Moral Imagination
In Ende's The Neverending Story, a boy named Bastian travels into the fantasy world of Fantastica which is being eaten up by 'Nothing' (Ende 1983, p. 19). He saves this ailing world by giving a new name to its ruler, the Childlike Empress, and goes...
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Towards Reclaiming the Colonised Mind: The Liberating Fantasies of Duiker and Ihimaera
Ursula le Guin once observed that 'the story - from Rumpehtiltskin to War and peace - is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind, for the purpose of gaining understanding' and that while 'there have been great societies that did not use the...
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Conflicting Ideologies in Three Magical Realist Children's Novels by Isabel Allende
A recent movement to establish ecopoetic frames in children's literature has led to the exploration of a critical confluence of magical realism with ecocriticism. Because of a common capacity to interrogate dominant Western value systems, magical realist...
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Mise En Abyme and the Ontological Uncertainty of Magical Events in at the Back of the North Wind
George MacDonald's novel At the Back of the North Wind tells the story of a boy's magical journey with a mysterious figure, the North Wind, who reveals to the boy his spiritual life. This novel has been categorised as fantasy, in spite of the fact...
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The Real Lies: The Simulacrum in Catherine Fisher's the Oracle
Fiction written for children and young adults has absorbed postmodern culture in many ways, overtly in some picture books, and more covertly in other young adult fiction. One aspect of postmodernism is concerned with what is real, what is more real,...
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Haunted Histories: Time-Slip Narratives in the Antipodes
In a startling moment in Margaret Mahy's The Tricksters, Harry draws apart from the rest of her family in her attic bedroom in the family beach house, Carnival's Hide, She looks into a mirror and sees her image dismantle, allowing a very different,...
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Flights of Fantasy? or Space-Time Compression in Asian-Australian Picture Books
Metaphors of hybridity and the like not only recognize difference within the subject, fracturing and complicating holistic notions of identity, but also address connections between subjects by recognizing affiliations, cross-pollinations, echoes...
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Gossip Girls in a Transmedia World: The Sexual and Technological Anxieties of Integral Reality
The proliferation of sexualised imagery of children and adolescents - especially girls - within media and advertising has elicited considerable public debate and academic discussion within Australia and overseas. Within these debates, girls are commonly...
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Behind the Bum: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Andy Griffiths' Bum Trilogy
Anal jokes abound in Andy Griffiths' trilogy of novels for children. The Day My Bum Went Psycho (2001)1, Zombie Bums From Uranus (2003) and Bumageddon (2005). The titles of the second and third volumes give a fair idea of the quality and makeup of...
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Vol. 18, No. 1, May

Editorial
The cover of this issue of Papers features an image which appears in the First Book of the Victorian Readers, originally published in 1928. As Jane McGennisken demonstrates in her essay on Australian mythologies of childhood in the Tasmanian and Victorian...
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'A Little Child Shall Lead Them': Tasmanian and Victorian School Readers and National Growth
Reading, one of the 'three Rs' still fundamental to educational theory and reconceptualisations of literacy teaching and learning, is a complex socio-cultural practice. Recent attacks on critical literacy approaches to teaching English reveal that...
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'A Great Ghastly Mistake'?: Approaches to Teenage Pregnancy in K. M. Peyton's Pennington's Heir and Berlie Doherty's Dear Nobody
Nearly two decades separate the publication of K. M. Peyton's Pennington's Heir (1973) and Berlie Doherty's Dear Nobody (1991), both of which focus on the theme of teenage pregnancy. Dear Nobody won the Carnegie Medal, was shortlisted for four other...
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'You Molded Me like Clay': David Almond's Sexualised Monsters
Monsters and the Gothic fiction that creates them are therefore technologies, narrative technologies that produce the perfect figure for negative identity. Monsters have to be everything the human is not and, in producing the negative of the...
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Comparative Children's Literature: What Is There to Compare?
Literary texts do not appear in a vacuum. Literature in Western society has been written for several thousand years, and literature written specifically for children has existed for at least two hundred years. Thousands of children's books are published...
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Lying, or Storytelling, as Antidote to Unhappiness in Robin Klein's Hating Alison Ashley and Anne Fine's A Pack of Lies and Goggle-Eyes
Lying and poetry are arts--arts, as Plato saw, not unconnected with each other-and they require the most careful study, the most disinterested devotion. --Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying A great man-a man whom nature has constructed and invented...
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Playfulness in Lauren Child's Picture Books
Lauren Child is the author/illustrator of thirteen picture books, four board books and three novels, most prominently the Clarice Bean series and the Charlie and Lola series. (1) She has been feted as 'one of Britain's foremost children's writers and...
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Australian Children's Literature Digital Resources Project
The online database AustLit: the Australian Literature Resource (http://www.austlit.edu.au/) has recently secured funding from the Australian Research Council to embark on a number of projects to enhance the services provided to researchers, teachers...
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Vol. 17, No. 2, December

Beyond Dualism: Towards Interculturality in Pictorialisations of Miyazawa Kenji's 'Snow Crossing' (Yukiwatari)
Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933) is one of Japan's most renowned authors and his many children's stories (dowa) represent a Buddho-animist quest for a more integrated cosmos. In his desire for this kind of holism, Kenji was largely writing against all the...
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Cross-Generational Negotiations: Asian Australian Picture Books
Children's texts habitually hinge upon narratives of growth and development, modelling to their readers how children and young people become autonomous and other-regarding individuals. In Australian literature for children these narratives of development...
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Embodying a Racialised Multiculturalism: Strategic Essentialism and Lived Hybridities in Hoa Pham's No One like Me
Hoa Pham's writing crosses the genres of junior, young adult, and adult fiction. She has written two short novels for beginning readers of English, Forty-Nine Ghosts (1998) and No One Like Me (1998), a full-length young adult novel, Quicksilver (1998),...
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'I Don't like Your Kind of People': Cultural Pluralism in Odo Hirsch's Have Courage, Hazel Green
As the twentieth century progressed, 'ethnicity' as much as 'race' became an issue that confronted national myths of social homogeneity. Global movements of people, especially post-World War II, unsettled the link between nation and race and/or ethnicity...
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Not Quite White (Enough): Intersecting Ethnic and Gendered Identities in Looking for Alibrandi
That Melina Marchetta's young adult novel Looking for Alibrandi (1992) remains one of the highest selling Australian Young Adult novels suggests the ease with which migrant identities are accepted and even celebrated in contemporary Australian culture....
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Children in Detention: Juvenile Authors Recollect Refugee Stories
In the last thirty years or so, one of the most swiftly growing areas in children's literature is fiction and autobiographical writing, dealing with the past and present of young people, who are deprived of their homes and ambivalently caught between...
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Exploring Issues of National Identity, Ideology and Diversity in Contemporary Canadian Picture Books
Picture books are one of the first points of contact for children to interact with verbal and visual representations of national identity and they can be an ongoing medium for literary engagement throughout children's schooling. Contemporary picture...
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Building Cultural Citizenship: Multiculturalism and Children's Literature
In his influential book White Nation: Fantasies of White Supremacy in a Multicultural Society (1998), Ghassan Hage compares different versions of multiculturalism using an example from a children's book, The Stew that Grew by Michael and Rhonda Gray....
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The Hegemony of Western Categorisation and the Underdevelopment of Children's Literature in 'Other' Worlds
This paper seeks to explore some problems relating to academic research in children's literature as faced by graduate students and scholars in Taiwan, to discuss the extent to which the development of children's literature in other countries may be...
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In the Same Boat: National Identity and Taiwanese Picture Books
Diakiw (1997) argues that national literatures articulate cultural and national identities constructed over time. The study of how children's literature examines and reveals identity and shared values is not unusual as seen in the work of Bainbridge...
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Vol. 16, No. 2, December

Editorial
In this issue of Papers we publish essays based on a selection of conference papers at the Seventh International Conference of the Australasian Children's Literature Association for Research (ACLAR) held in Melbourne on 13-14 July, 2006. The cover...
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'Cutting It' in New Times: The Future of Children's Literature?
In 1998, I attended my first ACLAR conference at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga (NSW). John Stephens gave the keynote address and his paper was principally concerned with what children's literature scholars were interested in--namely, what theoretical/critical...
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Under the Wire: Detainee Activism in Australian Children's Literature
[T]he responsibility that owes nothing to my freedom is my responsibility for the freedom of others. There where I could have remained spectator, I am responsible, that is to say again, speaking. (Levinas 2003, p. 55) One of the emerging sub-genres...
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Intra-Active: The Child/animal in Children's SF
In 1979 Ruth Hubbard asserted that 'science is the most respected legitimator of new realities' (Hubbard et al 1979, p.8-9). Science, however, is quite clearly political, particularly the speed, competition, capital and power which underpins it's overarching...
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Capitalism Run Wild: Zizou Corder's Lion Boy and Victor Kelleher's Dog Boy
While capitalism has long made highly efficient ideological use of Darwin's 'survival of the fittest' principle to justify ruthless business practices, this appropriation of animal metaphor has taken on new and considerably more problematic resonances...
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Moonlit Revelations: The Discourse of the End in Gina B. Nahai's Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith
Young adult fiction often engages with what Derrida terms a discourse of the end, a paradoxical notion that is evident--yet hidden--in such fictions. For Derrida, a discourse of the end is the haunted existence that surrounds extreme events, where...
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From Eden to Suburbia: Perspectives on the Natural World in Children's Literature
Books with a focus on the natural world are written for young readers with a variety of purposes, but broadly speaking constitute a spectrum measured by the degree of emphasis and/or explicitness falling on information or advocacy. At any point along...
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A Sporting Chance: Class in Markus Zusak's the Messenger and Fighting Ruben Wolfe
The final decades of the twentieth century saw a shift in popular attitudes to class. Class location came to be viewed as a product of individual merit and self-responsibility, obscuring the role played by social structure and power. As a consequence,...
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'They Don't Know Us, What We Are': An Analysis of Two Young Adult Texts with Arab-Western Protagonists
Since 9/11, when Arabs in the West found themselves under suspicion, the way Arabs could be portrayed in Young Adult fiction has become complicated. This paper will look at two examples of this fiction to explore the difficult position characters in...
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'Does My Bomb Look Big in This?' Representing Muslim Girls in Recent Australian Cultural Texts
Since 9/11 there has been a spate of cultural texts for young people which attempt to move away from the sensationalised connotation and reductive stereotyping of the Muslim as the homogenised, dehumanised, violent and/or exoticised pariah/Other, and...
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Defining Magical Realism in Children's Literature: Voices in Contemporary Fugue, Texts That Speak from the Margins
During the latter half of the twentieth century authors of children's fictions have explored boundary transgressions between fantastic and mimetic genres. While contemporary narrative texts continue this heritage, magical realist texts are differentiated...
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Anime Haibane Renmei (Charcoal Feather Federation): An Enclave for the Hurt, Alienated Souls
Anime is an audiovisual, symphonic narrative form characterised by diversity, fluidity, hybridity and intertexuality. The abundant borrowing of images is a common practice in both manga and anime, and is considered as homage to the pretext and/or the...
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Stop All the Clocks: Time in Postmodern Picture Books
Time, according to Ursula Heise (Heise 1997, p.48), is one of the most fundamental parameters through which narrative is organised and understood and the mode by which we mediate and negotiate human temporality. This human experience of time depends...
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We Enter a Time of Calamity: Informed and 'Informated' Youth Inside and outside Young Adult Fiction
Young people's interactions with new media and communication technologies are currently popular subjects of debate and analysis in academia, the media and young adult science fiction. But while academic research increasingly highlights the complexity...
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An Awfully Big Adventure: Killing Death in War Stories for Children
In her useful summary of the growth of discourses dealing with issues of death and dying Kerry Mallan offers a list of 'causes of death [which] covers all possibilities: disease, accident, suicide, murder, execution, old age, childbirth, birth defects...
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Great Mind Matures Slowly, but Has No Equal in Its Time: Journey to the West as a Genuine Fairytale Novel
Books Past, Books Now (1) In order to gain deeper understanding of the laws governing the movement of present-day fairytale narration, this paper investigates the property of the fairytale novel of the Chinese classical work Journey to the West...
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Influences of Translated Children's Texts upon Chinese Children's Literature
Introduction The year 1898 witnessed the beginning of western children's works being translated into Chinese by Chinese people. Some of Aesop's Fables were translated and published in a newspaper entitled Wuxi Baihua Bao. (1) In the same year, Daniel...
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A Chosen Sacrifice: The Doomed Destiny of the Child Messiah in Late Twentieth-Century Children's Fantasy
The story is familiar. A child is born. It is identified by a mark, prophecy, auspicious birth, or wise soothsayer. A lightning bolt on a forehead. The world rejoices at the birth of the Child Messiah, and hope for the future is restored. Though it...
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Are You Talking to Me? Hailing the Reader in Indigenous Children's Literature
Indigenous-authored children's books are frequently subjected to a non-Indigenous gaze in both their production (editing, design and so on) and reception. The texts discussed here address their many readers, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, child...
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Constituting Christopher: Disability Theory and Mark Haddon's; the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
In Extraordinary Bodies: figuring disability in American culture and literature, Rosemary Garland Thompson contends that disability is another 'culture-bound, physically justified difference to consider along with race, gender, class, ethnicity and...
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Narrative in Robyn Kahukiwa's Matatuhi: Culture and Narrative
The question of a dominating Western metanarrative in postcolonial societies has particular significance when people write for children in a bi-cultural situation. In a recent study the Maori scholar Jon Battista shows that fictional texts written...
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Postcolonial Transformation and Traditional Australian Indigenous Story
Published in 1964, The Legends of Moonie Jarl, told by Wilf Reeves and illustrated by his sister Olga Miller, marked a new direction in Australia's literary history. My examination of the history of traditional Australian Indigenous stories for children...
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Cultural Explorations of Time and Space: Indigenous Australian Artists-In Residence, Conventional Narratives and Children's Text Creation
Introduction This paper details a project, funded by the University of Ballarat in Victoria, which addresses a local problem of schools' lack of acknowledgement of their being positioned on traditional owners' land. In addressing this issue, I am...
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'Like Columbine! Viva Columbine!' Abjection and the Representation of School Violence in Young Adult Fiction
Young adult literature has long been characterised as a genre concerned with the process of coming-of-age, and as such is implicated in Western cultural notions of teenagers: who they are, what is important to them, what they are capable of. When real-life...
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'Advocating and Celebrating the Abomination of Sodomy': The Cultural Reception of Lesbian and Gay Picturebooks
Tale of 'gay family' angers Tories. LONDON. A schoolbook about a five-year-old girl who lives with her father and his homosexual lover has raised the ire of the Thatcher Government which is seeking to ban it. Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin...
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Gender Trouble in Arcadia or a World of Multigendered Possibility? Intersubjectivity and Gender in the Wind in the Willows
'Liberal' feminist readings: Misogynistic overtones in The Wind in the Willows According to Peter Green, sex (and more particularly puberty/adolescence) is one of the 'great enemies' in Kenneth Grahame's world because it signals the end of childhood...
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Starving Desire: New (Deleuzean) Readings of Anorexia in Australian Young Adult Fiction
Anorexia nervosa is recognised as a particularly prevalent disorder among young adult women and much attention has been paid to its multifarious 'causes'. Intense media scrutiny of the issue has spilled over into the fictional representations of the...
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Vol. 16, No. 1, May

Editorial
This issue of Papers represents a milestone in the journal's history as we say farewell to Robin Pope, and welcome Kerry Mallan to the role of co-editor. Robin has been editing Papers since 1995/6, when Deakin took over the journal from the Magpies...
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Performativity and the Child Who May Not Be a Child
Performativity, one of the most recent buzz words in literary studies, is a concept with complex origins, going back at least half a century. Some of the elements discussed under its rubric originate in the domain of theatre performance studies,...
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Making Magic: (Hetero)sexual (In)visibility in Scandinavian Young Adult Novels
In Scandinavia, there is a commonly held assumption that gender equality has already been accomplished. In fictional representations, however, gender and sex roles are more problematic. This study of the depiction of girlhood in Scandinavian young...
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Over Her Dead Body: Expelling the Monstrous-Feminine in Touching Earth Lightly
Death and sex/uality are inextricably linked in the Western cultural imagination. The French slang term for 'orgasm' (la petite mort) is said to literally translate as 'little death', for instance, while the 'sex-leading-to-death' motif is pervasive...
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Sex Education, Hollywood Style: Gender, Sexuality and Identity in the Girl Next Door
Films do more than entertain, they offer up subject positions, mobilize desires, influence us unconsciously, and help to construct the {cultural} landscape. Deeply imbricated within material and symbolic relations of power, movies produce...
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Just Telling It like It Is? Representations of Teenage Fatherhood in Contemporary Western Young Adult Fiction
The word "father" scares the life out of me. How can I be a father at sixteen, seventy miles away from a girl I hardly know and a baby I've never seen? (Reckless 2002, p.160) Baby hands. Warm, sweet-smelling baby hands. And all I can...
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The Theme of Premature Burial in Garth Nix's Early Novels
Over the past fifteen years Garth Nix has established himself as a leading Australian writer of Gothic fantasy for children and young adults. His fantasy quest novels mingle elements from sword and sorcery and Gothic horror, with the horror element...
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Vol. 15, No. 2, September

Editorial
The title of this special issue--Spaces of Transformation--encapsulates the exciting possibilities opened up by the kinds of writing for children and young people considered by the contributors. Responding to an invitation to write on topics under...
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New Social Orders: Reconceptualising Family and Community in Utopian Fiction
The family is the cradle into which the future is born; it is the nursery in which the new social order is nourished and reared during its early and most plastic period. (Sidney Goldstein, Marriage and Family Living, 1946) (1) When Goldstein...
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Education, State and Agency in Dystopian Children's Texts
Formulations of utopian and dystopian societies have always engaged with the politics of state power and government, since the better worlds envisaged in utopian thinking commonly rely on the interplay of individual, communitarian and political interests...
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Allan Baillie's Secrets of Walden Rising as Critical Dystopia: Problematising National Mythologies
Allan Baillie's Secrets of Walden Rising (1996) is a novel about 'the politics of history' (Fernandez 2001, p. 42) and an examination of the text's significant challenges to the dominant historical stories of its time seems appropriate as Australia's...
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'Belonging' in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction: New Communities Created by Children
In this paper I will discuss the role that young adults play in the creation of new communities governed by young people in four dystopian novels set during the fragmentation of society in the near future. I will focus on novels narrated by or focalised...
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'When I Was a Child I Thought as a Child ...': The Importance of Memory in Constructions of Childhood and Social Order in a Selection of Post-Disaster Fictions
This paper will analyse the construction of childhood in three post-disaster texts for young readers: Ruth Hooker's Kennaquhair, Robert C. O'Brien's Z for Zachariah, and Hugh Scott's Why Weeps the Brogan?, exploring how the relationship between particular...
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Desiring Perception: Finding Utopian Impulses in Shaun Tan's the Lost Thing
In his picture book The Lost Thing (2000), Shaun Tan visually depicts a futuristic Melbourne, Australia as a dystopic industrialised modernist cityscape. Melbourne flattens into a sepia-toned city comprising buildings and people that echo each other...
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Vol. 15, No. 1, March

Editorial
In the way that submissions to journals sometimes observe a strange synchronicity, this issue commences with three essays focusing on film. Relatively little work has been carried out on the ideologies of films designed specifically for children or...
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'You Can't Say No to the Beauty and the Beast': Shrek and Ideology
In 2002 the Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced that we are living in 'the post-feminist stage of the debate.' As Anne Summers documents in The End of Equality: Work, Babies and Women's Choices in Twenty-First Century Australia (2003),...
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Food Poisoning: Surplus and Suffering in Contemporary Children's Film
It is perhaps unsurprising that the intended viewing audience of mainstream children's films (in the Western world at least) are assumed to be well fed. The opening line of Dreamworks' 2004 hit feature Shark Tale foregrounds this relationship between...
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E.T. Go Home: Indigeneity, Multiculturalism and 'Homeland' in Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema
In Gwendolyn Audrey Foster's investigation of the performance of whiteness in Hollywood cinema, she claims that Science Fiction cinema is 'a zone in which issues of race can be evaded' (2003, p.11). Indeed, both Science Fiction books and cinema have...
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Seeing and Understanding: Narrative Technique in Berlie Doherty's Dear Nobody
Berlie Doherty's young adult novel Dear Nobody was first published in 1991 and won the Carnegie Medal in the following year. It has since been made into a radio play, a television screen-play, and a theatre script, and has been translated into sixteen...
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Examination, Surveillance and Confession in Victorian and Late 20th Century Texts
That childhood, adolescence and adulthood are culturally constructed categories is almost a truism in critical writing on children's literature. However, the jury is still out on the extent to which modern views of childhood constitute what Michel...
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Of the Postmodernists' Party without Knowing It: Philip Pullman, Hypermorality and Metanarratives
Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy is thematically concerned with resisting existing social codes and practices, particularly those linked with the practice of organized religion. Pullman attempts to establish a secular humanist metanarrative...
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Situating Childhood: A Reading of Spatiality in Aboriginal Picture Books
There is no unspatialized social reality (Soja 1996, p. 46). Representing spatiality Stuart Hall contends that '[p]ractices of representation always implicate the positions from which we speak or write--the positions of enunciation' (1996, p. 110)....
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Vol. 14, No. 2, November

Editorial
When The Who sang about teenage angst in the 60s, their rock anthem 'Talking about my Generation' captured the divide between youth and beyond. Today, another divide--the digital divide--speaks to the issues of access, capital, and input that follow...
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Potterliteracy: Cross-Media Narratives, Cultures and Grammars
There is something Janus-faced about the Harry Potter novels. As Nicholas Tucker observes (1999), they look backwards in time to their sources in folktale and children's literature: to the orphan changeling stories of fairytale and of Frances Hodgson...
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Reading outside the Book
The concept of reading and the concept of the book seem like natural partners. Many icons designed to express the idea of reading include a book as an essential information-bearing element of the design. Although reading has always included other materials--newspapers,...
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Remember Not to Die: Young Girls and Video Games
'Remember not to die. All you have to do is not die and you'll win. How easy is that?' In this paper about girls and video games I shall criticise the notion that a central issue for girls is the kind of games available to them. Instead, I argue...
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(W)reading, Wrangling and the Rhythm of the Text: Enhancing the Education of Young Boys with Game-Based Learning
Connecting curriculum content to young people's engagement with texts outside of the classroom is increasingly recognized as a method of providing challenging learning environments (Beavis 1999). The introduction of games-based learning in areas such...
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'Nothing Dirty about Turning on a Machine': Loving Your Mechanoid in Contemporary Manga
If something not human has emotions ... then it would be considered sentient--alive--just like a human. If it's the same as a human, it wouldn't be wrong to love that thing. (Chobits 8, p.93) The relationships in contemporary manga and...
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Simplification: The Sims and Utopianism
While the emergent forms of visual digital media--spectacle cinema, computer animation, music video, arcade and computer games--are not solely the province of youth, young people are arguably those in the culture most involved with them. Indeed, it...
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Proliferating Subjectivities and the New Media
Being asked to be a respondent to an issue of a journal causes one to wonder about the editorial logic. It could mean that one is an expert in the field, or that the editors know one is likely to make all the contributors feel good by applauding the...
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