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Family composition as depicted in the New Zealand Picture Book Collection

Nicola Daly

Families are central to the lives of children, and in New Zealand there is a great diversity of family configurations. Bishop (1990) has described children’s literature as having a dual purpose. It may provide a window into another world and it may also act as a mirror for the lives of the reader. The importance of children seeing themselves in the books being read to them was the premise behind the creation of the New Zealand Picture Book Collection, He Kohinga Pukapuka Pikitia, a set of 22 picture books selected to reflect diversity in New Zealand society. This article will explore the ways in which New Zealand families are represented in a selection of 15 books from the collection, and discuss the implications for the children and educators reading these books in early childhood settings.

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