By Vivian Yenika-Agbaw
Representing Africa in Children’s Literature explores how African and Western authors painting adolescence in modern African societies, seriously reading the dominant photos of Africa and Africans in books released among 1960 and 2005. The booklet makes a speciality of modern children’s and younger grownup literature set in Africa, reading matters relating to colonialism, the politics of illustration, and the demanding situations posed to either "insiders" and "outsiders" writing approximately Africa for kids.
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Additional info for Representing Africa in Children's Literature (Children's Literature and Culture)
They remain exotic and share nothing with her. Hyman’s experience with Africans or Blacks as subjects of her illustrations is quite recent. Perhaps her struggle lies in the fact that even though she has an African family now, she remains a stranger to this new culture which she still does not fully understand. She never transcends her touristic images of animals scattered all over northern and northwestern Cameroon, which she may have noticed when she visited the country. ” (p. 37). Doing this will help each to examine what Woodson acknowledges as “one’s position of power” vis-à-vis the African subject of their illustrations.
Although all four have published extensively, this chapter will focus on nine of their picture books. These picture books, published between 1975 and 2002 and spanning almost a thirty-year period, are indicators of how much their illustrations have evolved over the years to reﬂect the dynamism of African cultures and what messages these illustrators communicate about Africa. As Ellen Handler Spitz (1999) notes, “[e]ven when they are not intended to do so, picture books provide children with some of their earliest takes on morality, 17 18 • Representing Africa in Children’s Literature taste, and basic cultural knowledge, including messages about gender, race, and class” (p.
As I grew older; I realized that Africa was far more than a home for elephants and lions, but I still yearned to go there . . Our plan was to follow a route that would avoid the major cities. There are heavily populated urban and industrial areas in Africa, but we wanted to concentrate on the more remote parts of the continents. Our goals were to witness the natural beauty of the land and learn something of the culture and customs of its people. (Scott, 1993, p. 7) This quotation captures the fate of Africa and Africans when viewed through Western eyes.