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Children’s Literature Sans Frontiers

Tomi Ungerer: Wanderer, Weltburger, and Polyglot
Thu, 04/28/2016 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Teacher Education Building Rm. 220
Speaker and Affiliation: 
Dr. Christine Hélot, University of Strasbourg, France

Tomi Ungerer, world famous author and illustrator of children’s books, was born in Alsace in 1931. He came to New York when he was 25 and in ten years published over 80 books for children. In 1971, he left NY for Nova Scotia then later moved to Ireland where he lives today. In the eighties, as a fervent European, he became very engaged in several initiatives supporting the reconciliation of France and Germany and the creation of bilingual schools in Alsace.

Our presentation will focus on Ungerer’s multilingualism, creativity, sense of humour, and on the way he questions the notion of national identity. Ungerer writes in four languages (French, German, Alsatian, English) and refuses to be assigned to one mother tongue. As a citizen of the world, Ungerer rejects borders, whether political, linguistic, cultural or literary, and as author/illustrator he claims that he “makes” books for children and adults. His books are translated in over 30 languages but he also self– translated his childhood memoir in German and English.

Full abstract

Gail Prasad, gprasad4@wisc.edu
Department of Curriculum & Instruction and the Center for European Studies