1st Edition

Children as Readers in Children's Literature
The power of texts and the importance of reading

ISBN 9781138806702
Published October 5, 2015 by Routledge
158 Pages

USD $56.95

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Book Description

We are fascinated by text and we are fascinated by reading. Is this because we are in a time of textual change? Given that young people always seem to be in the vanguard of technological change, questions about what and how they read are the subject of intense debate. Children as Readers in Children’s Literature explores these questions by looking at the literature that is written for children and young people to see what it tells us about them as readers. The contributors to this book are a group of distinguished children’s literature scholars, literacy and media specialists who contemplate the multiple images of children as readers and how they reflect the power and purpose of texts and literacy.

Contributors to this wide-ranging text consider:

  • How books shape the readers we become
  • Cognitive and affective responses to representation of books and reading   
  • The relationship between love-stories and reading as a cultural activity 
  • Reading as ‘Protection and Enlightenment’
  • Picturebooks as stage sets for acts of reading
  • Readers’ perceptions of a writer

This portrayal of books and reading also reveals adults’ beliefs about childhood and literacy and how they are changing. It is a theme of crucial significance in the shaping of future generations of readers given these beliefs influence not only ideas about the teaching of literature but also about the role of digital technologies. This text is a must-read for any individual interested in the importance of keeping literature alive through reading.

Table of Contents

Part One: Reading for life: How do books shape the readers we become?  1. "Everybody knew that books were dangerous": Cognitive and affective responses to representation of books and reading  Maria Nikolajeva  2. Taken as Read: Readers in Books and the Importance of Reading, 1744-2003 Peter Hunt  3. All for Love: The relationship between love-stories and reading as a cultural activity  Kim Reynolds  Part Two: Reading and its consequences: How dangerous is reading?  4. Spellbinding Books in Young Adult Fantasy Fiction  Maureen Farrell  5. Of Readers and Vermin: The consequences of literacy for ‘parasites’ Evelyn Arizpe  6. The Forbidden Word: Readers in dystopia Vivienne Smith  7. Reading as Protection and Enlightenment in Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief  Jean Webb  Part Three: Reading in new ways: Who’s in control?  8. ‘What Else Can This Book Do?’ Picturebooks as stage sets for acts of reading  Mary Anne Wolpert and Morag Styles  9. Reading fictions and lessons in meaning-making in the digital age Sylvia Warnecke 10. Readers’ perceptions of a writer: Jacqueline Wilson’s persona and her relationship with her readers Julia Eccleshare 11. "This is my show!" Beyond reading to envisioning and enacting  Shirley Brice Heath


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Evelyn Arizpe is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Education, University of Glasgow, UK.

Vivienne Smith is Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Strathclyde, UK.


"Children as Readers delivers first reaserch results and prepares the ground for further inverstigation of the changing reader."— Stefanie Lange, Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature