Communities and Collections

Social Narratives of Divorce in Children’s Picture Books

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  • When parents divorce, their children often experience personal upheaval and distress. Processing this event and the feelings it evokes can be facilitated through bibliotherapy, which uses children’s picture books containing themes of parental divorce and separation for healing therapies. According to bibliotherapeutic practices, when children see their personal lives reflected in fictional stories they can relive, validate, discuss and understand their experiences better. Arguably, this personal identification can only be achieved when these stories present divorce in ways that are familiar, current and socially relevant. These recognizable themes, when repeated within this genre of children’s literature, become normalized social narratives that reflect the social context that created and perpetuates them. Such narratives were analysed using content analysis in fifteen picture books published between 2006 and 2016. Results from this analysis were grouped into three social themes; family structures, relationships and emotions. These findings highlight normative social messages on divorce that have been commonly presented to children over the past decade.

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  • Type of Item
    Conference/Workshop Presentation
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    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International