Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2014


"Because of the immaturity of the ego," notes Harold Blum (2007), "children are more susceptible to trauma and require greater support from sustaining objects with whom they identify in order to recover from the traumatic experience with new mastery and adaptation" (p. 64). manifesting the wisdom of psychotherapy, children's literature portrays how young traumatized protagonists tell their own stories. in Markus Zusak's young adult novel The Book Thief (2005), Liesel Meminger, traumatized by Nazi war- fare, survives by writing her own story. in Clare Vanderpool's Moon over Manifest (2010), another young adult novel, Abilene Tucker, abandoned by a shiftless father, finds her own story by reporting those of others. [...]John Burningham (1977) employs this contrapuntal quality in Come Away From the Water, Shirley! to convey the lack of connection between the world of the parents and the world of their daughter. on the left side of the page, we hear the parents' kibitzing, "Careful where you're throwing those stones. you might hit someone" (p. 12); on the right side, we see Shirley throwing herself, head first, into the sea, Jolly Roger and dirty dog in tow (p. 13) (Fig. 1). in the satirical juxtaposition--not lost on the youngest of readers-the text represents the perceived world of the parents, while facing it the pictures reveal the interior life of Shirley. in The Gardener, Small and Stewart employ this contrapuntal quality, albeit with less slapstick, to picture Lydia Grace's simultaneous fear and optimism in the act of scripting her own life.

Publication Title

American Imago

Publisher Statement

Copyright 2014 American Imago, Johns Hopkins University Press, Vol. 71, Number 2, Summer 2014.





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