In Germany, almost everyone knows Paul Maar’s stories about Das Sams. The Sams is a strange little creature, a kind of hybrid between Alf and a wish fairy, which more or less happens upon a middle-aged, reclusive man called Bruno Taschenbier. For reasons I am unwilling to explain here (you’ll have to read up on it by yourself), Taschenbier is adopted by the Sams as his “Papa”, which, apart from causing a lot of chaos in his hitherto quiet and boring life, has its benefits, since The Sams finds itself in the possession of a lot of blue freckles on its face, and with every freckle it is able to grant a wish to Bruno Taschenbier. Each of those, however, has to be formulated precisely, otherwise… well, see my point about chaos above.
First published in 1973, it took decades before the author finally agreed to a film adaptation of his book series. For the wonderful edited volume on Paul Maar – Studien zum kinder- und jugendliterarischen Werk (edited by Andreas Wicke and Nikola Roßbach) I have written a little essay on the film adaptations, which are interesting from a narratological perspective since the first film combines the content and story structure of the first three books within 90 minute’s screen time.
I have written an article on multiperspectival narration in Raquel Palacio’s novel Wonder for the international journal interjuli. The German-language article explores the idea that recent disability narratives gravitate towards more complex forms of storytelling, in this case: towards employing multiple narrators or narrational perspectives. You can download the article here.
Sabine Planka has edited the English-language edited volume Critical Perspectives on Artificial Humans in Children’s Literature (Königshausen & Neumann, 2016) whose contributions explore the sophisticated ways in which children’s literature deals with the idea of artificial human beings, and how society, social fears and wishes are reflected and integrated within it. I have contributed an essay to that volume: “Dystopias of Creation: The Evolution of Artificial Humans in Contemporary Young Adult Literature”. Continue reading →
I have written a short entry introducing KinderundJugendmedien.de – our website dedicated to research in children’s literature, film, and other media – in the most recent issue 16.3 of the children’s media research journal kjl&m. You can find the entry here. There’s also another entry on KinderundJugendmedien.de published in CLOSURE – a German-language digital journal decdicated to Comics research (lookahere).