This month we are continuing our conversation about the portrayal of disabilities in picturebooks (see August 2016 and February 2017). Our focus in the following discussions is on emotional and behavioral disabilities, so we will look at characters who wrestle with childhood depression, anxiety, and outbursts. The books we discussed last August and February won the Schneider Family Award for the Portrayal of the Disability Experience. The titles discussed this month, beginning with The Red Tree, have not won that award, but they could have!
by Carmen M. Martínez-Roldán, University of Texas, Austin, TX
The IBBY Congress offered multiple opportunities for learning about the reading experiences offered to children in different parts of the world. One of those experiences that was the focus of lively discussions involved children reading wordless texts in the project, “Visual journeys: Understanding immigrant children’s responses to the visual image in contemporary picture books.” Dr. Evelyn Arizpe, from the University of Glasgow, coordinator of the project, Dr Cecilia Silva-Díaz and Brenda Bellorín, from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, and myself from The University of Texas at Austin, shared the power of the visual image in the graphic novel The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2006) with linguistically different audiences in two workshops. We engaged the participants in reading and responding to the images of The Arrival and shared what we have learned about children’s responses to the text.