Young Children’s Drawings and Storytelling: Multimodal Transformations That Help to Mediate Complex Sociocultural Worlds

  • Rosemary D. RichardsEmail author
Part of the Educating the Young Child book series (EDYC, volume 12)


While making sense of their social, cultural and linguistic worlds can be especially challenging for multilingual and immigrant children, child-initiated drawings and graphic stories can assist them to navigate these complex spaces. This chapter describes some of the ways a 5-year-old Chinese-Australian boy, for whom English is a second language, used his drawings and storytelling to facilitate fuller participation with others and to explore and communicate interests and concerns. A narrative and graphic representation of several of his artworks is followed by a consideration of how his drawings functioned as cultural tools and mediating devices through which he explored complex ideas, emotions and experiences. Critically employing Vygotskian sociocultural lenses and Dewey’s notions on art as experience highlights how, through graphic symbols, English and Mandarin, interpersonal and intrapersonal dialogues, and dramatic rendition, a child’s multimodal drawing and storytelling generate shared cultural understandings. Interacting with children as they share their graphic narratives can also reveal valuable insights into the complex worlds of children in immigrant families and their cultural, social and linguistic practices. Such understandings can provide important foundations for bridging children’s personal, home, community and educational lives and thus promoting their educational and socioemotional growth and sense of well-being and belonging.


Children’s drawing Narrative research Social worlds Vygotsky Immigrant children Multiliteracies Second language (L2) Transformation Art as experience Children’s storytelling Graphic narrative Belonging 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Waiariki Institute of TechnologyRotoruaNew Zealand

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