Review of Mothers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature: From the Eighteenth Century to Postfeminism

Mothers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature: From the Eighteenth Century to Postfeminism
edited by Lisa Rowe Fraustino and Karen Coats
University Press of Mississippi    270 pp.
5/16    978-1-4968-0699-4    $60.00

This illuminating and timely collection, which originated with co-editor Fraustino’s Hollins University course of the same name, examines the changing — and not-so-changing — roles of women throughout children’s books. Finding little current scholarship focused directly on motherhood, the co-editors brought together thirteen articles written by female scholars and divided into four sections (e.g., “The Mother-Child Bond: Fantasy and Desire for the Real,” “Performing Postfeminist Motherhood”) that look at other elements of motherhood: “The Women Who Sent Their Children Away: Mothers in Kindertransport Fiction,” “Cultural-Historical Activity Theory and the Expansive Cycle of Mothering While Black.” The writing is dense for lay readers, but scholars in the fields of children’s literature and beyond should welcome this varied approach. (And we enjoyed the shout-out to Catherine Gilbert Murdoch’s 2009 Horn Book article “The Adventures of Mommy Buzzkill”).

From the May/June 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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