The Politics of Stories: Realism and Fantasy in Palestinian Children’s Literature
My project is dedicated to researching the dynamic field of Palestinian children’s literature within the intricate political and social landscape of settler colonial fragmentation in Palestine. My work explores two distinct literary areas that emerged in response to the shifting territorial boundaries of 1948 and 1967. By closely examining children’s literature since the Second Intifada, I aim to uncover the gap between these fields and explore the strategies utilized by authors and illustrators to depict the experiences of readers authentically. A key aspect of my research revolves around using fantasy elements in Palestinian children’s literature as a powerful tool for navigating the realities of political occupation. Through the lens of controlled fantasy, young protagonists are empowered to overcome the challenges they face. In contrast, literature produced within the 1948 borders takes on a distinct realism characteristic driven by educational didactics. This realism serves both authors’ and publishers’ financial aspirations, often targeting the Israeli education system with educational and non-political narratives. My research delves into the mechanisms authors, illustrators, and publishers employ within this complex context. I explore the delicate balance they navigate between artistic expression and the pursuit of financial stability, often compelled by the constraints of the settler colonial environment. By critically examining self-censorship and resistance, I shed light on the transformative power of Palestinian children’s literature.