EDU 31ACL – Australian Children’s LiteratureAustralian Family Stories Family stories – issues for consideration © La Trobe University, David Beagley, 2006
Considering Family Stories • What elements of family stories do they have?e.g. IN families, ABOUTfamilies, or FOR families • Are they ‘typical’ of traditional family stories? • Are they ‘typical’ of traditional family structures? • Do they assume ‘typical’ family stories or structures?
Considering Family Stories • How do they meet or challenge aspects of your criteria for family stories? • e.g. characters, settings, plot development, themes, voice, style • e.g. structure, relationships, responsibilities • How do they meet or challenge aspects of your criteria for families? • 2 aspects : Group + Responsibility
Sociological issues • Representations of Family, and commentary on possibilities • Who is included in / excluded by the text ? • Representation of characters from a diversity of backgrounds: • gender • cultural / ethnic • socioeconomic • Family structure
Sociological issues • Identity – who am I, in relation to others? • Differentiation – what makes me different, how do I belong?
How are the families represented in each book? • The Bamboo Flute – child’s view of family trying to cope, realising and rescuing what matters • Tiff and the Trout - child’s view of family structure dissolving, making choices • No gun for Asmir – family under external stress, the bonds that tie • Hitler’s daughter – the child of the parent, the sins of the father • Dougy - Aboriginal culture of family vs European concept of family; friends or relatives; family or society? • NIPS XI – social and cultural families, similarities and differences
How are the families represented in each book? • Do these texts assume an essential nature of family? • Or do they question the social construct?
Readership Texts for older/younger readers What are some of the textual features of texts for older readers? • More mature story structures and features e.g. flashback, echoing/multiple storylines, allusions, context, variant voices, sophisticated perspectives • Wider range of themes analytical, judgemental, referential, “grey areas” – abstraction required of reader • Different character ranges and reactions often more driven by identifiable personality than narrative necessity
ReadershipTexts for older/younger readers Expectation of Readership • variety of life experiences (cultural awareness/ difference) • awareness of equity issues • knowledge of other media • developing critical literacy skills • language
Criteria for assessing Australian Family Stories • Does the book claim to offer an account of a typical or unique Australian family? • Is this claim convincing? • To what extent are stereotypes of class, culture, gender and sibling roles presented or resisted? • Will these help or hinder reader identification with characters?
Criteria for assessing Australian Family Stories • Are the events and characters depicted likely to appeal to children? • Will this book reward young readers by offering worthwhile insights into ordinary experience related to family life? • Does the book tend to offer overt or over-simplistic moral lessons about family responsibilities, duties, rights and desirable roles?
Criteria for assessing Australian Family Stories • Is there a plot resolution and is it convincing in terms of ordinary experience? How does the author deal with the challenging problem of resolving or 'rounding off' reality in the final chapters? • Does the book offer anything new to this sub-genre in terms of theme, plot or characterisation? • Is the book likely to become dated in its version of the contemporaryfamily and issues confronting children within it?