Sharing Spaces in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Dainy Bernstein and Kristi Fleetwood
contact email: 


NeMLA 51st Annual Convention, March 5-8, 2020

Boston, Massachusetts


The collection Children’s Geographies explores children's places from playgrounds, social networks, schools, streets, villages, and so much more. Peter Hunt’s “Unstable Metaphors: Symbolic Spaces and Specific Places” differentiates between the internal/personal of the “space” and the external/reality of the “place.” Drawing on these ideas, this panel seeks to continue the discussion of children’s places and spaces by asking how children exist in the real world and the fictional world, in addition to how their literature serves (or doesn’t serve) as a distinct space of its own.  

Children’s and Young Adult literature are often treated as their own cohesive categories. However, the spaces of children’s and YA literature are shared by many genres and cultures, and children’s and YA literature themselves share space with adult literature. The readers of these categories frequently overlap, despite publishers’ marketing. The conventions of the books divided by chronological age also overlap when they share genres (for example, children’s historical fiction and adults’ historical fiction share generic conventions, although those conventions may manifest differently).

This panel aims to put these various elements of children’s and Young Adult literature into conversation, exploring the spaces that they share in order to deepen our understanding of how children’s and YA literature function on the page and in real life.

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • shared spaces in children’s literature

  • shared spaces between children’s and adult literature

  • shared spaces between genres of children’s literature

  • What happens when we consider distinct genres or cultures in children’s literature in relation to each other?

  • How do children carve out their own space in a world where adults ultimately control all spaces?

  • How do gender, class, race, and other social influences affect how children navigate their spaces?

  • Where are children allowed authority?  

  • Where are children allowed a voice of their own?

  • How does movement between places and spaces affect the role of the child?

SUbmit 250-word abstract by September 30, 2019, through the NeMLA website: