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Representations of migration in U.K. and U.S. children’s picture books in the Trump and Brexit era

Orgad, Shani, Lemish, Dafna, Rahali, Miriam and Floegel, Diana (2021) Representations of migration in U.K. and U.S. children’s picture books in the Trump and Brexit era. Journal of Children and Media, 15 (4). 549 - 567. ISSN 1748-2798

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Identification Number: 10.1080/17482798.2021.1882517

Abstract

In the wake of an intensifying hostile environment towards migrants and refugees in the U.S. and Europe, children’s picture books play an important role in shaping children’s understanding of migration and attitudes towards migrants. How do contemporary children’s books depict migration? This article discusses the findings of a thematic analysis of 40 picture books about migration, published between 2015 and 2019 in the U.K. and the U.S. We found that these books typically present successful migration stories where children move from unfortunate circumstances in their home countries to happier lives in the host countries. Host countries are mostly located in the global North and migrants are generally welcomed with generosity and hospitality. We also found that the books give important attention to historical contexts. However, while children’s picture books concerning migration contribute to enhancing children’s understanding of migration in some ways, they concurrently erase difference and injustice, and thus miss an opportunity to broaden children’s knowledge and appreciation of the plurality of cultures, experiences, and places and the urgent need to respect and protect them. IMPACT SUMMARY a. Prior State of Knowledge: Existing research, predominantly in the field of education, highlights how children’s books can promote understanding of and empathy towards migrants and refugees, dispel stereotypes, and teach children how to show kindness, respect, and hospitality towards migrants and refugees. b. Novel Contributions: The study highlights not just how children’s picture books contribute to enhancing children’s understanding of migration, but also how these books concurrently erase difference and injustice, and thus miss an opportunity to broaden children’s knowledge and appreciation of difference. c. Practical Implications: The study draws parents’ and educators’ attention to the lessons children can learn from picture books on immigration, their benefits and limitations. It advances storytellers’ understanding of how to broaden children’s knowledge and appreciation of difference in books about migration.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rchm20/current
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2021 10:51
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2022 08:51
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/108551

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