Fundamental Concepts of Children’s Literature Research
Literary and Sociological Approaches
Routledge – 2009 – 186 pages
In this book, Ewers provides students and professors with a new system of categorization for a differentiated description of children’s literature. In the early 1970s, Swedish children’s literature scholar Göte Kingberg worked to establish a system of scientific terminology for international use, but these terms are now somewhat antiquated. This book offers a much-needed update, systematically analyzing the field and articulating its key definitions, terms, and concepts.
International in scope, this study touches on subjects including the distribution of primers and textbooks, the means by which children’s books are evaluated and classified, and the ways in which children’s literature can find an adult audience. Also discussed are the system of symbols, norms, concepts, and discourses that have evolved during the past two centuries, leading to an investigation of how authors and publishers have endeavored to make literature "appropriate" for children and of what it means to accommodate children’s needs, wishes, and values. Throughout, Ewers provides concrete examples and clear definitions of terms so that any scholar interested in children’s literature will find this book approachable, insightful, and one that crosses cultural boundaries.
Series Editor’s Foreword
Part I: Literary Communication with Children and Young People
1. Children’s Literary Communication
2. Different Forms of Children’s Literary Messages
3. Children’s Literature as Literature for Mediators
4. Children’s Literature as Twofold Communication
5. Children’s Literature as Reading Material for Adults
Part II: Children’s Literary Distribution and Evaluation Systems
6. Children’s Literary Action Systems
7. The Market for Children’s Books and Media
8. Children’s Books and Media as an Action System in Public Libraries
9. "School Reading" as a Selection and Distribution System
10. The "children’s book" pedagogic action system
11. The "children’s public literary forum" Action System
12. Historical Change in Distribution and Evaluation Systems for Children’s Literature.
13. Children’s Literary Polysystems and their Providers
Part III: Semiotics of Children’s and Young Adult Literature
14. Children’s Literary Symbol Systems
15. Fundamental Children’s Literary Norms
16. Children’s Literary Concepts
17. Children’s Literary Discourse
Part IV: Children’s Literature as Literature Suitable for Children and Young People
18. Child Suitability: Accommodation and Assimilation
19. Forms of Child Suitability: Forms of Accommodation
20. Child Suitability as a Basis for Textual Analysis
21. External and Internal Suitability
Ewers is Professor of German Literature with a focus on Children's Literature at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University of Frankfurt/Main and Director of the "Institut für Jugendbuchforschung" (Institute for Children's Literature Research).