Review of Reading Race: Aboriginality in Australian Children's Literature, by Clare Bradford


Clare Bradford's already influential study has received several top international honours in the past year, including the North-American-based Children's Literature Association Award, and the International Research Society for Children's Literature Award. (Bradford received the latter at the society's biennial conference, held this year in Kristiansand, Norway. The two runners-up were also books by Australian critics—eloquent testimony to the country's formidable reputation in children's literature scholarship.) Prior to this study, books for children were scarcely ever referred to in discussions of representation of Aborigines in Australian texts (see Adam Shoemaker's Black Words: White Page [1989], for example, or Bob Hodge and Vijay Mishra's Dark Side of the Dream [1991]). Children's texts have customarily been marginalised in cultural production and literary discourse, despite the fact that, in this particular instance, children's books offer a rich and fascinating resource for considering the ways in which generations of Australians have been positioned to understand Aboriginal culture; relationships between Aborigines and non-Aborigines; and relationships between Aboriginality and national identity. Because Reading Race looks at a crucial but often neglected component of cultural formation, Bradford's book occupies an extremely significant niche in contemporary literary and cultural criticism.

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Published 1 May 2004 in Volume 21 No. 3. Subjects: Aboriginal Australians - Literary portrayal, Australian children's literature.

Cite as: Pearce, Sharyn. ‘Review of Reading Race: Aboriginality in Australian Children's Literature, by Clare Bradford.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 21, no. 3, 2004, doi: 10.20314/als.3d521e92e5.