Breaking the Boundary: Crossover Picturebook as a Narrative Form to Introduce Difficult Topics for Children

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Refita Ika Indrayati


With the increase of awareness and understanding of children’s education in Indonesia, picturebook become one of popular media to transfer life knowledge. Picturebook combines visual and text in an interesting way and makes an optimal media for children to learn about their surrounding as well as to spark imagination. Crossover picturebooks are a narrative form that breaks through conventional boundary of traditional picturebooks we know today. Because of its cross-generational characteristic, hence its name, not only it can be enjoyed by children but also adults. This study aims to examine the cross-generational characteristic of Indonesian picturebooks that published between 2014-2022 and also explore the possibility to introduce difficult topics in narrative form. The samples will be gathered from list of award-winning picturebooks, lists of government recommended picturebooks in SIBI, and picturebooks that had collaboration or published by prominent non-government organizations and foundations such as YLAI, LITARA, The Asia Foundation, and Room to Read. The study shows that Indonesian children's books have experienced significant developments in terms of subject matter in the past five years. Many themes and subjects that were previously considered sensitive are now accessible to the public. From the selected samples, picturebooks with cross-generational characteristics can be a medium for conveying difficult themes, information, or ideas. Content adjustments such as the use of metaphors in illustrations, balanced comparison techniques, and information pages can help both adults and children to make reading process a fun experience. Of course, this needs to be supported by adults understanding of reading levels so that the delivered content is suitable for children's abilities and needs. Post reading activities are also encouraged to build and strengthen the child's connection with the story, thus can deepen the child's competence in literacy.

Keywords: Indonesian picturebook, difficult topics, storytelling, children’s media


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