Exploring the Narrative Art of David Weisner: Using a Grammar of Visual Design and Learning Experiences on the World Wide Web

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This paper discusses the use of ‘a grammar of visual design’ with children’s literature. This ‘visual grammar’ is an account of the meaning-making resources of images that has been developed by Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen. The basic ideas of the visual grammar are firstly illustrated with a description of images mainly selected from the picture book, Zoo by the British author, Anthony Browne. The focus is then on the picture books of David Wiesner and the ways in which the grammar of visual design can be used to enhance discussions of the author’s visual narrative techniques. What is proposed here is that developing students’ understanding of the Kress and van Leeuwen concepts of visual design will allow them to engage in more productive analysis of the pictorial aspects of Wiesner’s and other artists’ picture books, both in book format and in the readily available websites with activities using Wiesner’s and others’ picture book art.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access