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02/2012 Family


Family, as Ann Alston points out in Family in English Children's Literature (reviewed on page 152), is constitutive for children's literature because the latter has exhausted the topic of family more or less idealizingly since its beginnings. Having said that, the presentation of family has changed heavily: While Pippi Longstocking was allowed to master her adventures without any parental supervision and Ali Mitgutsch's wimmelbooks were characterized by the absence of parents and guardians, the protagonists of current vampire literature are peace-loving family people and the newer wimmelbooks specialize in depicting familial contexts. But is the image of the family in children's literature really subjected to a reactionary change? Or do the multiple presentations of family simply reflect the diversity of current social constructions of family, including patchwork families and elective affinities such as those of the Cullens in Twilight?


In the current interjuli, Melanie Babenhauserheide examines the ideology of blood and family in the Harry Potter-series while Annette Kliewer gives an overview of the presentation of absent parents in current children's literature. Andreas Wicke sheds light on the presentation of family in Andreas Steinhöfel's Rico and Oskar-trilogy and Braithwaite et al. Disentangle familial ties in dystopian children's literature. Furthermore, one of last year's winners of the German Children's Literature Award, Alexandra Maxeiner, honors us with an interview on family, intolerance and childhood nuisances.