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Monday, 1 May 2017

“If the stars are spotlights, I wanted the sun”: Hacking children’s literature in Raziel Reid’s When Everything Feels Like the Movies

I want to offer up some food for thought about risky texts and the concept of "hacking education." This chapter will be featured in a forthcoming book entitled Hacking Education in a Digital Age: Teacher Education, Curriculum, and Literacies.


In addressing the title of this book, Hacking Education, we are asked to consider how hacking might be a necessary part of moving educational discourse forward through a type of “productive destruction” so that educators can “spurn obedience to common sense patterns of acting/teaching/being.”  This paper considers how Raziel Reid’s (2014) When Everything Feels Like the Movies challenges the idea that children’s literature is a place where one can safely escape to avoid confronting the hyper realism of our times through hacking the conventional melodramatic form of historical fiction. When Everything Feels Like the Movies represents how the digital negotiates the liminal spaces of belonging and what is at stake there. In the main character Jude’s world of augmented reality, Reid establishes the allegorical significance of the gay male body as a means to address the social reality of the endangered lives of gay youths, children who do not conform to the readily consumable trope of the unproblematic child. 

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