ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rethinking Advocacy through Disability-themed Children’s ‘Fiction’

The Space We’re In and In the Meadow of Fantasies open up space for talking about disability in ways that are delightfully simple and evocative.

When we hear of disability-themed childrens fiction, we often think of stories of children with visible disabilities who are portrayed as having special abilities to compensate for their disability. Such representations depict inclusionwhether in the family, school, or among peersas possible when disability is overcome. Yet, within disability studies, there has been considerable critique of such inspiration porn, also referred to as supercrip narratives that place the burden of overcoming disability on the disabled person. For instance, many disabled people have been critical of the paralympics or similar events that celebrate the achievements of disabled persons or of patronising language such as divyang to refer to disabled persons. Moving away from such stereotypic and cliched representations, many authors narrate stories and experiences of everyday and mundane life situations. Two striking examples of those are Katya Balens The Space Were In (2019) and Hadi Mohammadis In the Meadow of Fantasies (2021).

The Space Were In is a wondrous book that strives to find streaks of light in the darkest of times, without negating the darkness. Balens masterful storytelling pulls the reader into a fascinating exploration of the inside world of a 10-year-old boy, who is as much a little child as he is a wise philosopher. Through his words unfolds a world of beauty, sadness, confusion, loss, disintegration, and eventual hope and reconstruction. This is not just a story of recovery from loss but of remaking oneself anew. This is the sort of book that one should read all at one go, curled up into a space of ones own.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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