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ERIC Number: EJ1177981
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jun
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0045-6713
Behind the Blackout Curtains: Female Focalization of Atlantic Canada in the "Dear Canada" Series of Historical Fiction
Bell, Katherine
Children's Literature in Education, v49 n2 p161-179 Jun 2018
Novels from the "Dear Canada" series of historic fiction, published by Scholastic Canada, currently populate the shelves of school classrooms and libraries across Canada. This study explores two "Dear Canada" novels that chronicle significant moments in Atlantic Canadian history: Janet McNaughton's novel (Flame and ashes: The great fire diary of Triffie Winsor. St. Johns, Newfoundland, 1892, Scholastic Canada, Toronto, 2014) which explores the Great Fire of Newfoundland in 1892, and Julie Lawson's novel, "No Safe Harbour" (No safe harbour: the Halifax explosion diary of Charlotte Blackburn, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1917, Scholastic Canada, Toronto, 2006), which explores the Halifax Explosion of 1917. Kenneth Kidd (Child Lit 33: 120-149, 2005) notes that "subjects previously thought too upsetting for children are now deemed appropriate and even necessary" in children's literature (p. 12); indeed, the themes of both "Flame and Ashes" and "No Safe Harbour" resonate with recent attempts to represent broader and more diverse ranges of experiences in children's fiction. Like many other texts in the series, these texts explore economic hardship and psychological distress. Furthermore, they explore events through the eyes of subjects who have, historically, had very little agency: female children. Drawing on narrative theory and feminist standpoint theory (Fuller in Writing the everyday: women's textual communities in Atlantic Canada, McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, 2004), this study examines the narrative techniques McNaughton and Lawson rely on to counterbalance difficult historical events with the appeal of young protagonists who offer subjective responses to the historical moment. This study considers both the ideological challenges and the possible advantages of circulating historical knowledge that is linked to girlhood and profoundly rooted in place. Ultimately, I argue that these young female narrators provide important inroads for interrogating what counts as history in historical narratives.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A