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dc.contributor.authorKing, Helen-
dc.descriptionPh. D. Thesisen_US
dc.description.abstractThis thesis explores the contextual agency of children, both as a real presence in the archive and represented on the page, to show that childhood reading can be a conduit for agency. I use the work of children’s author Beverley Naidoo as a case study, exploring her vision for the political potential of childhood reading through her middle-grade fiction and archive. Whilst Naidoo’s work constructs an agential child, her archive demonstrates how children negotiate agency as both consumers and producers of children’s culture. As the first standalone study of Naidoo’s work and archive, this thesis makes an important intervention into scholarship on child agency within childhood studies, revealing how childhood reading is a conduit for political agency. Naidoo is a South Africa-born, UK-based children’s author, with a background in education, reader response research, and anti-apartheid activism. Situated within a tradition of radical children’s literature (Mickenberg 2005; Reynolds 2007), Naidoo’s work positions itself as representing perspectives that British child readers would not otherwise have been able to access. Naidoo’s engagement with themes of racial injustice was influenced by the movement for antiracist and multicultural children’s books in the 1970s and 80s (Sands-O’Connor 2017; Ramone 2020), and many of the narrative strategies she uses reflect an effort to represent experiences to which she is an outsider. I build on current scholarship on child agency (Sánchez-Eppler 2005; Bernstein 2011; Gubar 2016) by offering unique examples from Naidoo’s work and archive of children as both rhetorical figures constructed by her work, and real co-producers and consumers of it. This thesis therefore locates the political potential of childhood reading in its facilitation of child agency.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipNorthern Bridgeen_US
dc.publisherNewcastle Universityen_US
dc.titleWe are the gift of life’: exploring the political potential of childhood reading through the work of Beverley Naidooen_US
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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