Representing Africa in Children's Literature

Old and New Ways of Seeing

By Vivian Yenika-Agbaw

© 2008 – Routledge

168 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415699563
pub: 2011-09-19
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415974684
pub: 2007-10-29
US Dollars$150.00

About the Book

Representing Africa in Children’s Literature explores how African and Western authors portray youth in contemporary African societies, critically examining the dominant images of Africa and Africans in books published between 1960 and 2005. The book focuses on contemporary children’s and young adult literature set in Africa, examining issues regarding colonialism, the politics of representation, and the challenges posed to both "insiders" and "outsiders" writing about Africa for children.


"Representing Africa is a text that I will gladly recommend and use in my own work."

-- Barbara A. Lehman, Children's Literature Association Quarterly, Summer 2009, Vol. 34, No. 2

"Few scholars have written in such depth about

Table of Contents


Children’s Literature and Africa

Section 1: Image-making and Children’s Books

Chapter 1

Images of West Africa in Children’s Books: Replacing Old Stereotypes with New Ones?

Chapter 2

Illustrations and the Messages they convey: African Culture in Picture Books.

Chapter 3

The Typical West African Village Stories.

Section 2: Growing Up African and Female in Children’s Books

Chapter 4

Religion and Childhood in Two African Communities: Ogot’s "The Rain Came" and Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus.

Chapter 5

Revising Traditional Cultural Practices in Two Picture Book Versions of African Folktales.

Chapter 6

African Girls’ Sexuality in Selected Fiction for Young Adults

Chapter 7

Individual Healing vs. Communal Healing: Three African Females’ Attempts at Constructing Unique Identities.

Section 3: Reading African Cultural Survival in Children’s Books

Chapter 8

Reading Images of Resistance in Tom Feelings’ The Middle Passage.

Chapter 9

African Sites of Memory in Diasporic Children’s Literature.


Chapter 10

When Illustrations by Africans Lack Visual Appeal, How Should African Readers React?

Chapter 11

Authenticity, Hybridity and Literature about African Children

About the Author

Vivian Yenika-Agbaw is Associate Professor of literacy/children’s literature at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA. She is an assistant editor of Sankofa: Journal of African and African American Children’s Literature and serves on the Children’s Africana Book Award Committee.

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

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:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature