1st Edition

Family in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Edited By Eleanor Spencer, Jade Dillon Craig Copyright 2023
    272 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Family in Children's and Young Adult Literature is a comprehensive study of the family in Anglophone children’s and Young Adult literature from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Written by intellectual leaders in the field from the UK, the Americas, Europe, and Australia, this collection of essays explores the significance of the family and of familial and quasi-familial relationships in texts by a wide range of authors, including the Grimms, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Rudyard Kipling, Enid Blyton, Judy Blume, Jaqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Melvin Burgess, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, and others. Author-based and critical survey essays explore evolving depictions of LGBTQIA+ and BAME families; migrant and refugee narratives; the popular tropes of the orphan protagonist and the wicked stepmother; sibling and intergenerational familial relationships; fathers and fatherhood; the anthropomorphic animal and surrogate family; and the fractured family in paranormal and dystopian YA literature. The breadth of essays in Family in Children's and Young Adult Literature encourages readers to think beyond the outdated but culturally privileged ‘nuclear family’ and is a vital resource for students, academics, educators, and practitioners.


    Ann Alston

    Introduction: Exploding the Nuclear Family

    Eleanor Spencer and Jade Dillon Craig

    Part I: Beyond Wicked Stepmothers and Absent(-minded) Fathers

    1. Where Are They Now? Manifestations of (Monstrous) Mothers in Fairy Tales
    2. Claudia Schwabe

    3. Perspectives on Fathers and Fatherhood within Children’s Literature: A Case Study of Katya Balen’s October, October
    4. Richard Charlesworth

    5. ‘Shrewd sound-hearted maiden aunts’: The Aunt Figure in Children’s Literature
    6. Jane Suzanne Carroll

    7. 'What’s the point of Grandpa?': Grandparents in Children’s Literature
    8. Vanessa Joosen

      Part II: Home, Nation, and Empire

    9. Families Formed, Found, and Fractured in the Children’s Novels of Frances Hodgson Burnett
    10. Elisabeth Rose Gruner

    11. The Feral Child and the More-than-Human Family
    12. Jessica Straley

    13. A Gift to the Family of Britain: Depictions of African, Caribbean, and Black British Families in British Children’s Literature after 1970
    14. Karen Sands-O’Connor and Phyllis Ramage

    15. Kinning with Picturebooks about La Frontera
    16. Macarena García-González and Evelyn Arizpe

      Part III: Growing Pains and Teenage Dreams

    17. Bowlby, Blyton, and Child Care Issues in Enid Blyton
    18. Nicholas Tucker

    19. From First Born to Second Fiddle: Empathy Is an Argument if Your Name is Peter Hatcher in Judy Blume’s Fudge Books
    20. Joseph Michael Sommers

    21. 'Mum’s no fun now': Constructing the Maternal in the Family Fictions of Jacqueline Wilson
    22. Kay Waddilove

    23. ‘Chasing the Dragon’: The Anxieties of Family in the Fiction of Melvin Burgess
    24. Alyson Miller

    25. A Taste for the Secret: Tracing Secretive Families in Malorie Blackman’s Fiction
    26. Blanka Grzegorczyk

    27. Queering the Family in Young Adult Literature: Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End, Familial Disruption, and the Space of the Home
    28. Angel Daniel Matos

      Part IV: Alternative Families in Alternative Worlds

    29. Lost Boys, Found Boys: Masculinities and Families in J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter
    30. Eleanor Spencer

    31. Unhomely Domestic Spaces in Neil Gaiman’s Coraline
    32. Jade Dillon Craig

    33. Apple to Pomegranate: Vampires and Families in the Twilight Saga
    34. Lisa Nevárez

    35. Breeders, Rebels, and Warriors: The Oppression of Adolescent Mothers in the Young Adult Dystopias The Lone City trilogy and Gather the Daughters

    Malin Alkestrand


    Eleanor Spencer is Principal of Janet Clarke Hall at the University of Melbourne, where she is also an Honorary Senior Fellow in the School of Culture and Communications, teaching on the English and Theatre Studies programme. She is the recipient of a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship and was Visiting Fellow in the Department of English at Harvard University. Her research interests include twentieth and twenty-first-century British and American poetry, and children’s and Young Adult fiction. Her recent publications include the New Casebook on American Poetry since 1945 (2016), and essays in Sylvia Plath in Context (2019) and A Companion to Contemporary British and Irish Poetry 19602015 (2020).

    Jade Dillon Craig is Associate Professor of Children’s Literature and Young Learners at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway. Her research interests include children’s literature, Alice studies, visual texts, cinematography, and gender studies. She has published book chapters in volumes with Palgrave Macmillan, Peter Lang, and McFarland. Her most recent publication features in Barnboken: Journal of Children’s Literature Research. Jade is a project leader for eBLINK (engelske bildebøker i norske klasserom) and co-founder of the Children’s Literature Education and Research group at NTNU (with Alyssa Magee Lowery).