Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: ‘They told us all to hide away’ : a theoretical analysis of the pandemic’s influence on two contemporary picture books
Authors: Agius, Gabriella (2022)
Keywords: Pham, LeUyen, 1973-. Outside, inside -- Criticism and interpretation
Roberts, Tomos, 1994-. Great realisation -- Criticism and interpretation
Children's literature
Picture books for children
COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020- -- Influence
Issue Date: 2022
Citation: Agius, G. (2022). ‘They told us all to hide away’: a theoretical analysis of the pandemic’s influence on two contemporary picture books (Bachelor's dissertation).
Abstract: This dissertation seeks to explore the depiction of the COVID-19 pandemic in children’s literature by examining two contemporary picture books that address the outbreak and its effects through narrative representations. The case studies selected for analysis are LeUyen Pham’s Outside, Inside (2021) and Tomos Roberts’ The Great Realisation (2020). The proposed topic is explored through the theoretical analysis of the narrative employment of empathic and civic principles in the case studies. Therefore, the representation of basic and social emotions are addressed in the examination of pandemic-related dilemmas portrayed in the stories. Furthermore, the depiction of character civic behaviour is examined in-depth, particularly in relation to lockdown, social distancing, mask-wearing, societal awareness, and environmental conservation. Pham’s Outside, Inside stresses the importance of community well-being, where effort is made by each character to overcome the issues created by the pandemic. This is portrayed through a complex visual aspect combined with less complicated verbal expression. Meanwhile, Roberts’ The Great Realisation also addresses the importance of community bonding, not only for overcoming pandemic related difficulties, but for fostering better habits that support environmental preservation. In this case, as opposed to Outside, Inside, the narrative employs a rather complex verbal representation of current events which are accompanied by simpler illustrations. Overall, the depictions of complex emotions through the combination of verbal and visual realistic representations are prominent in both case studies. It is argued in this study that these works intend to stimulate empathy, that is primarily situational in nature, in its readers. Through the same verbal and visual depictions both case studies also encourage civic responsibility in relation to community building, compliance with health regulations, and environmental conservation. Whilst the key principles of civic responsibilities are clearly portrayed in both narratives, technological activism as part of a child’s civic engagement is not considered; although there are subtle mentions of technological advantages and online movements like Black Lives Matter in the stories. Reading such works may induce feelings of empathy in children, which (in accordance to popular belief) might inspire them to exhibit ideal civic behaviours in real-life. However, the type of pandemic literature that prompts reader emotion is especially reliant on current historical and social experiences which are subject to change over time. Therefore, depending on the unfolding events, literature that is primarily based on situational stories may encounter a decrease relevancy and influence in the future.
Description: B.A. (Hons)(Melit.)
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2022
Dissertations - FacArtEng - 2022

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
  Restricted Access
1.28 MBAdobe PDFView/Open Request a copy

Items in OAR@UM are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.