Relationships, Intervention, and Organization from the Eighteenth Century to the Present

Edited by Anne Marie Hagen - Contributions by Susan Alteri; Evelyn Arizpe; Tracy Cooper; Emma Davidson; Rebecca Davies; Jennifer Farrar; Anne Marie Hagen; Elspeth Jajdelska; Fiona McCulloch and Sue Walker


This collection of essays explores the cultural significance of children’s reading by analyzing a series of Anglo-American case studies from the eighteenth century to the present. Marked by historical continuity and technological change, children’s reading proves to be a phenomenon with broad influence, one that shapes both the development of individual readers and wider social values. The essays in this volume capture such complexity by invoking the conception of “mediation” to approach children’s reading as a site of interaction among individual people, material texts, and institutional networks. Featuring a range of scholarly perspectives from the disciplines of literature, education, graphic design, and library and information science, this collection uncovers both the intricacies and wider stakes of children’s reading. The books, public programs, and archives that focus explicitly on children’s interests and needs are powerful arenas that give expression to the key ideological investments of a culture.





The interdisciplinary and methodologically varied approaches in this timely collection explore and seek to theorize various ways Anglophone childhood reading is mediated through programmatic interventions, textual features, and the web of adult/reader/text interactions. These engaging essays will inspire researchers in children’s literature and cultural studies to view reading practices with greater depth and nuance.

— Karen Coats, professor of Education, University of Cambridge


This is a wonderfully wide-ranging set of essays exploring how children’s reading experiences have been shaped, across three centuries, by changing pedagogies and understandings of childhood, by social policy and publishers’ strategies, and by the institutions and individuals that provide children’s access to books. Ranging from the eighteenth century to the present, these essays challenge us, in whichever disciplines we work, to develop new methods of understanding children’s reading practices, and always to question our assumptions about how different children read, and what effects their reading can have.

— Matthew Grenby, professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies, Newcastle University