Telling tales

Parental reactions to children’s picturebooks

Authored by: Richard Wong Kwok-Shing

Routledge International Handbook of Schools and Schooling in Asia

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138908499
eBook ISBN: 9781315694382
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315694382-43

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Abstract

This chapter is located around parental response to two children’s award-winning picturebooks. The parents included in the study came from two different historical, sociocultural and linguistic backgrounds: Chinese and European. Both The Very Slow Moving Snail and This Is Not My Hat have been awarded prestigious awards, but the main reason for their selection was that they were written and illustrated by authors who, like the parents in the study, had different backgrounds. The chapter argues that in reading the books, both sets of parents went through similar processes where the meaning of the picturebook was negotiated through interactions between text and images. Yet while the processes might have been similar, there were differences in parental reactions between each group, especially in the books that they dislike. The chapter goes on to explore the theories that the parents evoked and the specific constructions of the child and specific attachments to ideological beliefs concerning childhood that the parents referred to when they commented on a picturebook. The chapter goes on to question what potential consequences these constructions and beliefs could have in terms of children’s literacy practices. More important, however, the chapter considers the relationship between adult concerns and anxieties and children’s autonomy as readers and responders.

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