We seek essays on how children’s literature empowers young people to productively engage with the challenges of climate change. After decades of climate change denial and toothless mainstream response, young people are angry. In response to climate change illiteracy and the impotence and negligence of adult-led institutions, teenage activists such as Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Greta Thunberg are calling for radical and immediate action. How does children’s literature and media stoke this transformative anger and inspire young people to address the climate crisis and fight for their fundamental rights to life, health, and sustenance? How can educators and scholars of children’s literature support this fight? What new concepts, approaches, and narratives are needed to accelerate the sociopolitical revolution that will dismantle the status quo, or what Amitav Ghosh calls “the Great Derangement”? In this issue, we intend to bring together innovative research on children’s literature that attends to multiple facets of climate change and advances a conversation about the planetary future we can and want to create.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
• The role of children’s literature on climate change in raising young people’s awareness about their responsibility to the biosphere;
• Depictions of climate change across various genres and forms, including picturebooks, chapter books, comics, short stories, and novels;
• Films, apps, music, and games that engage with climate change and seek to mobilize youth action;
• Constructions of childhood in climate change narratives and discourses;
• Climate change and youth participation in community protests, political campaigns, nonviolent civil disobedience, ecotage (ecosabotage), and ecorism (ecoterrorism);
• Climate change narratives about and by Indigenous youth and youth of color, who are often at the forefront of climate justice initiatives and whose communities are disproportionately threatened by climate change;
• Children’s and YA books that link responsibility to climate change with, in the words of Kim Q. Hall, “commitments to futures that are queer, crip, and feminist”;
• Depictions of environmental racism and classism as facets of climate change; • Climate change and human migrations, including stories about climate refugees;
• Comparative studies of children’s and YA literature on climate change published in the global north and the global south;
• Visions of climate futures, including discourses of hope or despair;
• Reimagining and restructuring institutions of children’s literature that depend on, profit from, and support polluting, extractive industries;
• Intersections of critical discourse on climate change and children’s literature scholarship, including new taxonomies and emerging genres apposite to the challenges of conceptualizing climate change, from environmental literature and cli-fi to eco-fiction and beyond;
• Reevaluations of existing literary traditions through new theoretical concepts or approaches such as energy humanities, environmental humanities, indigenous futurisms, the Anthropocene, ecocritical posthumanism, and other lenses.
Essays should be sent to guest editors Marek Oziewicz and Lara Saguisag at LU.Climateissue@gmail.com by July 15, 2020. Submissions should be in the range of 4000 to 8000 words (although we will also consider shorter, forum-length essays). Accepted articles will appear in The Lion and the Unicorn, vol. 45, no. 2 (2021).