Navigating Children’s Literature through Controversy

Global and Transnational Perspectives


This collection focuses on the specific issue of controversy as a cross-sectional aspect of contemporary children’s and YA literature, in a spectrum stretching from national experiences, to explore the impact of specific historical, economic and social environments on the rise of controversies; to inter-national exchanges in which controversies are generated specifically by the interactions between cultures; to international contexts that deal with controversies relevant on a global scale. By adopting controversy as an adjustable lens for a joined consideration of literary themes, narrative or aesthetic solutions, translation choices, publishing and marketing decisions, and discursive practices, the volume establishes a diversified collection of chapters that offers new insight into functions of children’s and YA literature in contemporary culture.

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Elżbieta Jamróz-Stolarska is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Information and Media Studies (University of Wrocław). She has published widely on the children’s book market, design and illustration. Her major recent work is Serie literackie dla dzieci i młodzieży w Polsce 1945–1989. Produkcja wydawnicza i ukształtowanie edytorskie [Children’s and Young Adults’ Literature Series in Poland 1945-1989: Book Market and Design] (Warszawa, 2014).

Mateusz Świetlicki is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wrocław’s Institute of English Studies and Director of the Center for Young People’s Literature and Culture. His most recent book, Next-Generation Memory and Ukrainian Canadian Children’s Historical Fiction: The Seeds of Memory (Routledge, 2023), examines the transnational entanglements of Canada and Ukraine.

Agata Zarzycka is an Associate Professor at the Institute of English Studies (University of Wrocław). She has recently published A Goth Reflection: Self-Fashioning and Popular Culture (Wrocław, 2019). Her research interests include literary studies focused on speculative fiction, gothic studies, game studies focused on video games and role-playing games, fan studies, subcultural and cultural studies.

The editors are co-founders and members of The Centre for Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the University of Wrocław.
"The essays in this volume contain impactful, useful, and innovative new approaches to each of the different controversies covered. As a whole, these essays contribute to ongoing discussions in the field, and the essays will also serve individually as vector points for new conversations in the field."

- Roberta Seelinger Trites, Illinois State University
Notes on Contributors

Controversy and Children’s Literature: Introduction
Agata Zarzycka, Mateusz Świetlicki and Elżbieta Jamróz-Stolarska

Part 1 (G)Local Controversies

1 Controversy on the Children’s Book Market in Poland and Its Cultural and Social Background
Bożena Hojka and Elżbieta Jamróz-Stolarska

2 Coming Out: LGBTQ+ Topics and Polish Young Adult Literature
Monika Woźniak

3 Being Controversial in Scandinavia: An Iconotextual Analysis of Selected Norwegian and Danish Picturebooks
Hanna Dymel-Trzebiatowska

4 Political vs. Personal: Gender-Role Formation in the Works of Ukrainian Female Children’s Writers in the 1930s
Snizhana Zhygun

5 The Controversial Truth: Postmemory and the Great Terror in Yulia Yakovleva’s The Raven’s Children and Eugene Yelchin’s Breaking Stalin’s Nose
Sylwia Kamińska-Maciąg

6 Controversies over the Holocaust and the Greek Civil War: Painful Memories in Greek Children’s Books
Meni Kanatsouli

7 Trauma Representation and Aestheticization in North American Young Adult Holocaust Literature
Talia Crockett

Part 2 Transcultural Controversies

8 Boys’ Friendship or Something More? Re-Examining Janusz Korczak’s King Matt the First and Its English Translations
Joanna Dybiec-Gajer

9 Annotated Editions as a Misappropriation of the Author’s Voice and of Children’s Reading: Some Polish Editions of Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault
Barbara Kaczyńska

10 Beguiling Bygones and Relapses into Barbarism: Censoring Old Children’s Literature in the Netherlands
Charlotte van Bergen

11 Controversies of Authentic Adolescent Realism in Isabel Quintero’s Gabi, a Girl in Pieces (2014) and Louise O’Neill’s Asking For It (2015)
Jennifer Mooney

12 “I’m Not a Teapot”: The Controversy of (Post)Humanity in Selected Novels by Neal Shusrerman
Anna Bugajska

13 “Behind the Bars, No World”: Brecht Evens’ Panther as an Ironic Response to Children’s Literature
Katarzyna Smyczyńska

14 Two-Dad Families in Children’s Nonfiction Picturebooks
Angela Yannicopoulou

15 The Children’s Literature Scholar as a Two-Headed Creature (Lofting and Damrosch)
Anna Czabanowska-Wróbel

Index of Persons
The book is intended primarily for scholars of children’s literature and culture, including specialists in the fields of literary studies, education, and memory and gender studies. The book will have a broad appeal owing to its focus on transcultural glocal nature of controversy. It can be used as a secondary source in undergraduate and graduate courses on children’s literature and culture.
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