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Role of Animals in Books for Children and Youths

By Dr George Jacobs

28 April 2018 (Sat)
9:30am – 11:00am

Singapore Book Council Training Room
90 Goodman Road, Blk E #03-32
Goodman Arts Centre
Singapore 439053

Course Fee: $50.00
Eventbrite Registration Fee: $3.24

This is a past course. View upcoming courses.


Many authors and illustrators include animals in their books for children, in part because children seem to have a special affinity for animals. Unfortunately, in the real world, we humans do not treat all animals the same; a dichotomy seems to exist between how we treat companion animals, such as cats, and how we treat those animals whom we use for food and other products. For example, humans often treat companion animals very kindly, looking out for their comfort and helping them live a long life. In contrast, humans often cause farmed animals, such as chickens and cows, to live harsh, short lives, e.g, chickens typically live in crowded, unhygienic, unnatural conditions and are slaughtered by age six weeks.

In the first part of this interactive session, the workshop leader presents examples of various portrayals of animals in children’s books, together with evidence about the real world human-nonhuman animal interface. Then, he suggests that children’s books: (1) do not perpetuate unrealistic images of idyllic farms, at the same time that books for young children should not show the horrors of factory farms and slaughterhouse; (2) focus on the positive characteristics of farmed animals, i.e., their intelligence, talents, family ties and altruism.

Participants are invited to share their thoughts and experiences about the portrayal of animals in children’s books. Finally, time will be allotted for brainstorming of ideas on how nonhuman animals might be more realistically portrayed in children’s literature.


  • Overview of the presence of companion animals (cats/dogs) and farmed animals (chickens/pigs/cows) in children’s literature
  • How the two types of animals’ portrayal in children’s books corresponds to the reality of these animals’ lives
  • Suggestions for how to more closely align the animals’ portrayal with their reality
  • Discussion and brainstorming
  • Future collaboration

About the Trainer: Dr George Jacobs

Dr George Jacobs

Dr George Jacobs has taught collaborative learning to a wide variety of teachers in Singapore, from teachers of lower primary students to teachers of adults. Furthermore, he has written many articles and books on collaborative learning, reading and related topics. George serves on the boards of the International Association for the Study of Cooperation in Education and the Extensive Reading Foundation. Currently, he teaches at James Cook University, as well as helping the Book Council.

Registration Details

Capability Development Grant

The Capability Development Grant is open to individuals and organisations who have a strong track record of involvement in the arts at a professional level, and is able to demonstrate commitment to the long-term development of the arts in Singapore.

Kinokuniya Privilege Card Members

Kinokuniya Privilege card members can enjoy 10% off the workshop fee.
Please provide your membership number and workshop title to [email protected] for the discount code before online registration.

Minimum – Maximum Number of Participants: 15 – 25 pax

Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis and workshop fees must be paid before the workshop. If the minimum number of participants is not met for the class, the organisers will inform all participants about possible postponement and cancellation, two weeks before the workshop date.

Cancellation & Substitution

The workshop can be cancelled or postponed two weeks before the workshop date if the minimum number of participants is not met. Participants will be fully refunded for workshops cancelled by us.

Participants who are unable to attend a workshop they have registered for are to inform us of the reason two weeks before the workshop date. They will be fully refunded in the event of extenuating and mitigating circumstances (E.g. illness, bereavement, accidents) . Those who inform us up to five (5) working days before the workshop date will receive a 50% refund. Participants can also attend another course at the same value within the same year.

Upon registration, you are deemed to have read and understood the cancellation, withdrawal and substitution policy and accept the terms contained therein.