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 completed a 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. I wrote and illustrated a family-diverse picture book called The Rainbow Cake as part of my PhD. My picture book family was 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
Oct 2021 – Top 9 finalist 3MT (Asia-Pacific final)
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