CFP: Streetwise: Children’s Literature and Culture in the Modern City

CFP: for a MLA 2022 (Washington D.C.) Allied Organization Non-Guaranteed Panel

Co-sponsored by ChLA (Children’s Literature Association) and MSA (Modernist Studies Association)
Organizer: Kristin Bluemel, Monmouth University
Deadline for proposals: March 1, 2021

Streetwise: Children’s Literature and Culture in the Modern City

Over ten years ago Karin Westman bemoaned the “lack of discussion between the two terms children’s literature and modernism” in her editor’s introduction to a Children’s Literature Association Quarterly special issue on “Children’s Literature and Modernism: The Space Between” (283). Acknowledging the significance of Juliet Dusinberre’s “landmark” contribution Alice to the Lighthouse (1987) and Kimberley Reynolds’s Radical Children’s Literature (2007), she maintained that “even when individual authors connected to children’s literature read through a modernist critical lens, these contributions often get absorbed into existing critical conversations about children’s literature or existing critical conversations about modernism” (284-85). Returning to this argument in 2013 in “Beyond Periodization: Children’s Literature, Genre, and Remediating Literary History,” Westman cites the same exemplary models –Dusinberre, Reynolds — as she calls for “children’s literature [to become] an organizing principle for literary history” (464). This proposed MLA ChLA-sponsored special session, co-sponsored by the Modernist Studies Association, assumes that opportunity, not defeat, lies in Westman’s largely unanswered call. Navigating the streets of the modern city through children’s literature and culture, it does indeed promise to reorganize modernist literary history. It seeks to inspire critical conversations about original research that draws from and contributes to the fields of children’s literature and modernist studies; generate excitement about collaborative projects between ChLA scholars and scholars in the Modernist Studies Organization; provide session participants with a clearer sense of how our research on children’s texts and urban spaces can enrich theorizations of modernism and modernity; and guide next steps towards institutionalizing our work.

This “Streetwise” special session engages with the following questions: How did children’s literature of the late-nineteenth through early- to mid-twentieth centuries respond to and shape the modern city? How did the metropolitan materials and practices of adults – their books, places, and movements – shape the institutions, representations, and objects of childhood? The goal of this panel is to bring together scholars working at the intersection of children’s literary/cultural studies and modernist studies in order to answer these questions and open up new subjects, methods, traditions, and affiliations for future research.

Proposals for papers that treat diverse writers and voices, both within and outside of the canons of modern children’s and modernist literature, are especially encouraged. Possible topics for investigation include relations between the forces and forms of ideology (e.g., race, class, gender, region), space (e.g., pavements, playgrounds, parks), genre (e.g., jump rope rhymes, illustrated novels, picture books), period (e.g., pre-World War I, Depression era, wartime), aesthetics (e.g., middlebrow, avant-garde, commercial), literary history (e.g., of diverse nations, sexes, ethnic groups), media (e.g., print, radio, films), and institutions (e.g., urban schools, Theatre for Young Audiences, Girl Scouts) associated with or impinging upon children’s literature and urban culture.

Please send 400-500 word abstracts by March 1, 2021 to Kristin Bluemel at Inquiries welcome.

CFP: IRSCL 2021 Congress Aesthetics and Pedagogic Entanglements

Call for Papers

The pedagogical and aesthetic aspects of children’s and young adults’ literature have often been pitted against each other. Yet, if we think of children’s literature as a participatory and mediated practice, the aesthetical and the pedagogical dimensions are no longer opposed to each other. In the last two decades, we have witnessed an ‘educational turn’ in contemporary arts practices, where the emphasis is no longer on the finished aesthetic object, but on the processes and relationships established with the audiences and communities which become part of the art project, a process also facilitated by digital fora. Speaking of children’s literature as a mediated practice questions art’s autonomy and the limits of ‘non-art’; it brings the ‘death of the author’ not only to praise the ‘birth of the reader’ but also to foreground and question the conventions that sustain the artistic.

Since we cannot take children’s cognitive and literacy skills for granted, books tend to be recommended according to specific age ranges, while teachers and other adult figures involved (such as librarians, parents, and other caretakers, the so-called ‘gate-keepers’) try to facilitate an interpretation of the author’s intention. But what if we take the death of the author seriously? Will we still talk about the importance of understanding the text? What if we make children mediators and authors of children’s literature? Who is the ideal child that writes and reads? How is age produced and sustained in these relationships?

Thinking about possible synergies between the pedagogical and the aesthetic in children’s literature brings back questions on reception and (affective) engagement. It also provides us with insights into the entanglements of the publishing industry, the readers/viewers/consumers/users, the authors/artists, the practices of reading/sharing/discussing/reversioning and the new technologies, and at the same time, prompting reflections on our own (biased) academic work in this field.

Delegates will be invited to reflect on the implications of considering children not as ‘adults in the making’, but rather as readers and makers in their own right.

In this conference, we aim to strengthen the ties between children’s literature scholars, literacy and media experts and arts scholars to explore the possibilities of combining and rethinking the hermeneutical methods of the humanities, the experimental and empirical approaches of social sciences and arts-based research, as well as the contemporary anthropological and educational research that questions the essentialized positions of the adult and the child in educational contexts.

In this vein we suggest the following topics, but we also invite other paper and panel topics inspired by the congress’ theme:

Active readers:

  • Creative and collaborative writing by youth and children
  • Intergenerational collaborations
  • The child as ‘prosumer’ of children’s media
  • Reading and writing as playing
  • Children reversioning stories
  • Booktubers, fan-fiction and web-based communities inside and outside the classroom
  • Initiatives in marginalized communities (refugee centers, jails, hospitals)

Research and Practice:

  • Child-led participatory research
  • New materialism approaches to encounters with books
  • New approaches to reader-response
  • Cognitive approaches to aesthetics and pedagogy
  • Intersectional approaches
  • Arts-based methodologies
  • Historical approaches to tensions between te pedagogic and the aesthetic

Ethics and Aesthetics:

  • Ethical-political role of authors in children’s and YA literature
  • Gate-keepers and the “mediator circle” in children’s literature and media
  • The aesthetic and/or pedagogic role of paratexts
  • Representations of children as authors and artists in children’s fiction and media.

See full call for papers for further details.

More information on the Congress, its modality, dates and its main theme is available on our website ( We are looking forward to hosting you in Santiago!

IRSCL Statement on Racial Injustice and Plan for Accountable Action

From the IRSCL Executive Board and the IRSCL Equity and Diversity Committee

In line with the 2017 IRSCL Statement of Principles and its commitment to advocate for the inclusion of underrepresented voices, languages, and cultures, the International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL) shares the collective and international grief and anger over the death of countless victims of racism and state-sanctioned violence around the world. The conjunction of long-standing economic and racial inequality, national and international histories of racism and violence, and current political tendencies in multiple regions around the world threaten the multicultural values we uphold. The IRSCL affirms its solidarity with scholars, students, writers, and all children, around the world, who are affected by racism, and expresses its support for the millions of protesters in the world who are working to change entrenched systems of inequality. Beyond words of solidarity, we also must translate our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion into concrete actions and policies.

As an organization the IRSCL commits to a plan of accountable action that includes but is not limited to the following measures:

  • Promote work by scholars of underrepresented groups while continuing to question power dynamics and privileges present in our academic field.
  • Include an IRSCL Equity and Diversity Committee Highlighted Panel at each IRSCL Congress
  • Ensure the inclusion of issues of equity and diversity in IRSCL Congress keynotes
  • Promote children’s writers and children’s literature reflecting diversity and/or addressing inequalities at the IRSCL Congress
  • Consider and address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion through the IRSCL Mentoring Program
  • Consider equity and diversity and the value of scholarship on this subject as a significant factor in determining recipients of Awards and Grants
  • Support and promote the work of the IRSCL Equity and Diversity Committee and its stated aims:
  • To recognize and respect the differences that IRSCL members bring to the organization;
  • To create an environment in which all members feel a sense of belonging and acceptance within the IRSCL, especially early career scholars, and where everyone feels safe;
  • To advocate for the inclusion of underrepresented voices, languages and cultures in IRSCL meetings and congress presentations;
  • To promote and expand the study of children’s texts from across the globe;
  • To acknowledge the existence of diverse ways of knowing, being and presenting research.

As a multicultural, multilingual, and multiethnic research society, we are resolved to stand with so many others in our scholarly community who work daily to ensure that children’s literature research and children’s literature embody our shared commitment to diversity, equity, and social justice, while giving special attention to its impact on children.

As researchers and educators, we are committed to dialogue, reflection, and public engagement. We call upon our members to use their expertise both in the classroom and in public forums to engage in discussions on inequalities and racial justice. Teaching, scholarship, and creative work can be powerful tools in the struggle against racism and the present day calls upon us to use them in this way. It has never been more important to support and expand Black and Africana studies, Postcolonial and Decolonial studies, and Indigenous studies and to teach the literatures born of struggle against racism. We affirm that the IRSCL will redouble its efforts to create a safe, equitable and just community in every place where we live, study, teach and work, beginning in our own organization and field.

Endorsed by:

Executive Board of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL)

Evelyn Arizpe (University of Glasgow, Scotland), IRSCL President

Åsa Warnqvist (Swedish Institute for Children’s Books, Sweden), IRSCL Vice-President and Treasurer

Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak (University of Wroclaw, Poland), IRSCL Board, Mentoring Coordinator

Debra Dudek (Edith Cowan University, Australia), IRSCL Board, Membership and Recording Secretary

Macarena García González (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), IRSCL Board, 2021 Congress Convenor

Sara Pankenier Weld (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA), IRSCL Board, Awards and Grants Coordinator

Lies Wesseling (University of Maastricht, the Netherlands), IRSCL Past President, Archivist

Emily Keijzer (University of Winnipeg), IRSCL Administrator

Equity and Diversity Committee of the IRSCL

Vivian Yenika-Agbaw (Pennsylvania State University, USA), Equity and Diversity Committee Chair

Laretta Henderson (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA), Equity and Diversity Committee Member

Sabeur Mdallel (Institut Supérieur des Sciences Humaines de Tunis, Tunisia), Equity and Diversity Committee Member

Xiaofei Shi (Soochow University, China), Equity and Diversity Committee Member

New issues of IRCL: 13.1 (July 2020) and the Congress special number

Message from IRCL:

Dear members,

We have two new issues of IRCL to share with you: 13.1 (July 2020) and the special number based on the Stockholm Congress theme of Silence and Silencing. Both are available at (tables of contents below). You will no doubt find much of interest in these issues and we encourage you to share the articles and reviews widely with students and colleagues.

We know that for many members life has been thrown into confusion by the coronavirus but perhaps that gives you more opportunities to read these special numbers and in that way stay in touch with colleagues and the discipline. Everyone on the IRCL team sends best wishes and we look forward to a time when we can gather at meetings and conferences face-to-face.


The IRCL team


13.1 TOC 

Editorial: From the Senior Editor
Kimberley Reynolds

Imagining Colonial Environments: Fire in Australian Children’s
Literature, 1841–1910
Michelle J. Smith

Laundering Treasure in Stevenson’s Treasure Island
Suk Koo Rhee

Gaining Harmony: Glocal Subjectivity in Two Indonesian films for Children
Nia Nafisah

New Materialist Openings to Children’s Literature Studies
Macarena García-González and Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak

Streams of Consciousness: The Downriver Narrative in Young Adult Fiction
Ada Bieber and Richard Gooding

Representing Turks in Greek Children’s and Young Adult Fiction
Lissi Athanasiou-Krikelis

The Men Who Drew for Boys (and Girls): 101 Forgotten Illustrators of
Children’s Books 1844–1970. Robert J. Kirkpatrick
Dennis Butts

Staging Fairyland: Folklore, Children’s Entertainment, and
Nineteenth-Century Pantomime. Jennifer Schacker
Jennifer Duggan

The Embodied Child: Reading in Children’s Literature and Culture. Eds
Roxanne Harde and Lydia Kokkola
Deborah Thacker

Levi’s eerste kerstfeest. Jeugdverhalen over jodenbekering, 1792–2015.
[Levi’s first Christmas celebration. Children’s stories on Jewish
conversion, 1792–2015.] Ewoud Sanders
Charlotte van Bergen

Literary Studies Deconstructed: A Polemic. Catherine Butler
Gabriel Duckels

Przemiany współczesnej książki popularnonaukowej dla dzieci i
młodzieży (na przykładzie francuskiej oferty wydawniczej). [The
Transformation of the Contemporary Popular Science Book for Children
and Youth (Exemplified by French Publishing Offer)]. Agnieszka Wandel
Natalia Paprocka

Serce Pinokia: Włoska literatura dla dzieci i młodzieży w Polsce w
latach 1945–1989. [Pinocchio’s heart: Italian literature for children
and young adults in Poland, 1945–1989]. Katarzyna Biernacka-Licznar
Ewa Nicewicz-Staszowska

The Courage to Imagine: The Child Hero in Children’s Literature. Roni Natov
Krystyna Zabawa


Congress number TOC

Editorial: Silence and Silencing in Children’s Literature
Elina Druker

Just Listen? Silence, Silencing, and Voice in the Aesthetics, Reception, and Study of Children’s Literature
Vanessa Joosen

Line Breaks, Page Turns, and Gutters: Formal Moments of Silence in Children’s Texts
Karen Coats

‘Unsilencing’ Chinese Indonesians through Children’s Literature
Herdiana Hakim

The Silencing of Children’s Literature Publishing in Hong Kong
Faye Dorcas Yung

The Acoustics of Nonsense in Lewis Carroll’s Alice Tales
Anna Kérchy

‘As Long as I Can Do, I Will Do for Children’: Sindiwe Magona’s Children’s Literature
Renée Schatteman

Israeli Children’s Literature about People with Disabilities
Yaakova Sacerdoti

Children’s Literature and Imaginative Geography. Edited by Aïda Hudson
Nina Goga

The Fabulous Journeys of Alice and Pinocchio: Exploring Their Parallel Worlds. Laura Tosi with Peter Hunt
Fabiana Loparco

Żywioły w literaturze dziecięcej. Ziemia [Elements in children’s literature: earth]. Eds Anna Czabanowska-Wróbel and Krystyna Zabawa
Krzysztof Rybak

Maps and Mapping in Children’s Literature: Landscapes, Seascapes and Cityscapes. Eds Nina Goga and Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer
Josh Simpson

Wolność i wyobraźnia w literaturze dziecięcej [Freedom and imagination in children’s literature]. Eds Anna Czabanowska-Wróbel and Marta Kotkowska
Karolina Stępień

Editorial Assistant International Research in Children’s Literature (IRCL).

Editorial Assistant International Research in Children’s Literature (IRCL).

The International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL: is seeking to appoint an assistant to the Senior Editor of the Society’s journal: ( ). The unpaid position provides excellent opportunities to develop knowledge of the field, working alongside established scholars, learning the skills required in journal publishing and developing networks. IRCL is in the process of adopting an online submission system which will handle most of the tasks currently undertaken by the Editorial Assistant creating opportunities for involvement in the editorial process. There will be a period of 2 to 3 months working alongside the current Editorial Assistant, learning the duties and becoming familiar with the new system. While the work is not onerous or time-consuming (it currently takes the equivalent of one hour a day), it is vital to the successful running of the journal.

Primary duties (to be revised with the Senior editor after the online system is in place):

  • Receiving and acknowledging articles submitted to IRCL
  • Keeping track of correspondence from contributors and would-be contributors
  • Assisting the Senior Editor in selecting articles for publication
  • Conveying decisions to authors
  • Contacting peer reviewers and tracking the review process
  • Sending digested readers’ reports to authors
  • Keeping records on the submission-acceptance process.

Other duties:

  • Performing other tasks related to the journal which may come up from time to time
  • Working with the editorial team to ensure that articles and book reviews are published in a timely fashion
  • Helping to enlarge the readership and enhance the journal’s profile

Minimum academic qualification: MA in a relevant subject

Anyone interested in this position is invited to contact IRSCL President Evelyn Arizpe at to express interest or seek further information.

Closing date: 16 March, 2020

Call for 2019 IRSCL Travel and Research Grant Applications

Members of IRSCL are invited to apply for travel grants of up to US$1,000 to enable IRSCL members to attend the 2019 Congress in Stockholm. This grant supports members who might not otherwise be able to travel to the Congress. It is necessary to be an IRSCL member in good standing at the time of application. The expectation is that your paper has been accepted and that you attend the full Congress. For more information about applications and to access the forms, see the Grants section of this website, under Travel Grants. The deadline for applications is 11 February 2019. Successful applicants will be notified in early April 2019.

Members of IRSCL are invited to apply for 2019 IRSCL Research Grants. There will be two grants, each worth up to US$2,000, intended to encourage postgraduate or early career scholars in children’s literature. Eligible activities include literary, historical, cultural, sociological, empirical and pedagogical research. Applications should include a clear outline of aims, methodology, budget allocation, and expected outcomes (no more than 4 pages in total). It is necessary to be an IRSCL member in good standing at the time of application. From 2019, the expectation is that a research report will submitted to the Board one year after the grant is awarded. For more information about applications and to access the forms, see the Grants section of this website, under Research Grants. The deadline for applications is 11 February, 2019. Winners will be announced at our Congress in Stockholm.

Call for Nominations for 2019 IRSCL Book Awards

This is a call to nominate books for consideration for the IRSCL Book Award. Books considered for the 2019 award must have been published during the period 2017-2019, must not have been nominated for an earlier IRSCL competition, and must deal with research on children’s literature or other forms of cultural texts for young people. Authors can nominate their own books, or IRSCL members can nominate books by other members, as long as those nominating books and the authors of nominated books are IRSCL members whose membership is up to date. Please also note that books authored by the current members of the IRSCL Board are not eligible for the Award.

In 2015, a new category of competition for edited volumes was introduced. This means that we will award up to two Book Awards in any competition, one for monographs and one for edited volumes.

Please email nominations to Larissa Wodtke (cc to Evelyn Arizpe) before January 15, 2019, along with two hard copies of the book or confirmation that you have arranged for publishers to send nominated books directly to Larissa (address below). If the book has also been published electronically and is available through open access, please include the link in your nomination.

Don’t forget to cc Evelyn Arizpe in your email.

Contact details are as follows:

Larissa Wodtke:
Evelyn Arizpe:

Mailing address for hard copies of books:

Larissa Wodtke
Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures
University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E9

Call for IRSCL Board Nominations

The 2019 IRSCL biennial is drawing near, and this means that there will be a new round of elections of executive board members during the general membership meeting in Stockholm. This is to invite you to nominate yourself as either a board member or as president, since Lies Wesseling’s term as president will come to an end in august 2019, and some current board members will step down as well.

To warrant continuity, aspiring board members should have tenure, and some financial support from their home institutions, as they will have to attend the annual board meeting and the biennial conference wherever these take place, so a minimal requirement is that you will have some funding for this.

If you are interested in standing for the board, please send a message to Lies Wesseling ( with the following information:

  • Board member or president?
  • Name
  • Academic title
  • Institutional affiliation
  • Research expertise
  • Motivation: why do you want to join the board, what would like to achieve?
  • A photograph of yourself

The board will use these data to prepare the slate of nominations. If you want to get an idea of what these look like, please visit the members only section of the IRSCL website.

Submit your nominations by February 1, 2019.

IRSCL Mentoring Programme 2019

IRSCL invites young children’s literature researchers (including undergraduate students and recent PhD graduates) to apply and benefit from the mentors’ expertise and guidance related to:

  • Teaching/Curriculum development
  • Article/book publication
  • Job market
  • Conference presentation skills
  • Networking
  • Grant applications

We are initially offering 20 mentee places, which we will try to allocate by matching the mentees’ needs with the mentors’ expertise. Once we have matched the mentors and mentees, we will ask them to negotiate the means of communication and time commitments. We hope that the mentors and mentees are able to begin their collaboration at the beginning of February 2019.

If you are interested in participating in the program as a mentee, please fill in and submit the online application form by 21 December, 2018. You have to be a member of the IRSCL to participate in the programme.

Please email Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak at if you have any questions.

New Issue of IRCL: 11.1 (July 2018)

We are excited to share that volume 11.1 (July 2018) of International Research in Children’s Literature is now available at

As Senior Editor Kimberley Reynolds writes in the editorial, the IRSCL and its journal “were founded to build links between scholars researching into writing for children and young people wherever it is taking place” (p. v). This newest volume reflects our continued efforts toward that goal, including a call for papers to help launch the new IRCL feature on African children’s literature and, of course, excellent articles such as “Children, Learning and Play in the Mengxue bao (The Children’s Educator, 1897–1902).”

We also welcome Haifeng Hui of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, who was appointed as an IRCL Advisor on China, and Fabiana Loparco, an independent scholar in Italy, who is our Production Assistant. We look forward to working with them and our many other advisors and members in growing our international network. To help in this effort, we encourage you to share IRCL articles widely with students and colleagues. This will not only raise awareness of the important work of our contributors but also that of the journal and IRSCL itself, ensuring that we continue as a platform for research in our field wherever it is taking place.