ERIC Number: ED258193
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Working through Children's Developmental and Existential Stress in Picture Books.
Schwarcz, Joseph H.
The aesthetic quality and psychological subtlety of contemporary picture books give genuine expression to a child's conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions. Increasingly, themes of existential and developmental stress are appearing in picture books. Typical reactions aroused by such stress factors--and also by themes treated in picture books--include the search for identity; the quest for autonomy; achievement needs; the need to belong and to communicate; fears concerning loneliness, alienation, or being different; loss of love or aggression; and death and annihilation. Good picture books that treat these stress factors share a number of common characteristics, including (1) portrayal of the protagonist as an ordinary being, (2) thoughtful plot treatment of serious stress situations, (3) assumption of the young reader's anxieties, (4) communication of a message without being didactic, and (5) relatively sophisticated treatment of the message (using metaphors and symbols). Picture books communicate to children several psychological messages: how to overcome defenselessness; conflicts have a way of changing, moving along; the susceptibility of conflicts to change grows even more obvious if one acts; and stress may be resolved by unconscious maturation processes. (Interspersed throughout the paper are reviews of several books.) References are listed at the end of the paper, including 21 children's books. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at "The Illustrator as Storyteller" Conference (Chicago, IL, October 19-20, 1984).