The Evolvement of the Israeli Grandmother – As Reflected in Children’s Book Illustrations

Nitsa Dori


Gender and ageism as mirrored in illustrations of grandmothers in Hebrew children’s books (1930-2020), shed light on the Israeli reality, which shows the world’s portrayal of grandmothers as sometimes empowering and sometimes discriminatory. This article draws from the fields of the visual arts, gender studies, sociology, and culture, and emphasizes the power of illustration in children’s literature as an activistic tool for changing social and familial awareness among young receivers. The grandmother (and, recently, also the grandfather) is a popular character in children’s literature. The article will present models which shape the consciousness of children’s book illustrators regarding old age with the aid of many visual examples. This article will enable deeper understanding of the gender-based messages and effects of visual interpretation. This study can serve as a tool for educators and parents, to help children develop critical, independent, and value-based thinking. The article concludes that in today’s books, grandmothers appear more connected to advanced technology than ever. The illustrators of today’s children’s books connect with the model of the new grandmother and draw her wearing jeans and without wrinkles. In parallel, we also see traditionally-portrayed grandmothers in certain illustrations in recent books, from a post-feminist, rather than stereotypical, approach.

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Asian Journal of Social Science Studies  ISSN 2424-8517 (Print)  ISSN 2424-9041 (Online)  

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