Past Wars in Present Stories: An analysis of the Picturebook Vanishing Colors
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionChildren's Literature in Education. 2020, . 10.1007/s10583-020-09422-9
In a time when war has forced a vast number of children to flee their homes, flight from war is an important and timely topic explored in a variety of ways in contemporary picturebooks. The Norwegian picturebook Fargene som forsvant (2017)—or Vanishing Colors (2019)—addresses the topic through the story of an unnamed girl’s experience of having to leave her home. Vanishing Colors does not shield the reader from the terrible harm war does to individuals; it examines the experience of losing one’s home and former life. By analysing the picturebook in light of the concept of cultural memory, this article explores Vanishing Colors’ use of intertextual and intervisual references to past narratives of war and flight. I examine these references as part of our “collective knowledge” (Assmann 1995, p. 132), which allows the picturebook to recount both the story of an individual and a collective experience of war and flight.