Bookbird 2 / 2023

Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature, Vol. 61, No. 2, 2023

‘Play’s the Thing’ in the second issue of Bookbird for 2023: Playing in and through Children’s Books. Articles by a distinguished panel of contributors from many regions focus on a topic which is so relevant to childhood studies and to children themselves. The issue opens with a consideration of the interaction between play, words, and music in an illustrated Swedish book, before broadening into a feature on the potential for playfulness along with other aspects of wordless picturebooks. The article is augmented by a bibliography focused on wordless picturebooks which will be an invaluable aid to anyone teaching or researching this topic. That most playful of the picturebook form is discussed in an article on award-winning contemporary, movable picturebooks looking at the affordances of these fascinating constructions through their physical attributes and possibilities for engagement by young readers.

More award-winners are featured in a critique of award-listed Australian picturebooks. A lack of diverse ethnicities in these books is noted, chiming with conclusions about the eradication of racialized and ethnic identities in an article about Spanish-language picturebooks.

Grim aspects of children’s lives are explored in YA literature set in the Soviet Gulags of the Stalinist era, but a response to nature and dancing with the northern lights illustrates the indomitability and playfulness of the human spirit through the books’ young protagonists.

Bookbird’s commitment to global children’s books is further reflected in a feature on BILIJ (Bibliotheca Interactiva Latinoamericana Infantil y Juvenil) in Santiago, Chile, and on articles on books by authors from India and Indonesia, Ranjit Lal and Reda Gaudiamo, and short synopses of children’s books from South Korea, Canada, Germany and Indonesia in the ‘postcards’ section.

As always Bookbird concludes with ‘Focus IBBY’, an account of IBBY’s activities globally, and this time also pays tribute to Hans Christian Andersen Award Winners, Kvēta Pacovska (1992) from Prague and Wolf Erlbruch (2006) from Germany who both died recently. You can read each edition of ‘Focus IBBY’ on the IBBY website.  

This issue of Bookbird is worth purchasing for its gorgeous cover art by Zhu Chengliang, but single articles may also be downloaded from Project Muse. The issue will soon be available in Spanish from


Playing in and through Children’s Books
by Chrysogonus Siddha Malilang | 1



The Play of Words, Music, and Images in Hans Alfredson’s Flowery Frankfurters
by Björn Sundmark and Annette Mars | 3

Reviewing the Multifaceted Complexity and Potential of Wordless Picturebooks
by Sylvia Pantaleo | 15

An Analysis of the Semiotic Resources of Contemporary Movable Picturebooks
by Frank Serafini and Lindsey Moses | 26

“Paper White” Characters and the Desire for Homogeneity in Spanish-Language Picturebooks
by Macarena García-González and Xavier Mínguez-López | 37

A Cause for Hope or an Unwitting Complicity? The Representation of Cultural Diversity in Award-Listed Children’s Picturebooks in Australia
by Helen Adam and Yvonne Urquhart | 48

Northern Lights Are Our Friends: Soviet Deportations and Siberian Nature in Children’s and Young Adult Literature
by Mateusz Świetlicki and Sylwia Kamińska-Maciąg | 59



BILIJ: A Children’s Literature Interactive Space from the Global South
by María José Dulcic, Valentina Rivera, and Constanza Mekis | 69



Reda Gaudiamo, Childhood Memory, and Na Willa
by Anna Elfira Prabandari Assa | 75

Friendly Ghosts, Horrifying Reality: Female Infanticide in Ranjit Lal’s Faces in the Water
by Sietse Hagen | 78


by Carolina Ballester | 81


edited by Anamaria Anderson | 25, 47, 68, & 80


Download Focus IBBY 61.2