EN 3174 – Children’s Literature
Banning Books: Censorship and “the Child.”
Picture Books as Visual Artifacts
The Roots of Censorship
Censorship and the Child
Young Adult Fiction
Judy Blume and Censors
No approach of the picture book can overlook the visual design
Visual codes – design and image work as a form of communication, as important
as the words themselves.
Babar – Bright green suit, the hat, the spats,
Like the other elephants, however emerges from the herd that distinguish and
define who he is.
Reading Picture Books
2 level of Meaning
The plain, the literal, the iconic sense. We are to distinguish the two between
them. The imperative verb, see.
The symbolic, interpretive sense. – Seeing and interpreting the words/pictures to
Graphic Codes in Picture Books
The layout if the object on the page
High vs. Low
Centre vs. Margin
Left vs. Right hand side
The Handling of the line and color
The position of the subject on the page.
Taken him out from being part of the herd, and now as him as an
Pages 6-7 – examples of this. His potion of happiness is ended when his
mother is shot by the hunters. Such thinking will continue onto the next
page, as he escapes to the city.
Code of line – lines the illustrator uses to create the visual. Smooth,
jagged, heavy or thin, one line or sharp angles, etc. Different uses of these
lines convey meaning. Color, conveys moods and feelings.
First pages where Babar is dressed – bright, vivid, distinguish him as an
individual (green, from the jungle, or green with envy, enviable) Green, money, March 21,2013
EN 3174 – Children’s Literature
now he has the money. He has become similar to the people he once envied.
Now walking on 2 legs, from primitive to civilized.
Bright colors = exhilaration, happiness, Dark colors = sadness.
Babar’s existence as an individual comes to the forefront when he moves to the
Pictures illustrate text, and vice versa.
Objects and actions the words refer too, practical form of first literature for
These books are powerful shapers of meaning for children.
Must be careful, not seeing them as transparent artifacts.
Young, inexperienced children. Most adults believe these picture books are for
Most picture books introduce children to ideology at a young age.
They teach children how to be, how to see, and how to think
They are a significant means by which we integrate children into the ideologies of
Herbert Kohl – Eurocentric perspective. This portrays colonialism. Those that
hold power are the white, those with money. They tell those what to do, how to
act. At the end of this book, Babar is given power. He has become the king
because he has been given materialist things, as received from the white, elderly
The older lady “Gives him clothes, the car, the professor to educate him.”
Role of money in the story points to Babar’s financial lack in the beginning o the
Second Level of Meaning - Class and money. Rich old lady implores her money
to colonize Babar into people culture.
Polarity – city vs. jungle. Babar enjoys the technical advancements. The Elevator
and the photograph, automobile, classic driving outfit.
Travels back to the country in the car with his cousins, his mother’s (uncivilised)
run behind at the coat-tails of Babar.
Transfer of money to the civilise.
Babar declared king. Issues of power, class, race, etc.
Picture books are ideological, the child likeness of what they teach are natural for
Picture books like Babar are enmeshed in the ideology of the culture that
The childlikeness they teacher merely what our culture views as “natural” for