Waikato Journal of Education


New Caledonia
cultural hegemony
children's literature
Melanesian culture


New Caledonia is a French overseas territory in the South Pacific with a long history of differing attitudes towards independence (Fisher, 2019). The local government aims to challenge French cultural hegemony by building a “New Caledonian School” (Gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Calédonie, 2016). That is, a school in which students are exposed to resources that reflect the realities of the country and allow for marginalised groups to become more visible in the curriculum. It is through this context that this article investigates how children’s literature, in particular picturebooks, began developing in New Caledonia. Children’s literature in New Caledonia is a relatively new phenomenon. Using Gramsci’s theory of hegemony, the paper explains the history of picturebooks in New Caledonia and their role in the curriculum. The official language of New Caledonia is French, but there are also 28 Kanak languages. Surrounded by Anglophone nations, such as Australia and New Zealand, education policies were put in place on this island to introduce English to students from primary school (Bissoonauth-Bedford, 2018). As a result, this article describes and analyses a bilingual picturebook written in French and English by Stephane Moysan (2017), entitled Yana’s Treasure: An Amazing Trip in New Caledonia. In particular, it reviews how this picturebook provides opportunities to bring to consciousness essential elements of Pacific French culture and identity both within and beyond the New Caledonian context.

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