According to Mundine & Giugni (2006), Australia, having been colonised by the British colonial powers up to the late 1800s, children were regarded as British and, thus, expected to read the children’s books of Britain. Henceforth, the writings started to explore experiences that came with being an Australian. For quite a very long time from then, most of the literature was based on its own culture: Most of the Australian writers of this period basically used Australian characters, both humans and animals. Writers even tried thick and thin to see to it that they created a sense of being in the right place whilst in the new, strange and un-European landscape: Australia, also known as the bush, by ensuring that imported stories were worked to fit into the Australian context (Dau, 2001). There, thus, has constantly existed the social misfit, racial segregation, and a lot of biasness in the systems. An example of these earliest writings was ‘A Mother’s Offering to Her Children’, by charlotte Barton (1841), whose purpose was to instruct the children’. Ethel turner’s, ‘Seven Little Australians’, a story set in the 1880s on a sheep station within Sydney, is another example. He uses Australian young pranksters, the Woollcott children living with their disciplinary father called Captain Woollcott, and a relatively young step mother called Esther, whose instructions the children never listened to. In this book, Ethel brings out a character of being naughty, optimistic and youthful as being a character of Australians. Norman Lindsay, also, in his book titled, ‘Magic Pudding’ presents his characters who he considers Australian as being friendly, good-natured and humorous lawbreakers. He insists that children should rather read books about food and fighting than about fairies. The children were, thus, not made to interact with the outside world, the neighbouring countries, and, even with Asia, of which Australia is part. There was an assumption of non-existence of a multicultural society, which, in the real essence existed. The question, then, that rings into our minds is that: Do we not have a responsibility to ensure justice amidst our families starting from the young generation, the children? A man is made of what he eats, so are children’s character made of what they see, hear or read. Due to all the aforementioned whys and wherefores, the relationship between Asia and Australia has for a long time been a focal point that has constantly raised a heated debate. In the analysis of this connexion, a study of the manner in which children’s literature has impacted on attitudes to Australia in the past, the present, and future as well is carried out. Several books play a very tremendous role in the fostering and orientation of this relationship. Presently, there even is a project on the same at Queensland University which is underway. With regards to the same, this paper tries to investigate the various realms in which these glitches which have sprung up as a consequence of racism can be solved. It is against this backdrop that this study tries to investigate the possible measures of mitigation that can assist curb such complications. Some of the solutions put forward are as outlined below.
To sum it up, the children’s literature has greatly affected the ideologies of the children of the Australia, and their perception of the rest of Asia. This is evidenced by the racial issues that come with them, and, moulds them into the adults, characterised by racism. The aforesaid strategies actually work together to help foster a relationship between Australia and the rest of Asia, this is in line with respect to the varied cultures exhibited by such other countries. Something worth noting is a fact that, not until a curriculum that tries to link them to the multicultural system is inculcated into the system of their education, these aforementioned snags are bound to stay perpetually.
Barnes, S. (2001): Festivals, holidays and community celebrations. In E. Dau. (Ed.) The Anti-Bias approach in Early Childhood (2nd Edition) pp159-167, Sydney: Addison Wesley Longman
Dau, E. (Ed.) (2001): The Anti-Bias approach in Early Childhood (2nd Edition). Sydney: Addison Wesley Longman.
Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (1999) The Adelaide Declaration on National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-First Century, Canberra.
Owen J & Andrew P (2003) Curriculum Outcomes in Access Asia Schools, Department of Education, Science and Training, Canberra.
Mundine, K. & Giugni, M. (2006). Diversity and Difference: Lighting the Spirit of Identity Research In Practice Series. Early Childhood Australia V 13 (3)