Maps and Mapping in Children’s Literature. Landscape, seascape and cityscape

Maps and Mapping in Children’s Literature is the first comprehensive study that investigates the representation of maps in children’s books as well as the impact of mapping on the depiction of landscapes, seascapes, and cityscapes in children’s literature. The chapters in this volume pursue a comparative approach as they represent a wide spectrum of diverse genres and national children’s literatures by examining a wealth of children’s books from Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the USA. The theoretical and methodological approaches range from literary studies, developmental psychology, maps and geography literacy, ecocriticism, historical contextualization with both new historicist and political-historical leanings, and intermediality to materialist cartographies, cultural studies, island studies, and genre studies. By this, this volume aims at embedding children’s literature in a broader field of literary and cultural studies, thus situating children’s literature research within a general context of literary theory.

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Ecocritical article on Pinocchio

Supported by ecocriticism, theories on the posthuman and characteristics of ‘the strange child’, this article examines how the illustrations in various editions of the Pinocchio story present the transformation from a piece of wood (nature) to boy (culture and nature). It also questions which conceptions of the relationships between plants, animals and humans the various representations may encourage.

Nina Goga: I begynnelsen var treet. Økokritisk lesning av omformingen fra et stykke tre til gutt i Carlo Collodis Le avventure di Pinocchio. Storia di un burattino (1883)


NaChiLit-article on the picturebook Kanincheninsel (1977) by Jörg Müller and Jörg Steiner

Article abstract: Animals and wildlife have a central place in the representations of nature in children’s literature, and is often presented as an unproblematic idyll. This arises from the conception of the tight relationship between children, animals and nature. The picturebook Kaninliv (1978) [Die Kanincheninsel, 1977] by Jörg Müller and Jörg Steiner is sticking out with heavier and more disturbing themes, examining industrial society’s exploitation of animals and nature, and conveys a critical eye on a fur farming involving restrictions on unfolding opportunities for the animals. The scope of this article is to discuss how the concept of nature is expressed and negotiated in the dialogue between pictures and verbal text represented in Kaninliv. Nature and wildlife will be read from an ecocritical perspective, in relation to the nature/culture dichotomy, as well as from an allegoric point of view. The analysis is a part of the research project Nature in Children’s Literature: Fostering ecocitizens, initiated at Bergen University College, and is discussed in relation to a matrix developed by the research group that places the texts along the two axes “nature celebrating versus nature problematizing” and “anthropocentric versus biocentric”.

Read the article Forhandling om natur – kultur. En økokritisk lesning av Jörg Müller og Jörg Steiners bildebok Kaninliv (1978)