Crossing visual borders and connecting cultures: children’s responses to the photographic theme in David Wiesner’s 'Flotsam'

Arizpe, E. and McAdam, J. (2011) Crossing visual borders and connecting cultures: children’s responses to the photographic theme in David Wiesner’s 'Flotsam'. New Review of Children's Literature and Librarianship, 17(2), pp. 227-243. (doi:10.1080/13614541.2011.624969)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13614541.2011.624969

Abstract

<i>Flotsam</i> (2006), the award-winning wordless picturebook by David Wiesner is about the power and mystery of photographs but, at the same time, it plays with many of the techniques of photography to tell its story. This article discusses these themes and techniques and also examines children’s responses to the picturebook, both oral and photographic. It considers photography with children as a research tool for investigating identity, culture, and literacy. The discussion about <i>Flotsam</i> and the photographs provided an insight into children’s understanding, not only of wordless narrative but also of the techniques and uses of photography. We argue that the photographs increase the children’s control of the way in which their space, as well as their identity, is represented to others; a representation that is particularly important for immigrant pupils. We conclude that Flotsam can act as an incentive to reflect on the idea of looking carefully; to think about artistically complex texts and about the potential of photography. Finally, we suggest that photography is a promising way of exploring the visual image, not only from an investigative but also from a pedagogic point of view, as it can draw attention to the construction and metalanguage of image and thus strengthening comprehension and critical literacy skills.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McAdam, Ms Julie and Arizpe, Dr Evelyn
Authors: Arizpe, E., and McAdam, J.
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
P Language and Literature > PZ Childrens literature
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Creativity Culture and Faith
Journal Name:New Review of Children's Literature and Librarianship
ISSN:1361-4541
ISSN (Online):1740-7885
Published Online:01 December 2011

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