Maria Nikolajeva

Emeritus Fellow
Contact number: 
(+44)1223 767551
Contact email address:
Year Joined Homerton: 
Research Interests: 

Maria's research of the past thirty years has been focused on the theory of children's literature, including “big questions” such as what makes children's literature different from other literature, how children's literature reflects power hierarchies in society, how general literary theory can be employed to discuss literature marketed for the young audience; time, space and voice; and the ethics of writing for children. She is particularly interested in multimediality and visual literacy. Her research projects lay within the field of cognitive criticism, in particular emotions, empathy and memory.

  • MA (Moscow Linguistic University, English)
  • PhD (Stockholm University, Comparative Literature)
  • International Brothers Grimm Award 2005
  • Honorary Professor, University of Worcester 2007
  • Distinguished Scholar Award, International Association for the Fantastic in Arts 2009

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • International Research Society for Children's Literature (President 1993-97)
  • Children's Literature Association (international committee 1998-2001 and 2002-2004)

The Magic Code: The Use of Magical Patterns in Fantasy for Children (published in book form: Almquist & Wiksell International, 1988)

  • Hilton, M. and Nikolajeva, M., Eds. (2012) Contemporary adolescent literature and culture: The emergent adult. Ashgate.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2010) Power, voice and subjectivity in literature for young readers. Routledge.
  • Beckett, S. andNikolajeva, M., Eds. (2006) Beyond Babar: The European tradition in children's literature. Scarecrow.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2005) The aesthetic approaches to children's literature. Scarecrow. Korean translation 2011.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2002) The rhetoric of character in children's literature. Scarecrow. Paperback reprint 2003. Korean translation 2010.
  • Nikolajeva, M. and Scott, C. (2001) How picturebooks work. Garland. Paperback edition 2006. Chinese translation 2007. Korean translation 2010. Portuguese (Brazil) translation 2011. Japanese translation 2011.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2000) From mythic to linear. Time in children's literature. Scarecrow. Paperback reprint 2003.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (1996) Children's literature comes of age. Toward a new aesthetic. Garland. Korean translation 1998.
  • Recent peer-reviewed articles
  • Nikolajeva, M. (forthcoming) Reading other people's minds through words and pictures. Children's literature in education.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (forthcoming) Children's literature, in The Routledge History of Childhood in the Western World, ed. Paula Fass. Routledge.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2012) Beyond happily ever after: The aesthetic dilemma of sequels, in Textual transformations, ed. Benjamin Levfebre. Routledge.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2012) Guilt, empathy and the ethical potential of children's literature. Barnboken - Journal of Children's Literature Research no 1.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2012) The development of children’s fantasy, in Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, ed. Edward James & Farah Mendlesohn. Cambridge University Press.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2011) ”I spy Rumpelstilstkin”: Playing games with the reader in The Witch's Boy. Marvels & Tales vol 32 no 2.
  • Nikolajeva, M. & Taylor, L. (2011) “Must we to bed indeed?” Beds as cultural signifiers in picturebooks for children. New Review of Children's Literature and Librarianship vol 17 no 2.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2011) Adult heroism and role models in the Harry Potter novels, in: Heroism in the Harry Potter Series, ed. Katrin Berndt & Lena Steveker. Ashgate.
  • Wyse D., Nikolajeva M., Charlton E., Cliff Hodges G., Pointon P., Taylor L. (2011) Place-related identity, texts, and transcultural meanings. British Educational Research Journal.
  • Charlton E., Wyse D., Cliff Hodges G., Nikolajeva M., Pointon P., Taylor L. (2011) Place-related identities through texts: From interdisciplinary theory to research agenda. British Journal of Educational Studies vol 59 no 1.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2011) The identification fallacy; perspective and subjectivity in children's literature, in Telling children's stories: Narrative theory and children's literature, ed. Mike Cadden. University of Nebraska Press.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2011) Visualising people; multimodal character contruction in Astrid Lindgren's works, in Beyond Pippi Longstocking: Intermedial and international approaches to Astrid Lindgren's work, ed. Bettina Kummerling-Meibauer & Astrid Surmatz. Routledge.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2010) Interpretative codes and implied readers of children's picturebooks, in New directions in picturebook research, ed. Teresa Colomer et al. Routledge.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2010) Translation and crosscultural reception, in Handbook of research on children’s and young adult literature, ed. Karen Coats et al. Routledge.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2010) Literacy, competence and meaning-making: a human sciences approach. Cambridge Journal of Education vol 40 no 2.
  • Cliff Hodges, G., Nikolajeva, M. and Taylor, L. (2010) Three walks through fictional Fens.  Children's literature in education vol 40 no 3.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2009) Devils, demons, familiars, friends: Towards a semiotics of literary cats. Marvels & Tales vol 23 no 2.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2009) Time and totalitarianism. International Journal of the Fantastic in Art  vol 20 no 2.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2009) Theory, post-theory, and aetonormative theory. Neohelicon: Acta Comparationis Litterarum Universalum no 1.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2008) Comparative children’s literature: What is there to compare? Papers; Explorations into children's literature no 1.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2008) Harry Potter and the secrets of children's literature in: Harry Potter's world: Multidisciplinary critical perspectives ed. Elizabeth Heilman. Routledge.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2008) Play and playfulness in postmodern picturebooks, in: Postmodern picturebooks: Play, parody, and self-referentiality, ed Lawrence Sipe. Routledge.