Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Introduction

Mainstreaming Literature for Young People

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2018), 12, (3), 261–267.

Abstract

Introduction Mainstreaming Literature for Young People Chloë Hughes and Elizabeth A. Wheeler Western Oregon University / University of Oregon Introduction In 2006, Lennard Davis lamented that although disability studies was “on the map,” it remained difficult to pinpoint. As guest editors, we would like to begin by recognizing the ever-humble David Bolt for being a geographical and intellectual guide and a driving force behind making disability studies increasingly prominent and accessible. He not only launched this journal and remains its editor-in-chief, but continues actively to encourage scholars already on the path, as well as those who have only just unfolded their map. As many readers of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies (JLCDS) will know, among many other roles, Bolt is also the director of the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies (CCDS) at Liverpool Hope University, UK. Participating in or even simply reading the programs associated with the conferences and symposia, one acquires an even stronger sense of the momentum that he has generated for global and interdisciplinary disability studies. Bolt’s invitation to edit this special issue on contemporary young adult and children’s literature for JLCDS exemplifies his encouraging and galvanizing spirit. The larger than anticipated number of proposals we were privileged to read demonstrates the renown and worth of this journal. We are honored to introduce six essays from a truly international and multidisciplinary mix of scholars exploring disability in literature and other media intended for young people from a range of perspectives and cultural backgrounds. Disability and deafness have long featured in texts for young people; however, as David T. Mitchell and Sharon L. Snyder astutely document, they have traditionally functioned as prosthetics to uphold storylines. In the past, child characters with disabilities served as educational toys for their able-bodied peers or, like Tiny Tim, as moral barometers for adult protagonists. Disability and Deaf literature for young readers has boomed. Best-sellers like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Fault in Our Stars, Wonder, and Wonderstruck have been adapted for the stage and screen, indicating a growing audience for disability narratives. The easy availability of audiobooks has opened up pleasure reading to young listeners with disabilities like blindness Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 12.3 (2018) ISSN 1757-6458 (print) 1757-6466 (online) © Liverpool University Press https://doi.org/10.3828/jlcds.2018.21

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Author details

Hughes, Chloë

Wheeler, Elizabeth A.