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Literatura y lingüística

Print version ISSN 0716-5811


OW, Maili; GALVEZ, Bárbara; GUTIERREZ, Francisca  and  ISRAEL, Alexandra. How do boys and girls respond to books about death? Analysis of reading responses of kindergarten to 4th grade students to the picture book Frog and the birdsong. Lit. lingüíst. [online]. 2021, n.43, pp.75-100. ISSN 0716-5811.

In recent years, complex themes have been incorporated into children's literature. Topics such as death, parental separation or sexual diversity, to name a few, were, until recently, forbidden by adults, who select what boys and girls should read. The purpose of this study is to analyze the reading responses to the picture book Frog and the birdsong (1992). Twenty students from two educational establishments in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Chile, participated. They were asked to retell the story and to answer questions on their interpretation of the book. An analy- sis of the textual content of the reading responses was carried out from a qualitative methodological approach. The results showed that the older the schoolchildren, the greater capacity to refer to death. At least two stages were detected in the understanding of the phenomenon: death as a reversible process (in the youngest) and death as an irreversible event (in the oldest). At the same time, the children's understanding of the text is mediated by ima- ges of an empathic nature with warm colors. This helped readers refer to the subject of the text with ideas that are more related to love, family, friends and less to situations surrounding death such as illness, accidents, and burial.

Keywords : children's literature; representation of death; reading responses.

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