Genocide in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Cambodia to Darfur
By Jane Gangi
Routledge – 2014 – 224 pages
This book studies children’s and young adult literature of genocide since 1945, considering issues of representation and using postcolonial theory to provide both literary analysis and implications for educating the young. Many of the authors visited accurately and authentically portray the genocide about which they write; others perpetuate stereotypes or otherwise distort, demean, or oversimplify. In this focus on young people’s literature of specific genocides, Gangi profiles and critiques works on the Cambodian genocide (1975-1979); the Iraqi Kurds (1988); the Maya of Guatemala (1981-1983); Bosnia, Kosovo, and Srebrenica (1990s); Rwanda (1994); and Darfur (2003-present). In addition to critical analysis, each chapter also provides historical background based on the work of prominent genocide scholars. To conduct research for the book, Gangi traveled to Bosnia, engaged in conversation with young people from Rwanda, and spoke with scholars who had traveled to or lived in Guatemala and Cambodia. This book analyses the ways contemporary children, typically ages ten and up, are engaged in the study of genocide, and addresses the ways in which child survivors who have witnessed genocide are helped by literature that mirrors their experiences.
"Gangi turns to genocides that have taken place since 1945 in Cambodia, Guatemala, Kurdish Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Rwanda and Darfur. Her study is a brave one…An impressively-researched and powerful introduction to a comprehensive range of books – from historical novels to biographies of George Clooney and Angelina Jolie – and the ways in which they provide, or fail to provide, a responsible and accurate portrayal of genocide…Gangi’s book is a moving testament to those who – far from sitting down and being quiet – stand up to condemn inequalities and shout loudly that such atrocities must never happen again." --Alice Curry, Founder and co-director of Lantana Publishing, International Research Society for Children's Literature Reviews
Introduction: Approaching Children's and Young Adult Literature of Genocide 1. Children's and Young Adult Literature of Cambodia 2.Children's and Young Adult Literature of Guatemala and Kurdish Iraq 3. Children's and Young Adult Literature of Bosnia and Kosovo 4. Children's and Young Adult Literature of Rwanda, written with Isabelle Umugwaneza 5. Children's and Young Adult Literature of Darfur 6. Comprehensive Texts on Genocide for Children and Young Adults 7. Teaching Genocide 8. Conclusion: Resisting the Lie
Jane M. Gangi, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Mount Saint Mary College, USA.