Disturbing Thoughts: Representations of Compassion in Two Picture Books Entitled <em>The Island</em>

  • Debra Dudek
Keywords: compassion


Two picture books titled The Island, one written and illustrated by Armin Greder and the other written by John Heffernan and illustrated by Peter Sheehan, address the treatment of refugees in Australia and function as an allegory for any situation in which a community mistreats an outsider. Readers bear witness to unethical behaviour by a group that is offset by the compassionate actions of an individual. The books differ in the means by which they position readers to evaluate individual actions, while inviting a similar response: that compassion is a necessary aspect of social justice and human (and creature) flourishing.


DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2011.0011

Author Biography

Debra Dudek

Debra Dudek works at the University of Wollongong as a Lecturer in English Literatures and as Director of the Centre for Canadian-Australian Studies. She is also President of the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand. She has published internationally on Australian, Canadian, and Children’s Literature in journals such as Ariel and Overland and in books including Keywords for Children’s Literature (NYU Press, 2011). She teaches in the areas of Australian children’s literature and social justice and children’s literature. In her current research, she analyzes representations of ethics, emotions, and monsters in texts for young people.

How to Cite
Dudek, D. (2011). Disturbing Thoughts: Representations of Compassion in Two Picture Books Entitled <em>The Island</em&gt;. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 3(2). Retrieved from https://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/93

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