Global Perspectives on Death in Children's Literature

full name / name of organization: 
Lesley Clement
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How do different cultures present the concept of death to children? How is death represented pictorially? How is death suggested metaphorically? How do the images and metaphors in children's books reflect contemporaneous beliefs, hopes, and fears? Are there taboos in the verbal and visual presentation of death? How is the transition made from death being something that happens to someone else to death being something that will inevitably happen to oneself? How is the inevitability of death made less fearful than it was in the past (or is it)? How are fear and fascination or appeal balanced? Often it is the elderly or animals that die: is this distancing conducive to empathy? What are the means of achieving empathy with those confronting death?

This call-for-papers is for a collection of essays that would address these and other related questions. The editors are particularly interested in proposals that focus on the topic of death as a physical reality, a philosophical concept, a psychologically challenging adjustment, and a social construct. Proposals from diverse theoretical perspectives and on literature representing different genres and mediums (poetry, fiction, picture books, graphic novels, translations, adaptations) and different cultural perspectives and periods are welcomed.

If you would like to contribute to this publication, please submit a 450-550 word abstract of your proposed paper and a curriculum vitae (no more than two pages) by Friday, 1 February 2013, to Dr. Lesley Clement ( and Dr. Leyli Jamali (leylijamali@ will contact you about the status of your proposal by the end of April, 2013, at which stage we will be approaching publishers that have a special interest in children's literature and global issues. If the editors invite you to submit a paper, it should be 18-22 double-spaced pages (including endnotes and bibliography) and would be due the end of August, 2013. Please address any queries to above editors.