“Who Shall Return us the Children?” PicturingHome(lessness) and Postcolonial Childhoodsin Immigrant Children’s Literature

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How does literature for children portray homes lost and perhaps found? Doeschildren’s literature liberate or subjugate with these representations? What kinds ofperspectives do the written and visual representations in children’s narratives offer? How is the experience of subjugated childhoods represented in these narratives? How is the sense of self and sense of place, namely home, represented in bothword and image? The literary representation of children is contingent upon preestablished notions of political formations and identity, namely the dynamics ofthe subjugated and subjugator. Employing theories from canonical critics in thefield of postcolonial study, this paper looks at several children’s narratives to explorethe value of children’s stories in representing home(lessness) from the perspectiveof child immigrants and refugees. It argues for the need to question whether theserepresentations in children’s narratives subjugate or liberate, considering howchildren’s books can be seen as political acts. It argues that literature for childrencan be used as a tool of criticism to critique certain ideologies (and the existingsocial order and postcolonial ties). Considering the relationship between theindividual and the state, it concludes by considering children’s narratives as away of configuring and even overturning the notion of home(lessness) and thesignificant question of whether a return to the homeland is ever possible.


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Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs

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