Sara Van den Bossche and Lydia Kokkola (Eds.)

Submissions are invited for articles using cognitive approaches to the study of children’s literature and other media for a special issue of Children’s Literature Association Quarterly. Cognitive approaches are inherently cross-disciplinary as they combine insights from fields such as the cognitive sciences, linguistics, and education with more traditional literary approaches such as narratology and reader response to form new types of knowledge about readers and viewers. Publications such as Reading for Learning: Cognitive Approaches to Children’s Literature (Nikolajeva 2014) and Literary Conceptualizations of Growth: Metaphors and Cognition in Adolescent Literature (Seelinger Trites 2014) have proposed that cognitive approaches are particularly relevant for the study of children’s literature and culture since the latter are defined by the reader/viewer rather than the producer. Essay collections, such as Affect, Emotion, and Children’s Literature: Representation and Socialisation in Texts for Children and Young Adults (Moruzi, Smith & Bullen (eds) 2017), attest to the broad range of topics that cognition-oriented analyses of children’s texts and cultural products can address.
The aim of the special issue of Children’s Literature Association Quarterly is to create a “state of the art” overview of the contribution cognitive approaches have to offer the field. We welcome contributions that highlight the multidisciplinary nature of this approach, and particularly encourage contributors to reflect on marginalization on the grounds of age, race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability etc. in relation to both literature and readers. We also welcome constructive critiques from scholars who remain skeptical towards cognitive approaches to children’s literature and culture.

Possible areas of investigation may include, but are not limited to, the following inquiries:

• Are young readers really cognitively different from adult readers?
• How are scripts and schemas deployed in children’s cultural products, for instance, to confirm or question national, racial, gendered or other stereotypes?
• How do metaphors shape the way we think about certain topics?
• What is the cognitive impact of the literary techniques such as alienation, focalization, and multiple narrators?
• Do cognitive approaches risk essentializing “the child” or qualities such as ethnic identity?
• How do children’s changing bodies and cognition impact on their understanding of literature and other media?
• How are empathy and Theory of Mind (mind-reading) used as narrative strategies in texts for children?
• How are children’s cultural products designed to exploit their cognitive development for educational, moral, or political gain?
• In what way are emotions represented in children’s cultural products?
• What is the value of empirical studies of young readers?

Manuscripts of articles (c.a. 5-6000 words, conform to MLA style) should be submitted to Sara Van den Bossche ( and Lydia Kokkola ( by 31st October 2018 for peer review. Please send your submission by e-mail attachment in Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format. The journal issue will be published in Volume 44 (2019). Good-quality submissions that are not included in the special issue can be considered for later issues of Children’s Literature Association Quarterly.


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