Essays about Children’s Literature

I’m currently working on a project about picture books that describe visits to art galleries and museums by young children and animals, and I’d be grateful for some help in identifying some paintings referred to in one of the books. Thierry Ducos’ L’Ange Disparu. Read more here:

Searching for Some Paintings

Listed below are links to some of my work about children’s books that is available online.In order to make discussions of particular aspects of children’s literature easier to find, they are listed here under the general topics listed below. Clicking on. any of these topics will take you to as page listing essays on specific subjects that relate to these topics.

For a more complete listing, you can look at my VITA. And for a few essays on novels and plays not intended specifically for children by authors like John Fowles, Margaret Atwood and Joyce Carol Oates, go HERE. You can also look at Some Recent Additions (a list of some pieces, new and old, that I’ve recently added to this website). I’m not able to provide links to PDFs of more recent essays. There is a list of them HERE.

Theory and Children’s Literature

Picture Books

Children’s Fiction

Fairy Tales



Gender and Masculinity

Canons and Censorship

The work listed here is about various issues relating to what children should and shouldn’t read: which books are important, which books should be banned, which books represent specific cultures or groups or national identities.

TV, Movies, and Popular Culture


NOTE: I gave two different versions of this talk at two different conferences in 2018. The first, at the IBBY Congress in Athens, was the basis of a much shorter essay that appeared in the IBBY journal, Bookbird. You can find the essay HERE. The version of the talk represented here on the website is based on the keynote given at a picture-book conference at Cambridge–I discuss my response to that conference HERE.


Utopian Grandparents

A review of four recent picture books about grandparents in the context of my experience of being a grandchild, being a grandparent, and getting old.

Writing for the Childhood Police: An Academic’s Adventures in Children’s Publishing

Based on a keynote address I gave at The Childhoods Conference: Mapping the Landscapes of Childhood at the University of Lethbridge in May, 2011, this intemperate and decidedly crotchety diatribe explores how being published as a writer of children’s books after a career of producing academic discourse about them affected my thinking about and writing criticism about children’s literature. The talk focuses on how my interactions with people in publishing as a writer of children’s fiction made me more aware of recent publishing trends and especially, of how the profit-oriented considerations that drive publishers shape what does and doesn’t get published for children. I go on describe how my knowledge of these matters transformed my critical approach to children’s literature, and to suggest why an awareness of how the publishing business operates in ways that affect what writers write and what children get to read ought to be more central to the work of other critics. 

This version of the talk includes many of the images from the Powerpoint that accompanied it in Lethbridge.

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