Creating Characters with Diversity in Mind: Two Canadian Authors Discuss Social Constructs of Disability in Literature for Children

Beverley Brenna

Abstract


Children’s authors have not traditionally developed characters with disabilities to include a multiplicity of traits, crafting instead static, uni-dimensional portrayals. While books with depictions of characters with identified exceptionalities have appeared on
bookstore shelves and awards’ lists, these characters have generally been relegated to subsidiary positions, assisting other main characters in their growth and development without demonstrating parallel learning. Two Canadian authors discuss their conceptualization of characters with special needs, exploring personal narratives which have informed their work and concluding that children require book collections which explore multi-levelled characters, encouraging readers to discover real life heroes within and among themselves.

Keywords


authors; children's literature; disability; characters

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