Bookbird 3 / 2023

Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature, Vol. 61, No. 3, 2023

The theme of this issue is “War and Displacement in Children’s Literature”, not an easy subject. Nevertheless, the articles in this issue have risen to the challenge of presenting conflict, both modern and historical, depicted in books for young readers in a manner that demonstrates the way in which reading can help young people to develop empathy with the victims of war plus some understanding of why war happens.

The opening article examines research on the response of 10-year-old students in a school in Oslo to a shared reading of a cognitively challenging picture book about war. The conclusion shows that the children were thoughtful readers who considered that reading such a text is a suitable means of imparting knowledge about war to young people. A further study in this issue shows that children’s war diaries can be agents of peace through emotional engagement. Three published diaries by young girls experiencing conflicts which range from the Pacific War to the war in Bosnia are discussed as examples of the transformative power of literature in shaping understanding. Further articles offer insights into two wars in Georgia through the lens of literary trauma theory; a consideration of  the role of poetry, art and historical memory in fostering dialogue about war; an analysis of how the Korean War is portrayed in five South Korean picturebooks, with particular reference to the DMZ; and an exploration of indigenous Australian’s experience of conflict through a comparative study of two picturebooks which have a particular focus on land as a source of conflict. These articles demonstrate the ubiquity of war and its awful consequences for children, but also show how reading about conflict can deepen empathy, as well as widening understanding of why wars happen. Two interviews with Ukranian picture book creators, Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv, and Oleksandr Shatokhin highlight how hope can be offered through children’s books, even in the most awful circumstances. And Shatokhin’s bright cover image from The Happiest Lion Cub for this issue of Bookbird is a testimony to this. The concluding article in this issue reminds readers of the power of books , even innocent-seeming children’s books, in situations of conflict. It describes of how illustrated books for young children–good quality, cheaply priced and widely available–published with the backing of Salvador Allende’s socialist government in Chile, were destroyed as soon as Allende’s party was overthrown. This is timely reminder of the importance attached by repressive regimes to books as mediums for developing  independent thought, something still pervasive today.

In addition to the above, Bookbird 61.3 reviews of secondary texts in “Books about Books”, news about IBBY from around the world in “Focus IBBY”, and “Postcards”–short articles on a children’s book from Poland, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Cyprus, and England.  

This issue of Bookbird is also available in Spanish through
Individual articles in English may be downloaded via Project Muse.




War and Displacement in Children’s Literature
by Mateusz Świetlicki and Chrysogonus Siddha Malilang | 1



The Role of the Child in a War Zone
by Åse Marie Ommundsen, Gro Marie Stavem, & Anne Kristine Øgreid | 4

Young People and Collective Trauma in Georgian Fiction about The Abkhazian War and The 2008 Russo-Georgian War
by Ani Chubinidze | 17

Children’s War Diaries as Agents of Peace
by Marija Todorova & Kathleen Ahrens | 27

Poetry, Art and Historical Memory: Fostering Dialogue about War
by Francisco Antonio Martínez-Carratalá & Sebastián Miras | 36

The Paradox of DMZ: Making War, Division, and Unification Intelligible Through Korean Picturebooks
by Yeojoo Lim & Sarah Park Dahlen | 45

The Use of Images to Explore the Indigeneous Experience of Conflict in Australian Children’s Picturebooks
by Margaret Baguley & Martin Kerby | 55


edited by Jutta Reusch—International Youth Library | 65



“We also wanted to show hope”: An interview with Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv
by Niels Beintker | 74

The Wordlessness of Hope: A conversation with Oleksandr Shatokhin
by Chrysogonus Siddha Malilang | 77

La Guerra de los Yacarés: Between (self)censorship and nostalgia
by Ignacia Saona Urmeneta, Ja’nos Kovacs-Navarro, & Soledad Véliz Córdoba | 81


by Carolina Ballester | 84


edited by Anamaria Anderson | 3, 44, 73, 79, & 80


Download Focus IBBY 61.3