Diversifying Understandings of Diversity

Possible Routes for Nordic Children’s Literature

  • Lydia Kokkola
  • Sara Van Den Bossche
Keywords: #weneeddiversebooks, diversity, cognitive narratology,, imagology, intersectionality, critical multicultural analysis (CMA), pedagogies of diversity, Nordic exceptionalism


This is a position paper by the guest editors of the Barnboken theme “Diversity in Nordic Children’s and Young Adult Literature” in which we propose that theorising and promoting diversity in the Nordic context would benefit from a broadening of the approaches that dominate the British and American contexts. We attempt to tone down the confrontational style of discussion by outlining the value of two non-political approaches to diversity: cognitive and imagological studies. The former highlights the neurological basis underpinning the desire to compare and the reliance on visual information in producing categories; the latter maps the ways in which images of nations are circulated. We then show how these approaches can dovetail with more politically motivated approaches – such as intersectionality – to produce a pedagogy of diversity. We do not claim that these are the only possible routes, and invite other scholars to diversify further. Our argument is that pitching the need for diverse children’s books solely on moral and ethical grounds has not had the pedagogical impact needed. We need to diversify approaches to analysing and promoting diverse literatures.

How to Cite
Kokkola, L., & Van Den Bossche, S. (2020). Diversifying Understandings of Diversity: Possible Routes for Nordic Children’s Literature. Barnboken, 43. https://doi.org/10.14811/clr.v43.521
Theme: Diversity in Nordic Children’s & Young Adult Literature