Introduction to Volume 45


Published: 09 February 2023

©2023 M. Andersson. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC 4.0 License (, permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Citation: Barnboken – tidskrift för barnlitteraturforskning/Barnboken: Journal of Children’s Literature Research, Vol. 45, 2022


The past few years have seen a continuous increase in the number of submissions to Barnboken: Journal of Children’s Literature Research, and in 2022 Barnboken published more articles than ever before in the history of this journal. The forty-fifth volume includes twenty articles, many of which belong to one of the three themes on girlhood studies, aesthetics and pedagogy, and Barnbiblioteket Saga (the Children’s Library Saga). Moreover, eight reviews of recent Nordic and international theoretical literature were published. The Barnboken team has also been delighted to note that the number of subscribers to notifications via Barnboken’s website continued to increase during 2022 while visits to the journal’s Facebook page doubled.

The largest theme – “Conceptions of Girlhood Now and Then: ’Girls’ Literature’ and Beyond” – originates from a 2020 online conference that was arranged by the Centre for Childhood Research in Literature, Language and Learning (CHILLL) at Linnaeus University in Växjö in collaboration with the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books and Dawn Sardella-Ayres who holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Editors of this theme are two of the conference organisers Malin Alkestrand (Associate Professor, Linnaeus University) and Maria Nilson (Associate Professor, Linnaeus University). The eight articles examine the changing expressions of girlhood in literature, from classic nineteenth-century girls’ fiction to contemporary tales of werewolves and collective biographies of women. Several articles explore issues related to body and voice, where inspiration from fields such as gothic research, fat studies, and disability studies contribute with new perspectives. In the introduction, the theme editors offer a detailed presentation of Swedish-language research on girls’ books and girlhood and place this research in an international girlhood studies context. The articles of the theme were published with support from Crafoordska stiftelsen (the Crafoord Foundation).

“Aesthetics and Pedagogy” is the second of this year’s themes, and it will continue during 2023. Editors are Maria Jönsson (Professor, Umeå University) and Olle Widhe (Professor, University of Gothenburg). The five articles published in 2022 approach the theme through classroom studies as well as analyses of novels and picture-books. The potential of undecidability in literary education, the use of picturebooks in value-based classroom work, and the interplay between aesthetics and pedagogy in historical fiction are some of the topics addressed. Among the analysed works are picturebooks by Stian Hole, Pija Lindenbaum, and Maija Hurme and Anssi Hurme.

The third theme – “The Children’s Library Saga and the Swedish Teachers’ Magazine’s Publishing House” – will also continue during 2023. Åsa Warnqvist (Docent, the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books) is the editor of this theme which is connected to the research project on the Children’s Library Saga that is being carried out at the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books. The Children’s Library Saga was launched by the Swedish Teachers’ Magazine’s Publishing House at the turn of the twentieth century and lived on until the 1970s. In the two articles published in 2022, aspects linked to the early history of the publishing house and the book series are examined, respectively, through an analysis of children’s letters to the magazine Jultomten (Father Christmas) and a discussion of Fridtjuv Berg’s strategies in his adaptation of Greek mythology for children in Trojanska kriget (The Trojan War, 1901). This theme has been made possible by the support of Lärarstiftelsen (The Teacher’s Foundation).

In addition to this year’s three themes, Barnboken published five independent articles in 2022. Together they demonstrate the wide theoretical and thematic scope of contemporary research on children’s and young adult fiction. Following in Ulf Stark’s footsteps, Magnus Öhrn takes our readers on a literary tour through Stureby, a suburb south of Stockholm. Drawing on literary geography, Öhrn investigates the productive interplay between actual places and Stark’s imaginary universe where Stureby plays an important role. Erik Zillén’s article outlines fable’s genre history in a Scandinavian context, from the early 1500s to the mid-1800s. Originally a type of text mainly used in the teaching of classical languages, the fable genre developed into stories intended for children and presented in their native languages. Against the background of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Nina Goga explores recent years’ publication of Swedish non-fiction for children that addresses environmental and climate issues. She concludes that these books provide space for children’s thoughts about the environment and climate change, but also offer information on how young readers can influence the development of these issues both on a local and a national level. Drawing on queer theory and theories of anti-social feminism, Hilda Jakobsson sheds light on different forms of silence and absence in Agnes von Krusenstjerna’s Tony trilogy (1922–1926). The analysis reveals how the main character’s passivity in central scenes challenge patriarchal and chrononormative structures. Finally, Vanessa Joosen discusses age and generation in Anne Fine’s The Granny Project (1983), using John Wall’s notion of “childism” as her starting point. Joosen argues for increased interaction between the fields of childhood studies, age studies, and children’s literature studies. Through her analysis, she shows how children’s literature can contribute to resisting age-based norms and promoting intergenerational dialogue.

Barnboken is an Open Access journal, which means that all articles and reviews are published online and are freely available on the journal’s website and in full text through several international databases. Article submissions are subjected to double-blind peer review, ensuring that all articles published in Barnboken have been reviewed by at least two external reviewers outside of the journal’s editorial board. When members of the editorial board or theme editors contribute with submissions of their own, they are not involved in the editorial work or the peer review process of their article in any capacity. Barnboken’s focus is mainly Swedish and Nordic, but the journal has readers all over the world.

During 2022, my fellow members of the editorial board were Nina Goga (Professor, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway), Maria Jönsson (Professor, Umeå University, Sweden), Peter Kostenniemi (PhD, Stockholm University/Umeå University, Sweden), Anne Skaret (Professor, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway), Olle Widhe (Professor, University of Gothenburg, Sweden), and Mia Österlund (Docent, Åbo Akademi University, Finland). Review Editor is research assistant Hanna Liljeqvist (the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books). During the year, Barnboken’s previous Editor-in-chief Åsa Warnqvist (the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books) has participated in the editorial work as Consulting Senior Editor. The journal’s international Advisory Board includes fifteen prominent Swedish, Nordic, and international researchers. The journal is published with support from Vetenskapsrådet (the Swedish Research Council).

Barnboken welcomes both new and old readers to take part of the exciting and inspiring research presented in this year’s volume.

Maria Andersson
Editor-in-chief of Barnboken: Journal of Children’s Literature Research
Docent, Stockholm University, Sweden