Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 40–51

Once Upon Today: Teaching for Social Justice with Postmodern Picturebooks

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10583-009-9097-9

Cite this article as:
O’Neil, K. Child Lit Educ (2010) 41: 40. doi:10.1007/s10583-009-9097-9


Children’s literature has long been used by parents and teachers to impart social values and expectations as well as to entertain children. Postmodern picturebooks jar this tradition by stimulating readers to question and rethink societal norms. However, these books also feature many cultural attributes that hold fast: loving families are still a safe harbor after adventures, while hard work and perseverance remain keys to success. Thus postmodern picturebooks provide a safe realm for exploration of values and traditional mores. This article examines the use of postmodern picturebooks in classroom settings to spark discussions that can lead to greater awareness of the world and the possibilities of students’ roles in it. The article also suggests activities to encourage children to reflect on new ways of being and thinking on a level appropriate to their sensibilities.


Social justicePostmodernPicturebooksElementary literacy

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Northern Colorado, College of Education and Behavioral SciencesGreeleyUSA