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Writing a Novel with Roma Primary School Children: Tensions in Disrupting Aetonormativity

Dobson, Tom ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5354-9150, Stephenson, Lisa and De Arede, Ana (2021) Writing a Novel with Roma Primary School Children: Tensions in Disrupting Aetonormativity. Children's Literature in Education, 52. pp. 511-527.

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Story Makers Press (SMP) is a University-based publisher which co-constructs stories with under-represented groups of children in order to diversify representation in children’s literature and disrupt the way adult perceptions of normality pattern children’s literature (aetonormativity). In this paper we analyse six drama and creative writing workshops run by SMP with Czech and Slovak Roma children from an inner city primary school in the north of England to co-construct a story about climate change. Our analysis identifies how in developing the story, the children were often reluctant to draw upon their funds of knowledge relating to their Roma backgrounds, instead Westernising their protagonists and settings. We also explore how the children disrupt aetonormativity by interweaving magical elements into realistic narrative about climate change in order to establish a genre of magical realism. Finally, we identify how this genre of magical realism is problematic when considering stereotypical depictions of Roma characters in children’s literature and how changes were made to our story in light of a critical race theory reading of the first draft. As well as helping SMP to refine its processes, this analysis suggests that minority groups such as Roma need to be able to draw upon more literary representations of Roma in order to shape their creative outputs and that the curriculum needs to focus on developing children’s critical responses to the representation of minority ethnic groups in children’s literature.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-020-09428-3
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/7217

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