CFP – Houses of Learning: Education in Children’s Literature and Children’s Literature as Education

“Houses of Learning: Education in Children’s Literature and Children’s Literature as Education”
The 2018 Biennial Conference of the Australasian Children’s Literature Association for Research (ACLAR)
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, 12-14 July 2018

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Associate Professor Marah Gubar (MIT, author of Artful Dodgers: Reconceiving the Golden Age of Children’s Literature), Kate de Goldi (author of The 10pm Question, From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle, and other books), Miranda Harcourt and Stuart McKenzie (co-directors of the screen adaptation of The Changeover)

Events will include a reception hosted by the Friends of the historic Dorothy Neal White Collection of children’s books at the National Library.

Children’s literature has been both praised and derided for its educational function. The 2018 conference aims to explore the overlapping ways in which children’s literature may be related to education. Children’s literature may be about education (school stories realistic and fantastic, tales about learning and Bildungsroman); it may aim to be educational (readers and textbooks, moral tales and didactic fictions); and, as we are all well aware, it may be the subject of education in itself, as an academic discipline. We welcome critically reflective papers from a variety of perspectives, as indicated but not confined to the strands below.

Presenters are invited to submit abstracts exploring aspects of the conference theme: “Houses of Learning: Education in Children’s Literature and Children’s Literature as Education.” Such explorations may address one of the following strands:

  • School stories (realistic and fantastic)
  • Didacticism in/of children’s literature
  • Education for national and world citizenship
  • Construction of childhoods (multiculturalism, ethnic identity)
  • Down with Skool: the subversiveness of children’s literature
  • Education and Diversity: Gender, Race and Power
  • Sexuality: boys and girls come out
  • Educational books and textbooks, School Journals, learning to read
  • Reader response, “the book and the child”
  • Animal stories and education
  • Children’s literature as an academic discipline, critical perspectives
  • Visual education: graphic novels and related modes, films, illustrators

Applicants are also welcome to submit abstracts exploring alternative strands that relate to the overall conference theme.


  • Should address the conference theme and should identify specific texts and/or critical approaches to be discussed.
  • For an individual, 20-minute paper, abstracts should be no more than 250 words.
  • Groups wishing to collaborate on the presentation of 90-minute panels (three 20-minute papers and time for questions) should submit an abstract of up to 500 words, detailing how the overall presentation will fit into the conference theme, the individual critical approaches taken by each speaker, and the envisaged structure for the session. All panel sessions should include time for Q&A with each speaker and with the entire panel.

Papers can address both critical and/or practice-led approaches to the study of children’s literature.

Select papers will have the opportunity to be developed for publication in the ACLAR journal Papers: Explorations into Children’s Literature.

Submission Information
Abstracts should be submitted to with the heading “ACLAR abstract.”
Submission close: 20 NOVEMBER 2017

For more information on ACLAR, visit