University of Oulu

Kokkola, L., & Van Den Bossche, S. (2020). Diversifying Understandings of Diversity: Possible Routes for Nordic Children’s Literature. Barnboken, 43.

Diversifying understandings of diversity : possible routes for Nordic children’s literature

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Author: Kokkola, Lydia1; Van den Bossche, Sara2
Organizations: 1Oulu University, Finland
2Tilburg University, the Netherlands
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Svenska barnboksinstitutet, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-12-11


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.

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Series: Barnboken
ISSN: 0347-772X
ISSN-E: 2000-4389
ISSN-L: 0347-772X
Volume: 43
Pages: 1 - 23
DOI: 10.14811/clr.v43.521
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6122 Literature studies
Copyright information: © 2020 L. Kokkola, S. Van den Bossche. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License (, permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.