This book is based on a series of lectures originally delivered as part of an undergraduate course in Children's Literature in 1994. The material has been adapted to reflect the transformation that the subject has undergone since that time.
The authors wish to acknowledge the academics, researchers and students who have contributed to the development of the subject and those who have discussed, in formal and less formal ways, the readings presented here.
It would be impossible to list all those whose conversations, debates and writing have been influential to the focus of this book, but we would like to mention the members of the British Association for Lecturers in Children's Literature. Although this organisation is awaiting a new direction, the twice-annual meetings with, among many others, Professor Kimberley Reynolds, Dr Christine Wilkie, Dr David Rudd and Aidan and Nancy Chambers helped to reinforce our sense that children's literature is an exciting, innovative and challenging field. The work of Lissa Paul, Jack Zipes, Rod McGillis, Perry Nodelman and John Stephens has also been similarly inspiring.
A special acknowledgement must, however, go to Professor Peter Hunt, whose unstinting encouragement and support during the gestation of this work and, indeed, throughout the course of our research, has been both challenging and enlightening.
Dr Jean Webb would like to acknowledge, in particular, the support of the English Department at University College, Worcester for time to carry out work on this book, and the International Youth Library in Munich for a research fellowship and the use of their resources. She would also like to thank Anna Heidapalsdottir, Debbie Sly, Jill Terry and Vivienne Smith (and the tolerance of her dog, Henry).