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Children's Literature
Number of Followers: 10  
 
  Full-text available via subscription Subscription journal
ISSN (Print) 0092-8208 - ISSN (Online) 1543-3374
Published by Johns Hopkins University Press Homepage  [22 journals]
  • Cooking Up a New Journal

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      Abstract: To read the first volumes of Children's Literature requires a process like peeling an onion. As Gérard Genette points out in his Paratexts (1997), a text is generally framed by paratextual elements such as a title, preface, and illustrations that "ensure the text's presence in the world, its 'reception' and consumption" (1). Francelia Butler used paratexts in the journal for just the purposes Genette describes: to validate her work in the field. As she explains in her first preface, "The Editor's High Chair," her goal was "to stimulate the writing, teaching, and study of children's literature by humanists" (1: 8) as well as to promote a broader study of children's culture.Both the layers of paratexts that appear in ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • From the Editor

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      Abstract: Children's Literature began in 1969 with the vision of its founder, Francelia McWilliams Butler, who saw the journal as a space "to encourage humanists with the best (and open) minds to enter the field" (1: 8). Her explicit concern was "the careful study" of "the literature available to our children and youth" (1: 8), an intent that is often rephrased as a commitment to "the serious study of children's literature" (Zack; Dillard 185). But this project was set, always, in the context of humor, in the tension between the urgency to prove that children's literature could be the subject of academic discourse and the desire to enjoy the reading of children's books. For more on "the story of a woman of intelligence and ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Children's Literature and Children's Literature Scholarship: The British
           Perspective

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      Abstract: In Britain, the early 1970s were a remarkable period for children's literature, in more ways than one. In 1965, the critic and author John Rowe Townsend had declared that, in terms of titles, "the second golden age is now" (Written for Children 151), with fantasy writers such as Joan Aiken, Alan Garner, and Susan Cooper at their peak. Into the 1970s, the neorealistic legacy of the erosion of twentieth-century concepts of childhood, accelerated by the "youth culture" of the "swinging sixties," produced key works by Richard Adams, Jan Mark, Aidan Chambers, and illustrators such as Anthony Browne and John Burningham. The number of children's books departments within British publishing companies had increased in the ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Of Publications, Pickaninnies, and Literary Soup Lines: Reflections on
           Diversity in Children's Literature

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      Abstract: I have been asked to shed light on fifty years of scholarship in Children's Literature with an eye toward its contributions to diversity. Since a book would be required for doing this thoroughly, I have chosen some of the most noteworthy ideas that surface in the journal, with an emphasis on the earliest years—the first decade. I made this decision both because this is likely the material that is least familiar to those who consult the journal most frequently and to illustrate that some of the critical conversations that we are still having today about diversity in children's literature have been points of contention prior to the existence of this journal and throughout its history. Diversity surfaced in several ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Mentalités of Theory in Children's Literature: 1972–2022

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      Abstract: Every academic building in which I have worked has been four stories tall and has been serviced by a slow-moving elevator. I remember feeling trapped in a particularly sluggish one in 1989, when I was a third-year PhD student. I had just received my first copy of Children's Literature in my campus mailbox, which was located on the ground floor of the English Department's building. I devoured an article on Little Women in the mailroom, quickly discerned that one pivotal article was an elegant deconstruction of the topic I had covered in my master's thesis, and the only person around whom I could tell about my fascination with the article was my Shakespeare professor when he got on the elevator to go up with me. He ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Children's Literature at Fifty: Pedagogy Under the Covers

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      Abstract: Like so many scholars of children's literature, I came to children's literature through teaching. Trained as a Victorianist, I saw a gap in my department's course offerings and somewhat naively offered to fill it with a children's literature course, banking on my work on childhood in the Victorian novel and my pedagogical skills to carry me through. The Children's Literature Association and Children's Literature were my mentors during those years—as they continue to be—teaching me how to teach and think about children's literature both as a genre and as a course of undergraduate study.Francelia Butler's entrée into the field was somewhat similar. With a doctorate in Renaissance literature, she entered the field ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Out and About in Children's Literature Studies

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      Abstract: Invited to contribute to this forum, I knew immediately that I wanted to focus on queer approaches in children's literature studies, as that's an area in which I have an ongoing investment. I had the good fortune to begin my career right when queer theory was emerging as an academic thing, building on the insights of feminist theory and other progressive formations. I read Judith Butler's Gender Trouble and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's Epistemology of the Closet in graduate school and drew from both in my dissertation. What follows is my idiosyncratic but hopefully not inaccurate account of our field's engagement with queer theory and queer studies, an engagement we can track by revisiting the excellent scholarship in ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Children's Literature and the Future: Fifty Years and Beyond

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      Abstract: When tomorrow seems impossible to contemplate, stories for children hearken back to yesteryear in ways that promise catharsis and escape. Created by authors and illustrators whose childhoods are, so to speak, "past tense," futurisms within children's literature may not be immediately evident. As Perry Nodelman observed in The Hidden Adult, children's literature is the one of the few literary categories that is created, selected, and evaluated by those outside of its intended audience. Often, adult creators and gatekeepers are vested in childhoods that are very different from those of contemporary youth audiences—the role of children in history, the child as changemaker, the cultural politics of childhood, nostalgia ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • "Be careful. I am death!": "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" and Britons' "Great War"
           against Snakes in Late-Nineteenth-Century India

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      Abstract: Snakes, and death, are at the very heart of Rudyard Kipling's "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," which he published as part of The Jungle Book in 1894.1 In the tale, a young mongoose is washed out of his burrow during a flood and rescued by a British family who take him to their home. Quickly adapting to his new environment, Rikki-tikki becomes an essential part of his rescuers' household, protecting them from the snakes that threaten their lives on several occasions.2 By the close of the tale, the little mongoose has thus dispatched not only two cobras—and their eggs—but also a krait, which is a smaller but equally deadly snake. The tale's ending also stresses that Rikki-tikki sustained an ongoing vigil over the family's home ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Catching Tigers: White Childhood Nostalgia and Constructions of Blackness
           in Little Black Sambo

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      Abstract: As the narrator notes in Ellison's Invisible Man, Sambo exists—and always has existed—solely for the amusement of the white subject. The boundaries of this white amusement, however, and its political motivations and consequences, are relative to its varied interlocutions with blackness. Indeed, even the originary significations of the name "Sambo" are as shifting and evolving as blackness is in the white imagination. One popularly cited etymology of the name is the Spanish zambo, which, by the nineteenth century, referred in both "America and Asia to persons of various degrees of mixed African and Indian or European blood," as well as to a species of "yellow monkey" of the same name ("Sambo"). This latter ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Learning to Love the Everyday: The Idyllic Mood of Kenneth Grahame's The
           Wind in the Willows

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      Abstract: The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame's classic work of Edwardian children's fiction, is a divisive book, provoking sharp disagreement among both scholars and popular readers alike as to the ethical and political import of the River Bank escapades of its main protagonists. The shape of the disagreement, however, has not assumed the more typical forms of a debate over the work's aesthetic accomplishment or its proper place in the literary canon, but it instead has focused on questions surrounding the text's particular means and methods of mobilizing emotional response and the perceived ends of this mobilization. For this reason, both admirers and critics of the text often couch their praises and condemnations in ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Operation Pied Piper: Children's WWII Evacuation Literature

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      Abstract: During the Second World War, fears of urban aerial bombing galvanized many governments to send their nations' youth to safety in rural areas. For example, Finland, France, Japan, and Germany, among others, sent their young to the countryside.1 The most dramatic and well-documented evacuation, code-named Operation Pied Piper, occurred in Great Britain where over 3.5 million children were sent to the countryside or abroad for safety over the course of the war. This extraordinary migration—a watershed moment for a generation of young people (both evacuees and hosts)—was recounted in the press, promulgated by a potent propaganda campaign, and almost immediately became a powerful focus of children's literature.Because ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Affirmation, Subversion, Playfulness—Comedy in German Children's
           Literature

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      Abstract: The desire to laugh, something on which children's literature has always relied, is widely regarded as an anthropological constant. Yet the urge to make children laugh by means of literature is associated with a wide range of different forms, functions, and intentions, including that of the comedy of deviation. Inherent in comedy based on deviation, displacement, and incongruity is the potential to break with norms and expectations. From affirmation to subversion and playfulness, comedy can be employed to broaden aesthetic possibilities, disrupt patterns of thought and perception, shake up the sociocultural order and its hierarchies, and blur boundaries of age.This essay explores two classics of German children's ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass Series: A Postfeminist Fantasy of
           Emancipation

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      Abstract: Since the 1990s, there has been an exponential rise across film, television, and text in the fantasy "kickass" female protagonist.1 These characters move from a position of disempowerment to empowerment by challenging gender norms. Physical strength training and the use of weapons and violence enable her to outmuscle her (usually) male aggressors and oppressors. Like many other fantasy kickass narratives, Sarah J. Maas's bestselling young adult (YA) high fantasy septet Throne of Glass (2012–18) promotes the transformative power of performing gender differently to overcome physical and sexual victimization. While the kickass protagonist has been hailed as a feminist role model because she empowers herself to be a ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Welcoming Black Children into Literary Wildscapes: Wildness in African
           American Children's Picture Books

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      Abstract: On May 26, 2019, a White campground manager, seventy-year-old Ruby Nell Howell, pulled a gun on an African American couple, Jessica and Franklin Richardson, who were picnicking at Oktibbeha County Lake in Starkville, Mississippi, during the long Memorial Day weekend. Howell accused them of trespassing and ordered them to leave. The video of her actions went viral online, but Howell ultimately faced no jail time and was only charged with a misdemeanor (Lockhart).In June 2020 in Manhattan, a White woman named Amy Cooper called the police on Christian Cooper (no relation), a Black comic book writer, biomedical editor for Health Science Communications, and avid birder, who also serves on the New York City Audubon ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Contributors and Editors

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      Abstract: Sara Austin is visiting assistant professor at Miami University. Her research in childhood identity has yielded articles in Transformative Works and Cultures, The Lion and the Unicorn, International Research in Children's Literature, and The Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. Her forthcoming book explores monstrosity and childhood.Ada Bieber is senior lecturer at Humboldt-University Berlin. Her research focuses on art and narration, spatial studies, and post-1945 German children's literature. She is the author of a monograph on James Krüss (2012), coeditor of a volume on robinsonades (2009), and coeditor of a special issue on New Perspectives on Young Adult GDR Literature and Film (2019).Heather Brown is a PhD ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Young Adult Gothic Fiction: Monstrous Selves/Monstrous Others ed. by
           Michelle J. Smith and Kristine Moruzi (review)

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      Abstract: Young Adult Gothic Fiction begins with two points: that the gothic is experiencing a resurgence concentrated in Young Adult (YA) fiction and that the gothic functions as an exploration of cultural anxieties such as race, gender, and sexuality. The primary work of the collection lies in charting what gothic fiction in YA says about the current expectations and experience of young adulthood. Specifically, the authors explore what opportunities and limitations the works examined present for both gothic fiction and contemporary YA markets. Editors Michelle J. Smith and Kristine Moruzi situate the book in conversation with Roberta Seelinger Trites, examining how her "premise about teen agency and control by adults is ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • The Arctic in Literature for Children and Young Adults ed. by Heidi
           Hansson, Maria Lindgren Leavenworth and Anka Ryall (review)

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      Abstract: To many readers, the Arctic may appear as a remote and faraway region, but in children's literature, the outermost North looms large. Since the nineteenth century, the Arctic has been marked as a space of adventure and heroism. The race to the North Pole and other expeditions have especially shaped the public image of the Arctic. Adventurous yet often colonial depictions of the Arctic have been adopted into and promoted by children's literature—particularly in countries belonging to or bordering the Arctic Circle. Editors Heidi Hansson, Maria Lindgren Leavenworth, and Anka Ryall present an extensive and highly informative volume on depictions of the Arctic in children's and youth literature, with a focus on ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Theory for Beginners: Children's Literature as Critical Thought by Kenneth
           Kidd (review)

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      Abstract: Kenneth Kidd's latest book is a slim, muscular history and study of the relationships between many things: literature for the young, philosophy, theory, and the audiences of the child, minor, and beginner. He claims as the book's focus "how philosophy and theory draw motivation and power from children's literature, conventionally understood, while also encouraging and even developing materials for beginners"; Kidd describes materials for beginners as "children's literature 'otherwise,' meaning in an alternative form or register" (5). Kidd's book investigates literatures of introduction of a variety of kinds—philosophy for children, theory for beginners, queer literature for minors—as vehicles of introduction ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Victorian Coral Islands of the Empire, Mission, and the Boys' Adventure
           Novel by Michelle Elleray (review)

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      Abstract: An outgrowth of the author's dissertation, Victorian Coral Islands represents research across the globe, from archives in New Zealand, England, Canada, and the US, all of which provide useful historical documents to enrich chapters focused on a handful of British boys' midcentury adventure novels and stories. The book's introduction and five chapters explore, in order, the Juvenile Missionary Magazine (1844–87), chapter 1; Frederick Marryat's Masterman Ready; or The Wreck of the Pacific (1841–42), chapter 2; R. M. Ballantyne's The Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean (1857), chapter 3; two novels by W. H. G. Kingston, Little Ben Hadden; or, Do Right, Whatever Comes of It (1870) and Kidnapping in the Pacific ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Word Play: Experimental Poetry and Soviet Children's Literature by Ainsley
           Morse (review)

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      Abstract: Ainsley Morse's Word Play offers a thought-provoking and detailed study on the intertwined relationship between experimental aesthetics in unofficial Soviet poetry and official Soviet children's literature. Examining the avant-garde origins of the "childlike aesthetic as it appears in literature and art of the Soviet era" (18), Morse notes that Soviet children's literature was very often written by experimental writers, "[s]craping by as children's authors," who "meanwhile wrote unpublished adult poetry that was both densely philosophical and rife with childlike elements." Morse explains that this was not an uncommon practice, as writing children's literature and translations "became established from the early ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Dust Off the Gold Medal: Rediscovering Children's Literature at the
           Newbery ed. by Sara L. Schwebel and Jocelyn Van Tuyl (review)

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      Abstract: Established in 1922, the Newbery Medal honors the previous year's most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. But, as Sara L. Schwebel and Jocelyn Van Tuyl explain in their introduction to Dust Off the Gold Medal: Rediscovering Children's Literature at the Newbery Centennial, children's literature scholarship on Newbery-winning books is uneven. Roughly one third are largely ignored by both present-day readers and scholars. While some books may be disregarded because they are so racist and/or sexist no one can stand them, others may be ignored because they fall into a kind of time limbo. They are too recent to be "classics," and they are not old enough for scholars to be familiar with them ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Queer Anxieties of Young Adult Literature and Culture by Derritt Mason
           (review)

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      Abstract: Derritt Mason begins Queer Anxieties of Young Adult Literature and Culture with a description and critique of two assessments of queer YA literature. The first, Frances Hanckel and John Cunningham's 1976 "Can Young Gays Find Happiness in YA Books," explores four YA novels featuring gay men. Although the authors appreciate the emergence of gay characters in YA, they are critical of the nascent form visibility took and provided recommendations for more positive depictions, ones that challenged harmful stereotypes. The second text that Mason engages is Michael Cart and Christine A. Jenkins's The Heart Has Its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content, 1969–2004 (2006). Like Hanckel and Cunningham ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Strong Bonds: Child-Animal Relationships in Comics ed. by Maaheen Ahmed
           (review)

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      Abstract: A multiauthored collection with a thought-provoking proposition that I readily admit has lived rent-free at the back of my mind for some time, Strong Bonds: Child-Animal Relationships in Comics, edited by Maaheen Ahmed, argues that "children and animals are recurrent, favorite characters in comic strips" and that although these "child-animal relationships have been a staple of comics production, [academic study of them] remain[s] overlooked by comics scholarship" (9). Whether it be Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Calvin and Hobbes, or Tintin and Snowy, the volume seeks to bridge considerable academic work on the topics of children in comics by scholars such as Michelle Ann Abate and Gwen Athene Tarbox, Charles Hatfield ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • Children's Literature and the Rise of "Mind Cure": Positive Thinking and
           Pseudo-Science at the Fin de Si├Ęcle by Anne Stiles (review)

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      Abstract: Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote in A Little Princess, "Some very odd things happen in this world sometimes" (118). Anne Stiles confirms this observation in her fascinating study that situates several of the most popular children's books written during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries within the overlooked, but important, connection to Christian Science and its more secular offshoot New Thought, or mind cure. Both were extremely popular religious practices during the period. Given the gradual decline of these once influential ways of thinking, Stiles argues few contemporary readers or children's literature scholars recognize the faith-based messages in these novels that their initial readers would ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
  • No Kids Allowed: Children's Literature for Adults by Michelle Ann Abate
           (review)

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      Abstract: Michelle Ann Abate's lively and entertaining monograph No Kids Allowed: Children's Literature for Adults ambitiously proposes to define a new genre in American literature: children's literature for adults. Abate contends that the recent trend of "adult-audience retellings of children's books," as Eric L. Tribunella has put it (qtd. in 5), actually represents "a new, growing, and vibrant genre" (5) that blurs the boundaries between adulthood and childhood. The monograph treats texts published in the US since the 1980s, and it asserts that because these texts adopt formats associated with and characters drawn from children's literature, they constitute "children's literature for adults." The book exhibits ... Read More
      PubDate: 2022-05-12T00:00:00-05:00
       
 
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