Advice to Contributors to Children’s Literature in Education

CLE’s house-style involves elements from two different styles (MLA style in-text, and a modified version of APA or Harvard style, for references). Authors are thus advised to read the following examples and directions carefully when preparing submissions.

General Advice

Articles should generally be between 6,000-8000 words.  However, we also welcome shorter pieces (c.4,000-6,000 words).  Less is often more!

While references conform to APA/Harvard, we prefer articles to be written and organized more like those written in MLA style (i.e. more akin to writing in literary and cultural studies than in the social sciences). Some stylistic differences to consider involve organization and argument:

While most articles written in APA have multiple headings and subheadings (methodology, findings, etc.), articles written in MLA style are more discursive, relying on logical transitions to build an argument.While APA articles list numerous sources without quoting from them, MLA articles selectively include fewer sources that are quoted, analysed in depth, and woven into the conceptual foundation of the article’s thesis. While APA style prefers use of the third person and passive voice, MLA encourages a more personal engagement and the active voice.

As CLE has two editorial bases, one in North America, the other in the UK, it accepts articles in either UK or American English. All it requires is that an article is internally consistent.

In-text references

Cite references in text according to the standard practice, using author, date and, where relevant, page numbers:

As Peter Hunt (2001, p. 1) says, “children’s literature […] does not fit easily into any cultural or academic category.”


As has been noted, “children’s literature […] does not fit easily into any cultural or academic category” (Hunt, 2001, p. 1).

Always include the first name(s) of authors on initial mention, thereafter using surnames. However, there are two provisos:

- only include forenames where authors themselves use them in publications (i.e. it will still be J.M. Barrie and J.K. Rowling); note that authors sometimes write under different forms of their name (see Bakhtin examples, below).

- only include forenames when the author’s name is mentioned in the main text (i.e. in parentheses, just use surnames: see example of Bradford, 2008, below).

In line with MLA style, some punctuation marks (commas and full-stops/periods) fall within quotation marks (double quote marks being standard).

Where there are two authors, mention both (Stephens and McCallum, 1998), but if there are more than two, list just the first in the main text – thus Clare Bradford, et al. (2008), or (Bradford, et al., 2008) – with all the contributing authors/editors listed in the References at the end. The list of References should be in alphabetical order.  Where there is more than one item by a particular author, list these in date order. Where items by the same author have the same date, order them alphabetically by title (ignoring A, An and The), adding a lower-case letter to the respective dates (e.g. Hunt, 1984a; Hunt, 1984b).


Bradford, Clare, Mallan, Kerry, Stephens, John, and McCallum, Robyn. (2008). New World Orders in Children’s Literature: Utopian Transformations. London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hunt, Peter. (1984a). Childist Criticism: The Subculture of the Child, the Book and the Critic. Signal, 43, 42-59.

Hunt, Peter. (1984b). Questions of Method and Methods of Questioning: Childist Criticism in Action. Signal, 45, 180-200.

Stephens, John and McCallum, Robyn. (1998). Retelling Stories, Framing Cultures: Traditional Story and Metanarratives in Children’s Literature. New York & London: Garland.

Quotations that are longer than around fifty words should be indented in their own paragraphs. No quotation marks are then necessary:

The voraciousness of children’s literature in subsuming and assuming other forms (either positively, or more commonly by default) has led to some very curious anomalies both in its content as a body of texts and its composition as a subject of study. (Hunt, 2001, p. 3)

Where you are quoting direct speech, however, quotation marks will be used. Make sure you maintain the layout and spelling of the original (e.g. exchanges of speech will normally start on separate lines, with paragraph indentations):

   “It’s so dreadful to be poor!” sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

   “I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all,” added little Amy, with an injured sniff.  

   “We’ve got Father and Mother, and each other,” said Beth contentedly from her corner. (Alcott, 1994/1868, p. 5)

If something seems unambiguously an error, then use [sic] to show the error isn’t your own (e.g. discussing The Young Visiters [sic] by the 9-year-old Daisy Ashford).

All sources are listed together in one alphabetized list (i.e. not divided into sections).
References follow a modified version of APA/Harvard style, except that first names of authors are included (when they appear in the original publication). Significant words of titles (in books and articles) have capitalized initial letters (unless the title is from a language [e.g. French, Spanish] where the convention is to have titles in lower-case throughout). 

Author Surname, First Name(s). (Year of Publication). Title of Work: Plus Subtitle.  Place of Publication: Publisher Name.

Hunt, Peter. (2001). Children’s Literature. Oxford: Blackwell.

Make sure that the date given ties in with the edition you are using.  However, with texts that have a far earlier, initial publication date, please give the original date when you first introduce the text by title, thus: Louisa Alcott’s Little Women (1868); thereafter give both dates (Alcott, 1994/1868), which will link it to the References, appearing thus:

Alcott, Louisa May. (1994/1868). Little Women. Ed. Valerie Alderson. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Digital, Internet books/texts
As above, but add URL.

De Huff, Elizabeth Willis. (n.d.). Taytay’s tales: Traditional Pueblo Indian tales. \Accessed September 18, 2017 from

Always include the name of the illustrator (when provided).

Where author/illustrator is one and the same:

Potter, Beatrix. (1902). The Tale of Peter Rabbit. London: Warne.

Where author and illustrator are separate:

Dahl, Roald and Blake, Quentin. (1968). The Enormous Crocodile. London: Cape.

Illustrated works (apart from Picturebooks)
Blyton, Enid. (1942). Five on a Treasure Island, illus. Eileen Soper. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Chapters in books

Author Surname, First Name(s). (Year of Publication). Title of Essay. In Editor’s Name(s) (Ed.), Title of Collection (pages of article). Place of Publication: Publisher.

Crago, Hugh. (1990). The Roots of Response. In Peter Hunt (Ed.), Children’s Literature: The Development of Criticism (pp. 118-129). London: Routledge.

Edited books
These follow the format of authored books, with the addition of (Ed.) or (Eds) following the editor’s/editors’ name(s), thus:

Hunt, Peter. (Ed.). (1990). Children’s Literature: The Development of Criticism. London & New York: Routledge.

Editions of Books
If a book is other than a first edition (ignoring reprint/new impression data), add this information and give the date of this particular edition.

Nodelman, Perry and Reimer, Mavis. (2003). The Pleasures of Children’s Literature. 3rd ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Author’s work edited by another person
Alcott, Louisa May. (1994/1868). Little Women. Ed. Valerie Alderson. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Translated works

Bakhtin, Mikhail. (1984). Rabelais and His World. Trans. Hélène Iswolsky. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Edited and Translated works

Bakhtin, M. M. (1981). The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Ed. Michael Holquist. Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Undated works
Bates, Don. (n.d.). Movie Review: Matilda. Accessed Feb 2, 2013 from


Articles in Academic Journals
Author(s). (Year of Publication). Title of Article. Title of Journal. Volume number in italics. (Issue number in brackets), pages.

Singer, Nicky. (2006). Tale of an Innocent. Children’s Literature in Education, 37(4), 305-312.

Articles in Newspapers/Magazines
Author(s). (Year plus month day).  Title of Article. Newspaper Title, page no(s).

Grove, Valerie. (1993, February 12). Fitting the Punishment to the Victim. The Times, p. 15.

Online newspapers and magazines
As above, but add date of access and URL:

Nelson, Gabriel. (2011, May 5). Young Activists Sue U.S., States Over Greenhouse Gas Emissions. New York Times. Accessed May 6, 2014 from

Other Media

Internet Sites
Author(s)/Organisations. (Year). Title of Page/Site. Accessed [month day, year] from [url].  

Internet Movie Database (IMDb). (2004). The Polar Express. Accessed August 8, 2008 from


Director’s name(s) (Director). (year). Title of Film. Place: Film Company.

Zemeckis, Bob (Director). (2004). The Polar Express. Beverley Hills, CA: Castle Rock Entertainment.

Titles of these should not be in italics but in normal font, within quotation marks.

Fast, Kerry Louane. (1999). “Seeing Through Western Eyes: A Study of Three Women’s Holy Land Travel Narratives.” M.A. Thesis, University of Manitoba.

Final Pointers  

Please give numbers 1-9 in full in your main text (e.g. eight). Beyond that, please use digits (e.g. 25 references).

Please keep these to a minimum.  Citations are dealt with in the main text and so any other asides from your discussion should generally be either worked into your main argument or deleted.

You should consider including diagrams, charts, maps or other pictorial information where it helps inform your article. Most commonly, pictorial illustrations will be required (though you will need written permission to reproduce these). Please give each illustration a caption and a running figure number (e.g. Fig. 1 Peter Rabbit enters the garden), and make sure you refer your reader to this illustration in your main text (e.g. Fig. 1).

The permissions we need are: non-exclusive worldwide rights for print and electronic formats, for an unlimited time, and an unlimited number of copies. Any pictures will be reproduced in greyscale/black-white in print, and in full colour in the electronic format. When communicating with commercial companies, it may be helpful to mention that permission is required for use in an academic educational journal.