Despite families taking all forms, Australian picture book families remain overwhelmingly traditional: specifically white, middle class, with both biological parents, a (frequently blonde) male protagonist, and characters conforming to traditional gender roles. This is an issue with far-reaching consequences. Studies show that children’s ability to “see” themselves in books is vital to their sense of worth and value, as well as their education and social-emotional development.
In order to address this issue, I am completing a creative writing & visual arts PhD on the importance of family diversity in Australian picture books. As someone from a diverse family (foster and non-biological), this is a topic very close to my heart. For the creative component of my PhD I am writing and illustrating a family diverse picture book. My picture book family is largely inspired by my own family – both my biological family growing up and my non-bio family now.
“Books are mirrors in which children can see themselves. When they are represented in the literature we read, they can see themselves as valuable and worthy of notice”
— The World of Difference Institute
Sep 2021 – Winner 3MT (Victoria University finals
Sep 2021 – Winner 3MT & People’s Choice Award (Victoria University heats)
Sep 2018 – Top 10 finalist 3MT (Asia-Pacific final)
Sep 2018 – Winner 3MT & People’s Choice Award (Victoria University finals)
Aug 2018 – Winner 3MT & People’s Choice Award (Victoria University heats)
Aug 2018 – Runner up Visualise your Thesis & People’s Choice Award (Victoria University)
World of Difference Institute cited in Mankiw & Strasser 2013, p. 85