Are Children Gaining a Sense of Place from Canadian Historical Picture Books?

Marilynne V. Black, Ronald Jobe


How do Canadian children come to understand and appreciate the uniqueness of Canada and of their Canadian-ness in the books they read? Young people must see themselves reflected in what they read and view so as to develop a sense of identity. Familiar emotions, activities, families, and surroundings are sensed through the depiction of the characters and story settings. To evolve a national identity, youngsters need to develop a sense of place, a feeling of 'This is where I belong'. It is crucial, therefore, that they see their communities, regions and country reflected accurately and authentically in literature. This study observes that many recent Canadian children's books lacked specific geographic content and place names. It suggests that only by increasing the number of cultural markers that Canadian children will be able to better identify their national landscapes and develop a sense of belonging to that landscape.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680