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The Image of the Atomic Bomb's Mushroom Cloud in Picture Books for Children

Author(s): Gary Crew

Journal: Altitude : An e-Journal of Emerging Humanities Work
ISSN 1444-1160

Volume: 10;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Children’s picture books | illustrated books | atomic bomb | mushroom cloud

In The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image (1998), Leonard Shlain contends that the dissemination of the mushroom cloud image following the detonation of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima saved humankind from collective death by serving as a warning to of a future Armageddon. The image of the mushroom cloud is now over 50 years old and may well have lost its power to serve as a deterrent to the future use of the atomic bomb. Given that the children of today could constitute the future generation that might initiate nuclear warfare, this paper investigates how writers and illustrators of children's picture books have taken up the warning against the threat of atomic warfare, with particular reference to the significance of the iconic image of the mushroom cloud in that genre.
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