Towards hope, acceptance and overcoming adversity through Reading for Pleasure.

Mukherjee, Sarah Jane and Charlesworth, Richard (2021). Towards hope, acceptance and overcoming adversity through Reading for Pleasure. In: The Applied Linguistics and Literacies Research Group (ALLRG) Seminar: ‘Beyond Reading for Pleasure’., 22 Jul 2021, online.


In the context of Covid-19, this project responds to concerns that children’s emotional wellbeing has been and will continue to be adversely affected. The focus for the work is the potential of reading for pleasure and picture fiction for primary aged children, and in particular books that convey hope and acceptance, and celebrate diversity. From a list of 150+ recent picture books that cover themes such as bereavement, anxiety, illness and reflect children’s multiple diversities (e.g. colourism, sexuality, poverty), 30 books were selected. Underpinned by Systemic Functional Linguistics and drawing on Kress and van Leeuwen (1996) & Painter’s (2009) work on image and picture fiction, these texts were analysed to explore how readers can connect and build relationships with characters and storylines by paying attention to and reflecting on linguistic and image choices. The team has created an accessible framework for practitioners and parents to support insights into the subtle meanings conveyed in picture fiction, affording greater confidence in choosing and using such texts in classrooms and homes. The work seeks to enable practitioners and parents as they support children to come to terms with and understand social and emotional challenges. Additionally, resources are being created to encourage in-depth dialogue around these diverse and sensitive topics.

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