Representation matters, including in picture book illustrations. Perhaps especially in illustrations, because children are fluent in the language of art in a way that most adults are not. There is no aspect of an illustration that escapes the attention of a child, and this means that to create art for children is to speak to an audience more attuned to the nuances of representation than yourself. This is one of the reasons why the misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in illustration – or the misrepresentation of other diverse peoples, for that matter – should never be dismissed as being ‘only a picture book’.
Being excited to contribute to the place you call home is what Kyle Hughes-Odgers’ art is all about. And it’s never too young to start in your own classroom! By helping students to discover their unique talents and their passions, we can support their involvement in the community and their ability to contribute.