What does it mean to write the animal? In Philippine children’s literature where the population of the nonhuman animal is difficult to ignore, writing (about) them is supposed to aspire familiarization: an action that guides the child reader toward concepts of animality. The nonhuman animal has also been recognized as therapeutic narrative elements, aids in identity construction, and effective fictional teachers of species relationships. The inclusion and, more accurately, the functions of the nonhuman animal in the text, however, are symptomatic of speciesism: the belief in human superiority, and the redundant establishment of their supremacy. Influenced by the insights of the likes of Jacques Derrida, Tony Milligan, Tom Regan and the plights of the “animal turn,” this paper exposes the
speciesist and marginalizing misrepresentation of nonhuman animals in both word and visuals that exist in select children’s picture books. Both sides of the binary—the human/nonhuman animal—are significant elements in the discussion; to talk about one side entails remembering the other. Hence, an exploration of representation yields conclusions about the literary, and perhaps even the real, relationship between the two. The dangers these misrepresentations and conclusions pose to the mindset of children not only prove threatening to nonhuman animals, but also to the construct of equal significance among species.


Human-animal studies, Philippine fiction, distanced approach, intrinsic value, inherent value

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)