Special Issue "Constructions of Childhood(s) in Fiction and Nonfiction for Children"

A special issue of Literature (ISSN 2410-9789).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2024 | Viewed by 434

Special Issue Editors

Department of Language, Literature, Mathematics and Interpreting, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Interests: constructions of childhood; children’s nonfiction; nonfiction picturebooks; children’s dictionaries
Dr. Brianne Jaquette
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Language, Literature, Mathematics and Interpreting, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Interests: children’s literature; young adult literature; genre studies; gender studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to contribute a paper to the Special Issue “Constructions of Childhood(s) in Fiction and Nonfiction for Children”.

“Childhood” and “children’s literature” are both complex categories that are difficult to define and delimitate. As Anna Davin (1999: 15) has observed, as an analytical term, “childhood” is problematic because it is “too familiar”, too intimately a part of universal human experience. Scholars have debated the nature of children’s literature for decades. Famously, Peter Hollindale (1997) argued that categorizing children’s literature meant accepting a paradox, in that such texts are characterized both by their (child) readership and the “childness” of the text. However, rather than focusing on defining the concepts of “childhood” and “children’s literature”, the present Special Issue aims to investigate the ways in which texts aimed at children and/or are read by children and young people present, construct, and negotiate different conceptions of children and childhood. The Guest Editors invite contributions from scholars in the fields of literature, children’s literature, and childhood studies.

It is well established that children’s literature carries explicit and implicit ideologies (Knowles & Malmkjær 1996). However, children’s literature scholarship in recent decades has contested the assumption that child readers passively receive the ideologies embedded in the books they read. Recent studies have also presented more nuanced views of the history of children’s literature as a progression from “instruction to delight”. For example, Louise Joy (2019) posits that children’s literature works on both an aesthetic and didactic level, with critical reading as “a united kind of work and play” (Joy 2019: 59). The ways in which the critical child reader might be invited to engage with the text and with ideological constructions of childhood also warrant further investigation.

As there are still comparatively fewer studies on nonfiction as opposed to fiction (Goga, Iversen and Teigland 2021), this Special Issue particularly encourages papers investigating constructions of children and childhood in nonfiction texts, as well as comparative analyses of fiction and nonfiction, and investigations of hybrid texts which do not easily fall into either category.

So far there have been no Special Issues devoted to children’s and young adult literature in Literature. This Special Issue aims to investigate constructions of childhood and the child reader in texts for children and young people, focusing in particular on ideological constructions and on nonfiction texts.

Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Constructions of the implied reader in texts for children;
  • Childhood studies and (children’s and young adult) literature;
  • Comparative perspectives on childhood constructions in fiction and nonfiction texts for children;
  • Child constructions across different modes and genres of children’s texts;
  • The intersections between childhood, gender, sexuality, socio-economic class, and race;
  • Comparative perspectives on childhood in texts from different times, cultures, and languages;
  • Childhood in translated children’s texts;
  • Childhood constructions in crossover literature;
  • Childhood constructions and dual address in literature;
  • Childhood in child-authored texts;
  • The critical child reader;
  • Childhood and posthumanism in literature;
  • Visual constructions of childhood in children’s fiction and nonfiction;
  • Constructions of childhood and adolescence in young adult literature;
  • Stylistic/linguistic perspectives on childhood and ideology in children’s texts.

Abstract submission deadline: 1 December 2023
Full manuscript deadline: 31 March 2024


Davin, A. What is a child? In Questioning Childhood: Children, Parents and the State; Fletcher, A., Hussey, S., Eds.; Manchester University Press: Manchester, UK, 1999; pp. 15–36.

Goga, N.; Iversen S.H.; Teigland, S. Verbal and Visual Strategies in Nonfiction Picturebooks; Universitetsforlaget: Oslo, Norway, 2021.

Hollindale, P. Signs of Childness in Children’s Books; Thimble Press: Jackson, MS, USA, 1997.

Joy, L. Literature's Children: The Critical Child and the Art of Idealization; Bloomsbury Academic: London, UK, 2019.

Knowles, M.; Malmkjær, K. Language and Control in Children's Literature; Routledge: London, UK, 1996.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of about 250 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the Guest Editors ([email protected] and [email protected]) or to the Literature Editorial Office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the special issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer review. We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Sarah Hoem Iversen
Dr. Brianne Jaquette
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Literature is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • childhood
  • fiction
  • nonfiction
  • children’s literature
  • children’s texts
  • YA literature
  • ideological constructions
  • child reader

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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