Concurrent with increasing scholarly attention toward national children’s literatures, Contemporary English-language Indian Children’s Literature explores an emerging body of work that has thus far garnered little serious critical attention. Superle critically examines the ways Indian children’s writers have represented childhood in relation to the Indian nation, Indian cultural identity, and Indian girlhood. From a framework of postcolonial and feminist theories, children’s novels published between 1988 and 2008 in India are compared with those from the United Kingdom and North America from the same period, considering the differing ideologies and the current textual constructions of childhood at play in each.
Broadly, Superle contends that over the past twenty years an aspirational view of childhood has developed in this literature—a view that positions children as powerful participants in the project of enabling positive social transformation. Her main argument, formed after recognizing several overarching thematic and structural patterns in more than one hundred texts, is that the novels comprise an aspirational literature with a transformative agenda: they imagine apparently empowered child characters who perform in diverse ways in the process of successfully creating and shaping the ideal Indian nation, their own well-adjusted bicultural identities in the diaspora, and/or their own empowered girlhoods.
Michelle Superle is a Professor in the department of Communications at Okanagan College. She has taught children’s literature, composition, and creative writing courses at various Canadian universities and has published articles in Papers and IRCL.
"This benchmark book makes way for a conversation on how children’s literature registers the paradoxes inherent in any society on the threshold of change." -- Manika Subi Lakshmanan, UM St. Louis and Webster University in St. Louis, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly
"Superle’s thorough study is a marked contribution to existing scholarship on Indian children’s literature, and a welcome addition to the critical corpus." --Poushali Bhadury, University of Florida, The Lion and the Unicorn
Introduction: Contemporary, English-Language Indian Children's Novels as Aspirational Literature 1. The Development of Contemporary, English-Language Indian Children's Novels 2. Indian Women Writers: Imagining the New Indian Girl 3. Imagining Unity in Diversity through Cooperation and Friendship 4. Imagining and Performing the Indian Nation 5. Imagining "Indianness" 6. Imagining Identity in the Diaspora: Performing a "masala" Self 7. Performing New Indian Girlhood 8. Conclusion: Old and New Boundaries
Founding Editor and Series Editor 1994-2011: Jack Zipes
Series Editor, 2011-2018: Philip Nel
Founded by Jack Zipes in 1994, Children's Literature and Culture is the longest-running series devoted to the study of children’s literature and culture from a national and international perspective. Dedicated to promoting original research in children’s literature and children’s culture, in 2011 the series expanded its focus to include childhood studies, and it seeks to explore the legal, historical, and philosophical conditions of different childhoods. An advocate for scholarship from around the globe, the series recognizes innovation and encourages interdisciplinarity. Children's Literature and Culture offers cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections considering topics such as gender, race, picturebooks, childhood, nation, religion, technology, and many others. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.