This study, on the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's independence, positions children as subjects of what they read, in a society where the educational system is based on the vestiges of colonial rule. It is an inquiry into the nature and ideological content of selected Jamaican children's picturebooks written by Jamaican authors or authors living in Jamaica, published in the last 15 years. It is crucial to understand those ideologies and how they align with the values of a newly independent nation. As the Jamaican picturebooks in this study were written in a postcolonial society, their ideologies potentially involve the social, political, and cultural themes including the power relations of race, class and gender that postcolonial theory and multicultural theory address. Therefore, this study examines the text and illustrations of selected Jamaican picturebooks using critical content analysis and critical multicultural analysis.Results show Jamaican picturebooks in this sample reflect postcolonial initiatives and underlying ideologies congruent with multicultural and postcolonial theories which stress independent thinking, freedom, power and agency. There is hopefulness and inspiration in this sample of Jamaican children's literature which is evident through the characters, the language, and an undercurrent of a Jamaican vibe expressed through a combination of reggae music and clever word play that permeates many of the stories.Implications for young readers include the possibility of the experiences they have while reading this literature being transformational, as posited by transactional theory. Postcolonial literary theory and multicultural theory help us to discern what in Jamaican picturebooks might help young readers to 1) achieve a sense of national identity, 2) gain knowledge of and pride in their own culture, and 3) build the confidence to think independently and provide the leadership essential to building a free nation.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2013. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Lee Galda. 1 computer file (PDF); xiii, 277 pages, appendices A-I.
Richards, Wendy Scott.
Jamaican Children's Literature: A Critical Multicultural Analysis of Text and Illustration in Jamaican Picturebooks for Children Published between 1997 - 2012.
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