Princesses in children’s literature are a fraught topic. There has been a strong backlash against the glittery, pink-washed stories of passive princesses who wait in towers — objects to be won by daring knights. Yet many children are drawn to princess stories, and who wants to stop children from reading anything they are excited about?
Most of us were raised on stories about princesses. From the darkness of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson fairytales, to the gentler Disney versions, these stories are an inescapable part of our culture. Fortunately, there are now many fantastic picture books that challenge the conventional roles of princesses in stories, creating characters that are like us and that inspire us to dare and dream. Listed below are some of my favourites. They are sure to appeal to princess-loving children and their princessed-out parents alike! Continue reading
Book review: Talking to My Country, by Stan Grant, published in 2016 by HarperCollins AU
I first encountered Stan Grant earlier this year when his speech from the IQ2 debate on the Australian dream, presented by the Ethics Centre, came into the spotlight. Grant’s speech focussed on the deep roots of racism in Australia and its detrimental impact on the potential to achieve the Australian dream. ‘The Australian dream’ has come to stand for the chance to achieve prosperity, to be given a ‘fair go’ and to become part of the broader cultural and social life of the country. However Grant showed how this dream has always been — and remains — out of reach for Aboriginal Australians. Grant challenged some of Australia’s national myths, contrasting them with historical perspectives from Indigenous peoples and contemporary experiences of racism, reminding us of those historical events that Australia wishes to forget.
Grant’s book Talking to my country is an extension of this discussion, a call to account and a demand for understanding and recognition.