The Rise of the Illustrated YA Novel: Challenges to Form and Ideology

By Pamela Macintyre.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld and illustrated by Keith Thomspon, Shaun Tan’s The Arrival and Tales from Outer Suburbia, have in common that they are all illustrated books for young adults. That is, much of their narrative is conveyed in sophisticated illustrations that require as close a reading as does the written text. All have won awards nationally and internationally, and not only in the categories of young adult books, but in the case of Shaun Tan, in the adult field.
This paper will explore the appeal and challenge of the illustrated book to adolescent and adult audiences using as a particular example, Shaun Tan’s Tales from Outer Suburbia. Appropriating Foucault’s (1986) concept of heterotopia, this paper argues Tan’s unique, hybrid form of visual and verbal narrative, constructs a counter site, a ‘crisis heterotopia’ (Foucault, 1986) which challenges the dominant Australian culture in complex ways unavailable to words alone.

Keywords: Illustrated Book, Young Adult Novel, Heterotopias

International Journal of the Book, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.135-144. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 888.544KB).

Dr. Pamela Macintyre

Lecturer, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Pam Macintyre teaches undergraduate and post-graduate courses in language, literacy, children’s and young adult literature in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne. She is the editor of the quarterly review journal, Viewpoint: on books for young adults. She is a member of the Schools Programming Committee of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. She has been a member of the National Executive of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, a judge for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, Aurealis Awards and CBCA Book of the Year Awards. She is co-author, with Susan La Marca, of Knowing Readers: Unlocking the Pleasures of Reading. Her research interests focus on literary texts, new texts and the process of reading engagement.

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