In Sites and Sights: The Geographies of Image-Texts for Children, I analyze a variety of texts for young people with images and words—including picture books, illustrated novels, graphic novels, and a computer game—drawing on critical frameworks advanced within the sub-discipline of children’s geographies. Through this analysis, I argue that the geographies of visual narratives are inextricable from their discursive formations of childhood, demonstrating the extent to which ideology and geography are mutually co-constructed in writing for children. The image-text representations of children’s literature most clearly show us how narratives for young people spatialize ideology and make place and space ideological, in an ouroboros of meaning-making. Children’s texts communicate in part through spatial imaginaries and material spatialities, both of which work to reinforce, challenge, and engage with the ideological beliefs that structure childhoods.
This book has five chapters, organized with the goal of demonstrating the relevance of major geographic concepts to the study of writing for children. Each chapter close-reads a text or texts by exploring how narrative and form work together to position geography as intrinsic to the articulations of ideology, examining mobility, borders and migration, size and scale, displacement, and time-space compression.
CJ and his grandmother Nana ride the bus, in Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson's Last Stop on Market Street (2015)