CFP – Intergenerational Solidarity in Children’s Literature

Call for submissions
Intergenerational Solidarity in Children’s Literature
Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak and Zoe Jaques (eds.)

Children’s literature criticism usually approaches books for young readers as reflecting aetonormativity, that is, real-life structures of adult domination over younger generations (Nikolajeva 2009). Therefore, depictions of child autonomy or child-rule—a common motif in children’s literature (Kelen and Sundmark 2017)—belie the reality: children may have power over adults as they own the future (Beauvais 2015), but, as is also frequently claimed in children’s literature studies, adult domination inevitably perpetuates itself as children grow up to turn into oppressors themselves (Nodelman 1997, Nikolajeva, 2010). Yet, the dynamically developing field of childhood studies provides evidence that children and adults co-construct society as they engage in intergenerational relations in various contexts. In The Politics of Childhood Real and Imagined: Volume 2 (2016), Priscilla Anderson argues for revising the founding narrative of the discontinuity between childhood and adulthood into a framework of interage connectivity in which “[s]upposed dichotomies of the rational adult and the unreliable child are challenged when children are able to show how competent they can be in more equal relationships” (154). The significance of intergenerational alliance, dialog, and collaboration is reflected in the development of the concepts of intergenerational solidarity and justice and by the formation of numerous movements and campaigns promoting and fostering intergenerational partnerships (e.g. Make It Ageless, AGE Platform Europe, Linking Generations Norther Ireland).

The necessity for a fundamental change of the binary, and rather reductive, paradigm of adult superiority and children’s dependence has also been acknowledged by children’s literature scholars (Coats, 2001; Melrose, 2011; Gubar, 2011, Bernstein, 2011). Marah Gubar, for instance, proposes the kinship model of childhood resting on the relatedness, similarity and connection between children and adults. Yet the collection will be the first one to explore children’s books that envision constructive interdependencies benefiting both parties at the edges of the age divide. Contributions are welcomed from a range of fields, such as literature, education, memory, and childhood studies and may be focused on such areas of investigation as:

  • intergenerational justice and ethics in children’s literature
  • representations of children’s participation in public and political decision-making
  • visions of intergenerational solidarity in families and communities
  • multigenerational living in children’s books
  • images of children as cultural and language brokers
  • children’s literature as intergenerational remembering
  • children’s literature as intergenerational communication
  • children’s literature research as intergenerational practice

An abstract of the proposal, maximum 300 words, with a brief CV of the author(s), maximum 40 words, should be submitted to Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak ( and Zoe Jaques ( by 31 October 2017. We will aim to reply to authors by 20 November 2017.