CFP Edited Collection: Monstrous Moral Messengers: Supernatural Figures in Children’s Picture Books and Early Readings

Call for articles for this edited collection. I’ve posted it a bit late but there’s still time!

Please submit a 300 word abstract and a brief scholarly bio to Leslie Ormandy at monstrousmessengers@gmail.com . The closing date for submissions is June 10, 2015.

Picture books and early readers carry all the weight of parental authority, and are essential tools in the learning process for our children. With their bright pictures, they perform their function of holding the child’s attention quite well, and they are accessed freely and repeatedly. They offer children not only hours of sanctioned entertainment and carefully chosen words and concepts, they also introduce our youngest children to specific cultural norms and belief systems. What role then does the supernatural character play for children learning to “read” and interpret the values in the interplay of images, words, and authority? Is there a difference, for the child, when the protagonist shown in the picture is a werewolf, fairy, or ghost? What message is offered to a viewing child when the image of the antagonist is a vampire, troll, or god? Does the very fact that the character is supernatural alter the reading? And is it meant to alter the meaning? At this point, there is no text addressing these questions; although there is an increasing amount of scholarship regarding how the various supernatural characters (and monstrous children) reflect various adult issues when they appear within film and television. I think it is perhaps more important to understand what messages are being offered our children through the same, albeit simplified, medium of pictorial texts which offer a sanctioned teaching medium for learning the semiotics which children are praised for interpreting. This book is meant to begin the exploration of what cultural norms and morals are being offered our children in images via this medium since picture books and early readers are not just sanctioned, but encouraged.

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