Hello, Future Me! Picturebooks That Require Work For The Future (Clémentine Beauvais)

In this workshop I am interested in picturebooks for younger or older readers that require said reader to write segments of said picturebook, either freely or in response to specific questions, and then use the completed picturebook as a 'time capsule' to themselves in the future; or, for which it is understood that the completed journal will become a family keepsake.

I want us to analyse together 3 examples of such picturebooks and see what they can tell us of:

  • Visions of aspects of the younger self worth remembering
  • Anticipatory nostalgia for one's present self
  • Children's or young people's current duties to their future selves
  • Adult wished for what their child self could tell them today

In answering these questions, I want to focus particularly on the physical and visual makeups of these texts, and how they invite the reader-writer to make use of the space for creating those keepsakes.

Required reading list

You are not required to read the 3 picturebooks ahead of time but you can if you wish!

Clemons, K. (2020) Time Capsule: A Seriously Awesome Journey. Sourcebooks

Redmond, L. (2016) Letters to Me, When I Grow Up: Write Now. Read Later. Treasure Forever. A Paper Time Capsule. San Francisco: Chronicle. 

Potter, C. (2016) Me: A Compendium: A Fill-in Journal for Kids. Wee Editions.

Secondary literature

Durrans, B. (2003). Posterity and paradox: some uses of time capsules. In Contemporary Futures, ed. S. Wallman (pp. 63-79). Routledge.


Durrans, B. (2014). Time Capsules as Extreme Collecting. Extreme Collecting: Challenging Practices for 21st Century Museum, ed. G. Were and JCH King (pp.181-202).

Good, K. D. (2013). From scrapbook to Facebook: A history of personal media assemblage and archives. New media & society, 15(4), 557-573.

Preparatory task for all participants

In advance of the workshop, please come ready to discuss:

1) One keepsake, scrapbook, journal or any other similar time capsule from the past you might have encountered - yours or someone else's - and what you think its attractions are for the adult self

2) Watch this central scene of the 2000 film 'Amelie', where the heroine discovers a forgotten box and sets out to find its adult owner. Analyse the scene and the contents of the box. What does it say about memories of childhood worth keeping? You can then watch the scene where it gets found again by its owner. How is this discovery presented? Think of the use of colour, music, angle, etc.

Assignment for students taking ECTS credits 

Students should submit 500-700 words of critical reflection in answer to the following question: ' "Your grown-up self will thank you" - But thank you for what? Critically discuss the question of future gratitude in relation to time capsule books for children.'

Children’s Cultures: Travelling Concepts in Children’s Literature, Film and Media Studies (Macarena García-González)

In this workshop, we explore “travelling concepts” (Bal 2002) for children’s literature and media research from within feminist new materialisms. According to new materialisms, things in the world and objects of our research may be simultaneously real and constituted by our inquiry practices and will evade all our efforts to capture them. In this workshop, we reflect on some concepts that may orientate inter- and transdisciplinary research in children’s literature, film and media studies. Doing so, we will sketch the borders of some concepts we have been working with —children’s cultures, childish criticism and transmedia narratives— and then invite the participants to propose and delineate other concepts. The workshop will be structured around the Harry Potter series and reception as a case to explore possible agencies of concepts in children’s literature, film and media research.

Required reading list

Mieke Bal (2002). “Introduction” Travelling Concepts in the Humanities. A Rough Guide. Toronto, Buffalo & London: University of Toronto Press.

García-González, Macarena, and Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak. "New materialist openings to children's literature studies." International Research in Children's Literature 13.1 (2020): 45-60

Assignment for students taking credits

Select one of the concepts we talked about during the workshop and use it to analyse a text of culture addressed to children that may be read from literature, film and media studies perspectives. Send a text of max 800 words to macarena.garciagonzalez@glasgow.ac.uk and justyna.deszcz-tryhubczak@uwr.edu.pl before July 21st.

Multimodality in practice - making and reading multimodal narratives (Dragana Radanović)

In this workshop, we will take a closer look at multimodal narrative creation when it comes to stories about childhood. With the help of affordances, such as simultaneous/sequential mode, connected to different mediums (comics, picturebooks), we will look at graphic narratives and the process of creating. By doing practical experiments (no drawing experience needed!), we will be able to reflect on the space between creating and reading and answer the question of how our culture, experiences and knowledge, guide, enrich or colour our understanding of the story we are looking at.

Building on comics-based research, we will look at ways multimodality can inspire unexpected insights and force the researcher to slow down and notice (Causey, 2016). Then, by creative play with your favourite examples of multimodal narratives, we will look at the relationships between modes (such as image, text or sound) and how, in the words of Lewis (2001), they ‘interanimate’ each other. 

By the end of the workshop, participants will be more sensitive to different types of multimodal relations and be able to identify them easier, which will help in learning how these relationships influence meaning-making.

Preparatory task for all participants


  1. Lewis, D. (2012). Reading contemporary picturebooks: Picturing text. Routledge.
  2. Kuttner, P. J., Weaver-Hightower, M. B., & Sousanis, N. (2021). Comics-based research: The affordances of comics for research across disciplines. Qualitative Research, 21(2), 195-214.

In advance of the workshop, please come ready to discuss the following:

One graphic narrative (picturebook, comics) of your choice connected to the theme of childhood, in which you noticed an interesting relationship between different elements of the narrative. You can look for the relationships between the images, texts,  colours, forms, composition, and other medium specific qualities of graphic narratives. You can focus on one, or multiple relationships. Please bring a hard copy of that narrative so we can copy some of the pages and play with them.

Assignment for students taking credits

After the workshop, students are expected to submit 500-700 words of critical reflection in answer to the following theme: “If I was the maker of this book”. Critically discuss the multimodal relationships in the pages of choice from the graphic narrative you brought to the workshop. Send a text to dragana.radanovic@kuleuven.be by July 21 2023.


Kuttner, P. J., Weaver-Hightower, M. B., & Sousanis, N. (2021). Comics-based research: The affordances of comics for research across disciplines. Qualitative Research, 21(2), 195-214.

Causey, A. (2017). Drawn to see: Drawing as an ethnographic method. University of Toronto Press.

Judging a Picturebook by Its Cover (and other Paratexts) (Krzysztof Rybak)

In his Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation, Gérard Genette draws the reader’s attention to often overlooked elements of a book, such as a title, cover illustration, and backmatter, called paratexts. Studies on paratexts seem crucial for picturebook research in particular: the content (traditionally speaking, story in fiction and information in non-fiction) is always contextualised by the book’s title, cover illustration, or blurbs that not only trigger the reader’s expectations and set the tone of a particular work but also correspond to the main text and create new meanings.

The workshop aims to discuss the use of paratexts in picturebooks. We will look at different genres, titles, and language editions of selected picturebooks, discussing terms and definitions used for the research on paratexts. We will analyse many paratexts of various picturebooks, but also perform a detailed analysis of one picturebook. As an outcome, the participants will be more aware of the paratexts and their role in reading (and analysing) picturebooks.

Required reading list

Pantaleo, Sylvia. ‘Paratexts in Picturebooks’. The Routledge Companion to Picturebooks. Ed. Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer. New York: Routledge, 2018. 38–48. (Available on Blackboard)

Preparatory task for all participants

Read Sylvia Pantaleo’s chapter from The Routledge Companion to Picturebooks and note down the terms and definitions useful for analysis of paratexts in picturebooks. Then take a closer look at the paratexts in a picturebook of your choice (preferably in your language/from your country) and reflect on the use of paratexts. Come to the workshop with a hard copy of that picturebook (if possible — if not, take some pictures with your phone), and be prepared to share your thoughts with the others.

Assignment for students taking ECTS credits

Referring to Pantaleo’s essay, analyse paratexts in a picturebook of your choice (preferably in your language/from your country). You may focus on one of the paratexts (like endpapers) or briefly analyse more, showing how they correspond to the main text. The text should not exceed 700 words, but the images are welcome in any amount. Send the Word or Pages file to km.rybak@uw.edu.pl before July 16th.

Reading Animals: Representing Animals in Nonfiction Picturebooks (Eve Tandoi)

In this workshop I want us to work together to examine how the ‘threshold concept’ (Meyer and Land, 2003) of animal biodiversity is represented to young readers. In doing so, I would like to consider the extent to which a shift in nonfiction picturebook aesthetics (Tandoi and Spring, 2018) is paralleled by a shift in understanding about our relationship with more-than-human-others.

Using the collection of nonfiction picturebooks gathered by the participants, I would like to draw on aspects of picturebook theory and posthumanism to explore the following questions:

·      How does the picturebook organise animals into categories?

·      How are animals situated on the page?

·      Does the illustrative style evoke or depict the animals?

·      How do multimodal elements support understanding and/or emotion?

In answering these questions, I would like to reflect on the extent to which picturebooks provide ‘meeting places’ (Hollindale, 1997) within which to build ‘communities of concern’ (Chomsky, 2000) that hope to bring individuals together from across the life course to act.


Chomsky, N. (2000) Chomsky on Miseducation. Lanham Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.

Hollindale, P. (1997). Signs of Childness in Children’s Books. Jackson: Thimble Press.

Meyer, J. and Land, R. (2003) Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising Within the Disciplines. Published online: http://www.etl.tla.ed.ac.uk/docs/ETLreport4.pdf

Required Reading list

Tandoi, E. and Spring, E. (2022) "Representing Evolutionary Theory in Nonfiction Picturebooks." International Research in Children’s Literature 15(2) pp. 111-124

Jaques, Z. (2018). “Animal Studies”. In The Edinburgh Companion to Children’s Literature. Edinburgh University Press pp. 42-53.

Preparatory task for all participants

For this workshop I would like you:

1.     To select a nonfiction picturebook, preferably from your own country and in your own language, that sets out to teach children about animals.

2.     To analyse this picturebook and attempt to identify how is represents animals. What kinds of animals are represented? Are the animals portrayed within their habitats? What information about the animals is shared? Do humans feature in the picturebook?

3.     Bring the nonfiction picturebook you have selected to the workshop and be ready to share your analysis of it with a small group of people in your own words. 

Assignment for students taking credits

Students should submit 500-700 words of critical reflect on how animals are represented within their picturebook of choice.