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Allowing Space for Undecidability: Complex Picturebooks in Literary Education
Previous research on children’s literature calls attention to picturebooks as a challenging art form, containing complex themes and sophisticated literary qualities. However, previous research shows that picturebooks in educational settings are still mainly explored with emergent readers. In this study, we elaborate on the relation between aesthetics and pedagogy by discussing how the complexity and undecidability of picturebooks can contribute to literary education by applying the concept of undecidability (Johansen, “Kunst”; Litteratur). Applying a thinking with theory approach (Jackson and Mazzei), we use the theoretical concept of undecidability, in relation to the picturebook Skuggorna (The Shadows, 2018) by Maija Hurme and Anssi Hurme as well as in relation to pedagogical considerations for literary education. The analysis of Skuggorna shows how it contains undecidabilities on several levels and how these undecidabilities cause the meaning of the narrative to shift. The study offers implications for literature teaching with this type of picturebook and, consequently, elaborates on what these undecidabilities can provide literary education. Moreover, the study shows how the challenging picturebook can provide spaces for upholding undecidabilities and negotiations in the literature classroom.
Authors contributing to Barnboken: Journal of Children's Literature Research agree to publish their articles under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported, allowing third parties to share their work (copy, distribute, transmit) and to adapt it, under the condition that the authors are given credit, that the work is not used for commercial purposes, and that in the event of reuse or distribution, the terms of this license are made clear.
Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Swedish Institute for Children's Books.