The Department of English Language and Literature organized a seminar on the 5th of November, 2022 on the topic “Children’s Literature, City, and Language”.
The field of children’s literature is the focus of increasing interest in the academic community, in education and in society as a whole. The rising number of scholarly studies exploring linguistic, literary, cultural and social aspects of children’s reading materials testify to the escalating importance of the genre both academically and socially. This seminar aimed to promote the study of children’s literature on multiple levels and facilitate academic collaboration between scholars in the field from Hong Kong and South-east Asia. It also aimed to encourage students to participate in the research culture of the university by contributing poster presentations on aspects of children’s literature. Through the semester, the department was able to demonstrate that children’s literature is more than reading materials for children’s education, but an academic discipline with increasingly significant impact in the form of scholarly studies and our everyday context.
｜Main photo: Ms. Clairine CHAN gave a talk on “Embracing and engaging with children’s senses of belonging. being and becoming.”｜
The seminar was conducted in a hybrid mode with overseas scholars presenting online and local scholars attending the event in person. While a number of guests from other institutions were invited to participate in the seminar, it was also opened to the public as a webinar. Six guest speakers participated, including four scholars, Prof. Andrea Mei-Ying WU from National Cheng Kung University, Dr. Faye Dorcas Yung Schwendeman from University of Tsukuba, Prof. Eddie TAY from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ms. Clarine CHAN from the Education University of Hong Kong. The speakers presented insights on the role of place and language in children’s literature narratives, the interpretation of fair y tales, and children’s voices in educational materials.
Ms. Connie YUEN, an illustrator and writer and Ms. Nga Man WONG, editor of Cotton Tree Publishing House, provided an overview of the challenges they have faced in publishing Hong Kong children’s books. Publishing children’s books in Hong Kong is difficult because of the relatively modest profits that it can generate and the challenge of translating books from other languages. Children’s book publishing is a time-consuming business that requires dedication and passion.
Eighteen students took part in the poster presentation. This provided a great opportunity for students to express their research visually and explain to teachers, students, and guests their views on the topics of their investigations during the poster presentation session. Topics included gender representation in Disney, and Hayao Miyazaki’s animation and the use of horror in children’s cartoons. Some students examined the understanding of children’s literature in Chinese and English texts, while some looked into the language used in educational materials. The dynamics of the poster presentation enabled students to explain themselves well, and guests were impressed by the wide range of children’s literature investigated.
In order to promote and demonstrate the publication of children’s literature in Hong Kong, Cotton Tree Publishing has kindly provided the department with some of their books. Cotton Tree Publishing has a long history of publishing children’s reading materials. It has been devoted to the business in this city for more than 20 years. A mini-exhibition was included to showcase the wide variety of children’s books the firm publishes.
Source: Nov and Dec Issue 2022