Children's literature and theology in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries



Blair K (2016) Children's literature and theology in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Literature and Theology, 30 (2), pp. 125-130.

First paragraph: In 2002, Peter Hunt, one of the world’s leading scholars of children’s literature, argued in a conference talk: [R]eligion of all kinds has been virtually silenced in mainstream children’s literature, and this has left both a philosophical and a sociological void, perhaps uneasily filled by myth and fantasy. Secondly, religion has actually taken on strong negative connotations. Yet while strongly asserting that children’s literature had been overtaken by secularism, Hunt also noted that the contemporary debates over Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series (1995-2000), in tandem with controversies over the banning of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books (1997-2007) on religious grounds in parts of the U. S., suggested that ‘religion and children’s books have once more become intertwined, in a highly paradoxical way.’ii In the decade since Hunt’s talk appeared in print, this has arguably become ever clearer to scholars of children’s literature. Although we can agree with the editors of two previous special journal issues on children’s literature and religion that mainstream children’s literature ‘has long since evolved away from its religious roots’ in the Christian didacticism of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and that ‘overt and even covert advocacy of religion (particularly Christianity) in secular children’s literature has become increasingly suspect and subject to censorship’, there also seems to be a general consensus that the late twentieth and twenty-first century has witnessed a notable revival of interest in religious and theological themes in children’s literature.

Literature and Theology: Volume 30, Issue 2

Publication date30/06/2016
Publication date online26/05/2016
Date accepted by journal26/05/2016

People (1)


Professor Kirstie Blair
Professor Kirstie Blair

Dean of Faculty of Arts and Humanities, AH Management and Support Team