A Critical Content Analysis of Children’s Nonfiction Books of Korea

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This article analyzes 32 nonfiction picture books about South Korea, drawing on Said’s (in: Essed and Goldberg (eds) Race critical theories, Blackwell Publishing, Maden, pp 15–37, 2002) critical perspectives of Orientalism and Imagined Geography. Specifically, we explore the nature of informational books, arguing that readers consume these designs as a commodity rather than as an informational resource. In doing so, we unpack falsities about South Korea as reflected in Western readers’ and authors’ understandings of imagined geography. Findings show nonfiction books about Korea as a global culture feature five categories of inaccurate and false information: (1) the complete made-up story, (2) partially accurate information (3) overgeneralized statements, (4) outdated information, and (5) mismatched visual information. By focusing on nonfiction picture books for children, we underscore the obligation that book creators (authors and publishers) have to ensure the veracity of knowledge (re)production and circulations about Korean people and culture.