Just as children’s literature itself is no longer disparaged as ‘kiddie lit’, whose only adult readers were thought to be teachers and parents of young children, contemporary criticism of this literature has come of age and is no longer marginalised as merely an optional addition to ‘proper’ literary criticism. The processes by which this has been achieved have been outlined in the preceding chapters, tracing the development from, on the one hand, a predominantly nostalgic eulogising of the texts enjoyed by adult book-lovers when they were children, and, on the other, the pedagogical emphasis of educationalists. Much of the early academic focus was either historical or author-based. By contrast, at this stage of the twenty-first century, it is apparent that all the areas explored by current literary theory are very germane to recent children’s literature, perhaps particularly those relating to gender and to the nexus of translation, globalisation and the position of minority cultures. Some critics, such as Nodelman, have accused current critical theorists who write about children’s literature of losing sight of ‘the child’ — an entity which was itself called into question by theoretical critics such as Jacqueline Rose and Karín Lesnik-Oberstein. Certain names have stood out in the process of children’s literature criticism’s growth towards maturity — for instance Peter Hunt, Jack Zipes, John Stephens, Kimberley Reynolds, Maria Nikolajeva, and, because of the considerable influence of his relatively slim output in the field, Peter Hollindale.
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