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'Four different publishers have produced series of “classic” Australian children’s novels since 2001. Such series are part of a wider global interest in the history and canon of children’s literature, and offer a particularly national sense of literary history and identity. The classics republished by the four series have all enjoyed some degree of popularity, critical acclaim, or pedagogical use. When book awards, literary historians, critics, and publishers all seem to agree on a canon of Australian children’s literature, it is important to question whether the chosen books are inherently great or if the canon is serving a purpose beyond the literary. This paper reads the selections of classics publishers as a collective and cumulative story of childhood in order to question the persistence of particular visions of Australian culture and identity. Republished classics offer insight into canon-formation and the construction of literary history as well as perpetuating particular definitions of a national culture. ...'
'This article examines how Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) is reimagined in two recent Australian young adult historical novels, David Metzenthen’s Black Water (2007) and Robert Newton’s When We Were Two (2012). Both novels are set during the First World War and participate in recent trends to recast the Australian soldier as victim. The authors’ use of trauma functions as a unifying force, enabling contemporary readers to feel some empathy for, and thus identify with, fictional soldiers. However, this use of trauma becomes problematic when it is figured as a male rite of passage, as trauma then functions to include certain masculinities while excluding other subjectivities. Moreover, while reframing the experience of war through the lens of trauma encourages reader identification with Anzac, it nevertheless effaces many of the social and political aspects of war, thereby promoting romanticized notions of war and providing only a superficial understanding of its causes.' (Abstract)
'Since the 1990s, Australian Young Adult fantasy has flourished as a genre, buoyed by the increasing interest in fantasy literature world-wide and at home. From fully realized secondary fantasy worlds, to intrusion fantasy that incorporates fantasy and the real world, to portal quests with one foot in the contemporary Australian scene, Australian writers of Young Adult (YA) literature have been adept at exploring the literary opportunities offered them by this genre. In this essay, we explore some of those literary opportunities—namely, the adaptation of fairy tale and myth in Australian YA fantasy. ...'
'The story of the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature (formerly the Lu Rees Archives) began with the vision and enthusiasm of one woman. As early as 1973, Lu Rees had established the basis for what the Centre has become today. Her passion for the task was fuelled by her belief that the creative work of authors, illustrators, publishers, and others engaged in producing Australian children’s books formed an important part of the nation’s cultural heritage and must be preserved. ...'