Picture Books Representations And Narrative Essay


This article discusses how the shared reading of wordless picture books can contribute to the promotion of parental educational engagement by fostering shared visual reading practices. Prior research shows that wordless picture books contribute to making the reader feel in the story, and facilitate the process of empathy and participation. The content analysis of data collected during a reading project, which involves shared reading with children and their parents, reveals that child-parent shared reading of a visual narrative establishes intense interaction and collaboration, a deep emotional relationship and promotes and enhances the role of the family in an expanded learning community.

Keywords: wordless picture books; shared visual reading; co-construction of meaning; relationship school-family; expanded learning communitywordless picture books; shared visual reading; co-construction of meaning; relationship school-family; expanded learning community

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zadra, C. Wordless Picture Books beyond School Boundaries: Visual Bridges toward Family-School Partnerships in Education. Proceedings2017, 1, 941.

AMA Style

Zadra C. Wordless Picture Books beyond School Boundaries: Visual Bridges toward Family-School Partnerships in Education. Proceedings. 2017; 1(9):941.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zadra, Cinzia. 2017. "Wordless Picture Books beyond School Boundaries: Visual Bridges toward Family-School Partnerships in Education." Proceedings 1, no. 9: 941.

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This collection of essays considers new ways of analyzing picturebooks and contributes to the dialogue on text-image duality by encompassing whole book readings, the role of the reader, interactions between reader and audience, and the shifting nature of book design. Strengths include the diverse range of international texts considered in the essays and the high quality of research and analysis throughout. The collection consists of three sections: genre shifting and genre crossing in wordless books, artist books, and picturebooks for adults; characters in picturebooks and how readers interact with and gain knowledge from them; and inter-pictoriality, the consideration of visual cues and codes in picture-books. As Kümmerling-Meibauer, the editor, notes, the essays “all attest to the shifting borders between representation and narration in picturebooks and to the seminal changes modern picturebooks as well as picturebook research have undergone since the turn of the new millennium” (12). Key terms include hypotext, “previous texts that have inspired later works and are gradually referred to in these works” (11); interpictoriality or intervisuality, “the reference… made to an artwork” (166); and Bildung, “the idea that literature and art could function as catalysts for a transformative process” (112). Each of the twelve essays has stand-alone value, especially for those with specific interests in picturebook research; as a collection, the thematic threads successfully weave disparate topics together. The essays are unified in an effort to consider the purpose of picture-books, the role and nature of the audience, and their esteem for picturebooks as valuable sites of learning, Bildung, and understanding.

The contributors present a variety of stances about reading and the reader’s role, reflecting a tension between open, interpretive readings and closed, singular readings. For example, Suero and Cabo (ch. 9) situate adults as [End Page 93] mediators of books for children. Books are tools to becoming literate. When reading picture-books, adults must decode visual and textual elements in order to successfully mediate books for children (167). Ommundsen (ch. 1), though, situates adults as a primary audience and focuses on characteristics that differentiate picturebooks for adults from those for children. Evans’s essay (ch. 10) illustrates the importance of listening to children’s voices and demonstrates that while adults may have the power to censor books that children access, the censorship often is about adult fears rather than children’s abilities to make sense of visually and textually complex narratives. Nikolajeva’s essay (ch. 7) addresses ideas about literacy acquisition and suggests changing nomenclature used to define children’s abilities to make sense of stories, particularly those stories that rely on illustrations to convey meaning. She turns to cognitive criticism and theory of the mind as a path to understanding what children take from books.

Throughout the collection, books have a privileged status. Goga (ch. 11), for example, studies how books are represented within picturebooks, noting that characters who use books in an orderly way “seem to understand that books and book collections are sites of epistemic reflection and thus try to gain access to these sites in order to be informed and comforted” (203). While her research explores how book collections are integrated into stories to convey emotion and character, this deference to books may warrant future consideration. High status is a theme across many essays, which offer deep and close readings of selected texts, but often with an unspoken intonation that there is a ‘right’ way to decode text and visual images—one that adults have and children need to be taught. While there is value to exploring and formally teaching decoding strategies, those contributors (Evans, ch. 10; Nikolajeva, ch. 7) who made space for multiple and expansive readings remind us that all readers have unique reading experiences that are rich sites of discussion and learning when shared. By assuming younger readers are active members in the reading process, we may be able to engage them and, thus, shift them from potential to high capable readers.

Overall, this collection offers...

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