Critical Perspectives on Postcolonial African Children's and Young Adult Literature

Critical Perspectives on Postcolonial African Children's and Young Adult Literature

by Meena Khorana
     
 

The past few years mark a growing scholarly interest in African children's literature in the United States. Several books have recently been published on the subject, and the number of papers on African children's literature presented at conferences or published in scholarly journals also seems to have increased. These publications are becoming more and more

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Overview

The past few years mark a growing scholarly interest in African children's literature in the United States. Several books have recently been published on the subject, and the number of papers on African children's literature presented at conferences or published in scholarly journals also seems to have increased. These publications are becoming more and more sophisticated as scholars move away from general country surveys or analyses of publishing conditions and instead analyze literary structures, themes, and illustrations, or apply Marxist, feminist, or postcolonial theories to interpret literary works. The question of an authentic voice in postcolonial African children's literature has emerged as a central concern to those who care about books for African children and young adults. Also of importance is the matter of how Africa is presented in literature for children who do not live on that continent. The essays in this book either take a postcolonial or revisionist approach to the study of colonial literature, or discuss books published after decolonization.

The introductory essay provides a general analysis of the key issues facing the publication of children's books in postcolonial Africa—issues of national identity, language, appropriate genres, and relevant themes to inculcate a nationalistic outlook in children and young adults. The chapters that follow are located within this broad framework and are written by expert contributors. While these essays reflect the scholarly interests and specialization of each author, they also span the entire field of African children's literature. The first group of chapters surveys African children's literature from a variety of angles and explores such topics as literacy and the publishing culture in Africa, the role and importance of awards, Nigerian young adult literature, and the relevance of folktales. The book then turns to a discussion of books about Africa written by Western authors for Western readers, which often project values and perspectives that betray a continuing colonial bias. The last part of the book examines more specialized themes and concerns.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313298646
Publisher:
Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
Publication date:
04/08/1998
Series:
Contributions in Afro-American and African Studies: Contemporary Black Poets Series
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.43(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.84(d)

Meet the Author

MEENA KHORANA is Professor of English at Morgan State University, where she specializes in children's and young adult literature. She is the author of The Indian Subcontinent in Literature for Children and Young Adults: An Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Books (Greenwood, 1991) and Africa in Literature for Children and Young Adults: An Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Books (Greenwood, 1994) and the editor of the Dictionary of Literary Biography volume, British Children's Writers, 1800-1880 (1996). She is the editor-in-chief of Bookbird: World of Children's Books, a scholarly journal on international children's literature and was guest coeditor of the postcolonial children's literature issue of ARIEL (January 1997).

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