Nikolajeva Text (Discussion Questions)

So, there was A LOT in these readings to make sense of/move through/unpack. I’m still working through some of it, to be honest, but here are some of the questions that surfaced for me while reading. Also, apologies for the clunkiness of the questions and that there are so many of them!


  1. Nikolajeva speaks to the interconnectedness between identity formation in children and literature (specifically, fiction). In other words, we must consider the ways in which fiction shapes the identities of children and young adults. Pushing this line of thinking further, how might fiction shape the identities of children along racial/socioeconomic/gendered boundaries? And to that end, what happens to children’s identities when they open books and the images of themselves are distorted, erased, or missing altogether?
  2. Children’s (and YA) literature compels us to bring ourselves inside of ourselves as both an intellectual and emotional experience. As we move through the academe, what do we lose/gain/sacrifice we don’t value children’s literature as “scholarly”? When we don’t value it across academic disciplines? When we just don’t read it?
  3. It seems like children’s literature is written through the adult gaze. In what ways does the author’s positionality matter with regards to the tales they tell and how they tell them? What are the implications of attaching/detaching the author from the work(s) they produce?
  4. So while I was reading, this quote got to me— “Not even all adults possess the meta critical knowledge that would enable them to verbalize their appreciation of literature or art in full, rather than offering vague and subjective response (‘liked’- ‘didn’t like’)”. This assertion seems epistemologically elitist and so I really struggled with this. Who is defining the “standard” for engagement with texts? How should engagement with texts be defined and what does it look like? Also, what are some other ways of knowing/making meaning/and interpreting texts?
  5. This idea of the “novice reader” really stuck to me (and I’m trying to make sense of how I feel about it—I kept thinking of how readers as individuals are not removed from larger “isms”—racism, classism, ableism, sexism, queerantaginism). What do you make of the construct of the “novice” reader and the distinction between the “novice” reader and the “expert reader”? (Cognitive Approaches)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *