EP 5: Why Are Big Topics Hidden By Animals in Kidlit?

Episode summary: 

Parents and educators have always looked to books to begin discussions about delicate or difficult topics.  Often however, books that cover serious topics are watered down with anthropomorphic characters, such as guinea pigs illustrating Gay marriage.  In this episode, we discuss anthropomorphism in children’s literature, and the traditional tendency to hide big life lessons behind bunny ears.

Topics discussed in this episode: 

-Topic 1Why so many Queer Guinea pigs? LGBTQ repressentation in books.[0:59]

-Topic 2 Hiding Race with Animals and Primary Colours [4:20]

-Topic 3 Why Use Animals? [10:31]

-Topic 4 Anthropomorphic Books that Rock! [19:18]

-Topic 5  The History & Psychology behind Anthropomorphism [25:30]

-Topic 6  Push Back and the future of Animal Books in Kid Lit [32:33]

Picture Books mentioned in this episode:

1. “Peanut Goes For Gold” Jonathan Van Ness

2. ”Uncle Bobby’s Wedding”  Sarah S. Brannen

3. “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” Jill Twiss 

4. “Worm Loves Worm”  J. J. Austrian

5. “Red: A Crayon’s Story”  Michael Hall

6. “Tango Makes Three” Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

7. “Not Quite Narwhal” Jessie Sima

8. “Giraffes Can’t Dance” Giles Andreae

9. “Stella Luna”  Janell Cannon

10. Author:  Todd Parr, 

11. “The Little Pig The Bicycle and The Moon”  Pierette Dubee

12. “Daddy’s Roomate” Michael Willhoite

13. “Neither” Airlie Anderson

14 “Noodlephant” K-Fai Steele

15. Sequel to “Noodlephant” – “Okapi Tales” K-Fai Steele

16. “Dr. Coo and the Pigeon Protest” Sarah Hampson

Resources mentioned in this episode:

1- “Personification is Your Friend: The Language of Inanimate Objects.,” Chii, Lu.  “Lingua Obscura” (2016) 

2- “What Makes anthropomorphism Natural: Intuitive Ontology and Cultural Repressentations” Boyer, Pascal. “The Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute”  Vol. 2, No. 1 (Mar. 1996) pp. 83-97

3- “Anthropomorphism” “Psychology Today”


4- “Anthropomorphism favours Coexistance not Deadly Dominatio: Research SHows that Anthropomorphism Challenges Traditional Wildlife Management” Bekoff, Mark Ph.D “Psychology Today” (Dec. 2019)


5- Chan, A.A.Y. Anthropomorphism as a conservation tool. Biodivers Conserv 21, 1889–1892 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-012-0274-6


Episode transcript: For a transcript of this audio recording head over to https://picturebookstagang.wordpress.com/

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