Genocide in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature: Cambodia to Darfur, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Genocide in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Cambodia to Darfur, 1st Edition

By Jane Gangi


246 pages

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This book studies children’s and young adult literature of genocide since 1945, considering issues of representation and using postcolonial theory to provide both literary analysis and implications for educating the young. Many of the authors visited accurately and authentically portray the genocide about which they write; others perpetuate stereotypes or otherwise distort, demean, or oversimplify. In this focus on young people’s literature of specific genocides, Gangi profiles and critiques works on the Cambodian genocide (1975-1979); the Iraqi Kurds (1988); the Maya of Guatemala (1981-1983); Bosnia, Kosovo, and Srebrenica (1990s); Rwanda (1994); and Darfur (2003-present). In addition to critical analysis, each chapter also provides historical background based on the work of prominent genocide scholars. To conduct research for the book, Gangi traveled to Bosnia, engaged in conversation with young people from Rwanda, and spoke with scholars who had traveled to or lived in Guatemala and Cambodia. This book analyses the ways contemporary children, typically ages ten and up, are engaged in the study of genocide, and addresses the ways in which child survivors who have witnessed genocide are helped by literature that mirrors their experiences.


"Well written and well documented, this groundbreaking book also includes a comprehensive bibliography, reproductions of book covers of some of the titles that are profiled, and a list of meaningful works for genocide scholars and human rights activists. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers."--C. McCutcheon, University of South Carolina Upstate, CHOICE

"Gangi turns to genocides that have taken place since 1945 in Cambodia, Guatemala, Kurdish Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Rwanda and Darfur. Her study is a brave one…An impressively-researched and powerful introduction to a comprehensive range of books – from historical novels to biographies of George Clooney and Angelina Jolie – and the ways in which they provide, or fail to provide, a responsible and accurate portrayal of genocide…Gangi’s book is a moving testament to those who – far from sitting down and being quiet – stand up to condemn inequalities and shout loudly that such atrocities must never happen again." --Alice Curry, Founder and co-director of Lantana Publishing, International Research Society for Children's Literature Reviews

"Written over seven years in tandem with teaching courses about genocide in post-secondary institutions, Genocide in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature functions as a useful teaching resource that considers fiction and non-fiction texts that represent genocide for young people. [It] provides educators with a comprehensive survey of books about genocide, so teachers, publishers, authors, and librarians may do the work for which Gangi advocates so passionately." -- Debra Dudek, University of Wollongong, Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures

Table of Contents

Introduction: Approaching Children's and Young Adult Literature of Genocide 1. Children's and Young Adult Literature of Cambodia 2.Children's and Young Adult Literature of Guatemala and Kurdish Iraq 3. Children's and Young Adult Literature of Bosnia and Kosovo 4. Children's and Young Adult Literature of Rwanda, written with Isabelle Umugwaneza 5. Children's and Young Adult Literature of Darfur 6. Comprehensive Texts on Genocide for Children and Young Adults 7. Teaching Genocide 8. Conclusion: Resisting the Lie

About the Author

Jane M. Gangi, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Mount Saint Mary College, USA.

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

Founding Editor and Series Editor 1994-2011: Jack Zipes

Series Editor, 2011-2018: Philip Nel


Founded by Jack Zipes in 1994, Children's Literature and Culture is the longest-running series devoted to the study of children’s literature and culture from a national and international perspective. Dedicated to promoting original research in children’s literature and children’s culture, in 2011 the series expanded its focus to include childhood studies, and it seeks to explore the legal, historical, and philosophical conditions of different childhoods. An advocate for scholarship from around the globe, the series recognizes innovation and encourages interdisciplinarity. Children's Literature and Culture offers cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections considering topics such as gender, race, picturebooks, childhood, nation, religion, technology, and many others. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature