Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 76–89 | Cite as

“It’s Not Just Writing”: Negotiating Childness in Children’s Literature Through Performance

  • Eve TandoiEmail author
Original Paper


This article reflects on insights gained from a larger study that explored how a class of ten- and eleven-year-olds read and responded to David Almond’s hybrid novel, My Name is Mina. Through focusing on the children’s performances of the poems contained within the text, the discussion examines embodied aspects of the children’s engagement and suggests that these play a critical role in the children’s shared readership. The implications of this analysis are then considered in relation to Peter Hollindale’s definition of “childness” and it is argued that a close analysis of William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale reveals tensions inherent between linguistic constructions of childness within the text and embodied performances on stage. Drawing on critical perspectives from children’s literature theory and research conducted on classroom dialogue, the article argues that children make use of their social and physical positioning to engage in fictive negotiations of childness and adultness and, in so doing, co-create an aesthetic experience that we refer to as children’s literature.


Adultness David Almond Childness Children’s poetry Embodied discourse Hybrid novels Peter Hollindale Kinship 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GloucestershireCheltenhamUK

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