Introduction: Special Issue Emotion in Children’s Literature


  • Elizabeth Bullen Deakin University, Australia
  • Kristine Moruzi Deakin University, Australia
  • Michelle J Smith Deakin University, Australia



emotion, children's literature


This special issue emerges out of the 2014 Australasian Children’s Literature Association for Research (ACLAR) conference held at Deakin University, which brought together scholars from around the world to discuss affect, ideology, and texts for young people. The ‘affective turn’ in the humanities, the emergence of the field of cognitive poetics, and recent research in the history of emotions have revived interest in the representation of emotion in literary texts and their capacity to elicit affective responses in readers and promote empathy. According to Lawrence Grossberg, ‘It is the affective investment which enables ideological relations to be internalized and, consequently, naturalized’ (1992, p. 83). This is of particular interest in relation to children’s literature, not least because the appeal to the reader of fiction for children and young adults is as likely to be emotional as it is cognitive or rational. A young reader’s affective investment in the existence and events of the fictional world can be manipulated in the service of the didactic agendas of the text. As such, the representation of emotion and the role of affect in reader positioning are categories of analysis that require critical scrutiny.


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Grossberg, Lawrence (1992). We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Popular Conservatism and Postmodern Culture. New York: Routledge.

Keen, Suzanne (2007). Empathy and the Novel. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Nikolajeva, Maria (2014). Reading for Learning: Cognitive Approaches to Children’s Literature. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Stephens, John (2013). ‘Editorial: Thinking in Other Ways’. International Research in Children’s Literature 6 (2): v-xi.







How to Cite

“Introduction: Special Issue Emotion in Children’s Literature” (2015) Papers: Explorations into Children’s Literature, 23(2), pp. 1–3. doi:10.21153/pecl2015vol23no2art1114.

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