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K-State Today

May 27, 2011



Philip Nel publishes 'Keywords for Children's Literature'

By Philip Nel

Keywords for Children's Literature: cover

The study of children’s literature and culture has been experiencing a renaissance, with vital new work proliferating across many areas of interest. Mapping this vibrant scholarship, Philip Nel and Lissa Paul's "Keywords for Children’s Literature" presents 49 original essays on the essential terms and concepts of the field. From aesthetics to young adult, an impressive, multidisciplinary cast of scholars explores the vocabulary central to the study of children's literature.

Following the growth of his or her word, each author traces its branching uses and meanings, often into unfamiliar disciplinary territories:

  • Award-winning novelist Philip Pullman writes about intentionality.
  • Education expert Margaret Meek Spencer addresses reading.
  • Literary scholar Peter Hunt historicizes children’s literature.
  • Psychologist Hugh Crago examines story.
  • Librarian and founder of the influential Child_Lit litserv Michael Joseph investigates liminality.

The scope, clarity, and interdisciplinary play between concepts make this collection essential reading for all scholars in the field. In the spirit of Raymond Williams’ seminal "Keywords," this book is a snapshot of a vocabulary of children’s literature that is changing, expanding, and ever unfinished.

Nel is a professor of English at K-State. Paul is a professor of education at Brock University.