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Reading for Little Rebels: Internationalism and Radical Writing for Children

International Children’s Book Day Event
‘Reading for Little Rebels: Internationalism and Radical Writing for Children’

Date: Tuesday 3 April 2018
Time: 6.00–7.30pm
Venue: Murdoch Lecture Theatre, G58, Arts Building, The University of Western Australia

An Institute of Advanced Studies sponsored public lecture with Professor Kimberly Reynolds (Newcastle University, UK)

In our current turbulent times, International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) is a good moment to reflect on the ways that children’s literature has attempted to spread the values of peace, understanding and mutual respect between countries, the need to share resources, and the importance of thinking globally rather than nationalistically. These were also the aims of the radical children’s books published in the first half of the last century in an attempt to encourage children to work to build a progressive, egalitarian, peaceful and sustainable modern world. Many of these books were either first published in the Soviet Union or were concerned with events there, so it is fitting that in 2017, the centenary of the Russian Revolution, Russia is the section of IBBY (the International Board on Books for Young People) that is sponsoring ICBD. Growing up in Melbourne in the 1940s and 1950s, the noted Soviet cultural historian, Sheila Fitzpatrick, recalls reading some of these books and thinking ‘what fun people seemed to have there…how totally unlike anything in Melbourne’. She was particularly struck by the ways these books offered a collective expectation of a better future. This talk will present a selection of radical works from the first half of the last century and consider whether currently writing for children similarly cultivates visions and skills that will help the rising generation believe in and build a better future. 

The Centre for the History of Emotions (CHE) and the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) at The University of Western Australia (UWA) are pleased to be able to sponsor the following events to celebrate International Children’s Book Day in April 2018. The events are convened by Dr Ned Curthoys (UWA).

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