The Arctic in Literature for Children and Young Adults  book cover
1st Edition

The Arctic in Literature for Children and Young Adults

ISBN 9781032174563
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
252 Pages

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Book Description

As a setting for juvenile literature, the Arctic has traditionally been a space for adventure, the exotic and the fantastic. More recent works have used the Arctic setting to explore a dystopian future, often related to climate change. The aim of the present volume is to examine themes in Arctic juvenile fiction from the early nineteenth century until today. The deceptive image of the Arctic as geographically uniform seems to promise a cultural coherence, but the collection illustrates the diversity of Arctic literature by critically discussing and comparing works written by visitors and settlers as well as by indigenous peoples. The chapters combine macro- and micro-perspectives to interrogate and illuminate the role of Arctic literature for young readers in creating, maintaining and increasingly challenging Arctic myths and motifs.

Table of Contents

Heidi Hansson, "The Arctic in Literature for Children and Young Adults"


Part 1. Polar History and Its Transformations

  1. Anka Ryall, "Polar Icon? Fridtjof Nansen for Children and Young Adults"

  2. Silje Gaupseth, "An Arctic Tom Sawyer: Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Violet Irwin’s Kak"

  3. Lena Aarekol, "The Snow Baby Books: Mediating Arctic Experiences to Children"

  4. Henning Howlid Wærp, "The Polar Bear in Nordic Literature for Children and Young Adults"


    Part 2. Indigenous and Localized Arctics

  6. Ingeborg Høvik, "Girlhood in the Arctic: Word-Image Relations in R. M. Ballantyne’s Canadian Adventures"

  7. JoAnn Conrad, "Encountering Otherness in the Geographical Imaginary: Lapland Journeys in Early Swedish Children’s Books"

  8. Tiffany Johnstone, "‘To Help You Find Your Way Home’: Michael Kusugak’s Reimagining of Fear and Danger in the Canadian Arctic"

  9. Lill-Tove Fredriksen, "Imagination and Reality in Sami Fantasy"

  10. Silje Solheim Karlsen, "Coming-of-Age through Svalbard Adventures"


    Part 3. Arcticity and Imaginary Arctics

  12. Heidi Hansson, "Negotiating the Snow Queen: Versions of an Arctic Archetype"

  13. Toni Lahtinen, "Arctic Wilderness in Zachris Topelius’s Fairy Tale ‘Sampo Lappelil’"

  14. Johan Schimanski, "Playing the Arctic: Arthur Ransome's Winter Holiday"

  15. Kirsti Pedersen Gurholt, "Arctic Adventure Girls: Television Narratives and Discourses"

  16. Maria Lindgren Leavenworth, "Orientation and Disorientation in Realistic and Speculative Young Adult Fiction"

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Heidi Hansson received her PhD from Umeå University, Sweden, with the dissertation "Romance Revived: Postmodern Romances and the Tradition" in 1998. She is Professor of English Literature at the same university and currently serves as Deputy Vice Chancellor. She has published widely on images of the North and the Arctic in travel writing, fiction and popular culture, and has edited, together with Cathrine Norberg, the collection Cold Matters: Cultural Perceptions of Snow, Ice and Cold (2009), and with Anka Ryall, the recent collection Arctic Modernities: The Environmental, the Exotic and the Everyday (2017).

Maria Lindgren Leavenworth is Associate Professor of English Literature in the Department of Language Studies, Umeå University, Sweden. She received her PhD from the same university with the dissertation The Second Journey: Travelling in Literary Footsteps (2000, revised second edition 2010). Her research with a focus on travel literature and the North has resulted in articles on nineteenth-century travel writers Bayard Taylor and S. H. Kent, and more recently, she has examined contemporary speculative fictions set in the Arctic by Dan Simmons and Michelle Paver.

Anka Ryall is Professor Emerita at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, where she previously taught English Literature. Among her publications are several books on travel writing and gender, while her latest book (in Norwegian) deals with Virginia Woolf's literary border crossings. She has published widely on the Arctic as a gendered space in travel writing, been the leader of two international interdisciplinary research programmes on Arctic literature, and co-edited Arctic Discourses (2010) with Johan Schimanski and Henning Howlid Wærp and Arctic Modernities: The Environmental, the Exotic and the Everyday (2017) with Heidi Hansson.