Exploring Personal Narrative and Storytelling Through the Recreation of a Historical Children's Fairy Tale

Ding, Manting
Jowsey, Susan
Item type
Research Project
Degree name
Master of Design
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Auckland University of Technology

This report discusses the main design decisions that informed the creation of my picture book ‘Manting and the Emperor.’ Through illustration and storytelling I have fused a specific memory from my childhood to Hans Christian Andersen’s narrative of The Emperor’s New Clothes. Three key children’s books helped me to understand authorship from the perspective of the illustrator/storyteller: Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak), The Arrival (Shaun Tan), and Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book? (Lauren Child). Using this knowledge, I set about creating a narrative that gave voice to my personal experience, and I hope by association, to all who read it. Underrepresentation and misrepresentation of gender and ethnicity in mainstream children’s storybooks also surfaced during this research project, my character ‘Manting’ is very much a young Chinese girl and the heroine of my story. Combining Chinese and European cultures in the production of this book has allowed me to create bridges between personal experience and historical fairy telling, as well as between the cultures I inhabit.

Children's picturebook , Personal narrative , Storytelling , Illustration
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