UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Between metaphors, a documentary : reimagining war and violence in Colombia through picturebooks De La Vega, Valeria


Colombian children have grown up in a country where there has been a constant internal conflict for more than five decades. Part of this conflict came to an end in 2016 with a signed peace agreement between the FARC-AP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – Peoples Army) and the Colombian government. In the present, the country is going through a post-conflict phase and trying to negotiate peace with other armed groups that are still active. This reality makes children from both rural and urban areas aware of the conflict, and either they or their family members have been directly or indirectly affected by it. Picturebooks are one way that youth and their families can have conversations on the challenges of war and the consequences that come from it, provided that these texts are carefully crafted. This thesis investigates picturebooks in Colombia that depict types of violence brought about by internal conflict. Limited academic research has interrogated the role of picturebooks in this specific region and addressing this conflict. Knowledge of this area is critically important to understand the possible benefits and difficulties that such books bring to Colombian children and beyond. With this in mind—by analysing the six interviews that form the basis of a documentary film entitled Entre metáforas: re-imaginando la guerra y violencia en Colombia a partir del libro album (Between Metaphors: reimagining war and violence in Colombia through picturebooks)—I sought to answer: how are picturebooks that focus on the violence in Colombia published? How are these picturebooks received by their readers, based on the experiences of the booksellers, authors and illustrators? Finally, what are the perspectives of Colombian children’s book specialists on this subject? This thesis is both a qualitative analysis of the process of creating picturebooks about the Colombian experience from the perspective of authors, illustrators, and editors, as well as an act of research creation, as the documentary film provides an alternate entry to this knowledge for diverse stakeholders, including educators, creative professionals, and scholars of children’s literature.

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