University of Tasmania
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The interpretation of fictional violence represented in illustrated books by Australian and Ukrainian gatekeepers of children's literature in educational contexts

posted on 2023-05-28, 00:26 authored by Halyna PavlyshynHalyna Pavlyshyn
This thesis explores perceptions of violence in picturebooks by children's literature gatekeepers in educational settings. The main aims of the study are to better understand how controversial picturebooks are selected and curated by teachers, librarians and parents. The research participants are teachers and librarians from Australia and Ukraine. The research is informed by grounded theory methodology. The research methods include interviews, and thematic analysis of the interviews. The findings reveal that gatekeepers of children's literature in Australian and Ukrainian contexts follow a complex and often semi-conscious decision-making process when selecting picturebooks for children. This process can be explored through child-centred, book-centred, and contextual dimensions. The gatekeepers pay attention to the levels of maturity and sensitivity of young readers, to picturebook genres, characters and settings which create different levels of fictionality and to illustrations. In addition, they consider the place and purpose of violence within picturebooks, the mode of reading used for a selected picturebook, and the context. When sharing controversial books with children, preferred modes of reading are classroom discussion with empathetic teachers and family reading with parents. Furthermore, the decisions are influenced by the gatekeepers' cultural backgrounds. In the process of picturebook selection, the role of teachers seems to be more significant in Australia, whereas parental authority seems to be greater in Ukraine. In summary, the research shows that teachers, librarians and parents make complex decisions to select what they deem to be appropriate reading for children and use a range of strategies to curate picturebooks representing violence.


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