Children’s Literature

FOR 470506 Children’s Literature
FOR 470531 Young Adult Literature

Deakin is a national leader of research in children’s literature & culture. There is a high level of collaborative research between Deakin scholars as well as cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional and transnational collaboration. We are particularly focused on:

  • Historical children’s literature
  • Representations of gender and sexuality in children’s literature
  • Changing reading patterns in adolescents
  • Young Adult genre fiction
  • Chinese children’s literature
  • Children’s literature and science
  • Young Adult fan culture

There is a large HDR cohort with whom researchers run a regular reading group. There is also a HDR kidlit/YA research network.

Recent publications include:

Jodi McAlister, New Adult Fiction, Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Kristine Moruzi and Michelle Smith, ed. Monstrous Selves/Monstrous Others: Young Adult Gothic Fiction (University of Wales Press).

Paul Venzo and Kris Moruzi, eds. Sexuality in Literature for Children and Young Adults. Routledge, 2021.

Current grants include:

Leonie Rutherford & Katya Johanson. “Discovering a good read: Cultural pathways to reading for Australian teens in a digital age”, ARC Linkage: $ 425,918 (Deakin, QUT, and University of Canterbury). Its industry collaborators include: the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Booksellers Association, the School Library Association of Victoria, the Australian Library and Information Association, and the Copyright Agency Ltd. It provides research training for two PhD students and a postdoctoral research fellow.

Paul Venzo, Prue Francis, Alecia Bellgrove.  DeakinSeaEd: marine education resources for children (Gwen and Edna Jones Foundation, $10,000), a funded PhD position has also been added to the project

Current projects include:

  • Paul Venzo, Helen Young, and Lara Hedberg (PhD candidate): Rainbow families
  • Kris Moruzi, Paul Venzo, and Sue Chen: Fear, anxiety, and hope in children’s literature
  • Sue Chen, Kris Moruzi and Michelle Smith (Monash): Digitising Australian children’s periodicals
  • Further members/collaborators: Michelle Smith (Monash), Clare Bradford (Deakin)
  • Internationals: Prof Kenneth Kidd (U of Florida), Assoc Prof Natalie Coulter (York University, Canada), Dr Sin Wen Lau (University of Otago)
  • Organisations: Asian-Australasian Regional Network of the Society for the History of Children and Youth (Kris Moruzi, co-chair) Australasian Children’s Literature Association for Research (Sue Chen, President); Children’s Literature Association; International Research Society for Children’s Literature


  • Chen, Moruzi, & Venzo, “P is for Pandemic: Kid’s books about coronavirus” (The Conversation).
  • Little & Moruzi, “‘I couldn’t escape. I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to’: confusing messages about consent in young adult fantasy fiction” (The Conversation).
  • Fear, Anxiety, and Hope in Children’s Literature podcast, curated by Sue Chen.
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