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Introducing the study of children's literature, this book addresses theoretical questions as well as the most relevant critical approaches to the field. The fourteen chapters draw on insights from academic disciplines ranging from cultural and literary studies to education and psychology, and include an essay on what writers for children think about their craft. This results in a fascinating range of perspectives on key topics in children's literature and an introduction to such diverse concerns as literacy, ideology, stylistics, feminism, history and culture, and bibliotherapy. An extensive general bibliography is complemented by lists of further reading for every chapter and a glossary defines critical and technical terms, making the book accessible to those coming to the field or to a particular approach for the first time. In this second edition there are four entirely new chapters; contributors have revisited and revised or rewritten seven of the chapters to reflect new thinking, while the remaining three are classic essays, widely acknowledged to be definitive. The glossary, further reading lists and general bibliography have also been thoroughly updated. Understanding Children's Literature is an invaluable guide for students of literature or education and it will also inform and enrich the practice of teachers and librarians.