Visualising Cultures: The “European Picture Book Collection” Moves “Down Under”
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The potential for picture books in national collections to act as mirrors reflecting the reader’s cultural identity, is widely accepted. This paper shows that the books in a New Zealand Picture Book Collection can also become windows into unfamiliar worlds for non-New Zealand readers, giving them the opportunity to learn more about a context in which indigenous Māori mythology is interwoven with an imported European culture. The stories in the Collection provide many chances for examining visual similarities and differences between cultures and developing intercultural awareness, as well as enhancing visual literacy through the analysis of illustrations. Making reference to the first European Picture Book Collection, which was created in 1996, the authors discuss these issues from a theoretical perspective and explore the practical implications through visual text analysis of several books in the New Zealand Picture Book Collection.
KeywordsPicture books New Zealand Cross-cultural education Interculturality Multiculturalism Semiotic text analysis
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