University of Oulu

Vardanian, M., Kokkola, L. (2023). Seeking Home, Discovering the Bush: The Australian Bush Envisaged in Ukrainian Children’s Books. In: Duckworth, M., Herb, A. (eds) Storying Plants in Australian Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Critical Approaches to Children's Literature. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Seeking home, discovering the bush : the Australian bush envisaged in Ukrainian children’s books

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Author: Vardanian, Maryna1; Kokkola, Lydia2
Organizations: 1Department of Translation and Slavic Studies, Kryvyi Rih State Pedagogical University, Ukraine
2University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: embargoed
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2023
Publish Date: 2025-10-05


This chapter examines Ukrainian Australian literature for children and youth written by 14 authors between 1950 and 1990. All but one of these authors moved from Ukraine to Australia in the aftermath of World War II. The analyses combine Donna Haraway’s (The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2003) concept natureculture with the notion of gaze. The compound “natureculture” challenges the intellectual tradition of separating nature and culture to highlight interactions between the two. Human influence on plants has been normalized to the extent plant influence on humans is rendered invisible. We use the notion of “gaze” to make visible aspects of human-plant interaction that might otherwise go unnoticed, highlighting instances where the authors either obscure or celebrate plant autonomy. This chapter focuses on the representation of the Australian bush in literature for Ukrainian children and youth. We examine representations of bush as a place, then as a plant or group of plants. The former exposes Ukrainian settlers’ imposition of “Ukrainian gaze” onto the landscape: i.e., seeing the Australian bush through the lens of Ukrainian landscapes. However, we also identify works where Ukrainian Australian authors recognize plant autonomy. We suggest this becomes more evident when the bush is conceived as a plant and/or in relation to the Indigenous populations of Australia.

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Series: Critical approaches to children's literature
ISSN: 2753-0825
ISSN-E: 2753-0833
ISSN-L: 2753-0825
ISBN: 978-3-031-39888-9
ISBN Print: 978-3-031-39887-2
Pages: 169 - 188
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-39888-9_9
Host publication: Storying plants in Australian children’s and young adult literature : roots and winged seeds
Host publication editor: Duckworth, Melanie
Herb, Annika
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 6122 Literature studies
Copyright information: © 2023 Springer Nature. This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at: Use of this Accepted Version is subject to the publisher’s Accepted Manuscript terms of use”.