How do children's books relate to the cultures that produce them, and how do they influence those cultures? In Reading Race Clare Bradford looks at representations of Australia's indigenous peoples in texts for children. She shows how these varying representations have helped to colour the attitudes, beliefs and assumptions of different generations of Australians. To what extent have children's books enabled readers to understand Aboriginal culture, relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, and relationships between Aboriginality and national identity? Bradford draws on examples from popular and literary children's books of all genresandmdash;fiction, non-fiction, picture books and school texts. She reveals that many children's books display the tensions and uncertainties inherent in relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Bradford also uncovers the different ideologies of race that have informed Australian children's texts from the nineteenth century to currently popular writers, demonstrating cultural shifts in the representation of Aboriginality over time.
The result is a ground-breaking and intelligent picture of how Australian children's books, by both white and Aboriginal writers, have negotiated the matter of race. Reading Race will enhance the ways in which we come to read and understand the complex and delicate issues around Aboriginal-white relations. It will be an invaluable resource in the fields of post-colonial studies, Indigenous and Aboriginal studies, literary and cultural studies and children's literature.
Publisher: Melbourne University Press