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Joe Sutliff Sanders


University Lecturer

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 767682


  • PhD, University of Kentucky

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Editorial Board, Children's Literature in Education. 2019 to present.
  • Editorial Board, Research in Diverse Youth Literature. 2017-9.
  • Children’s Literature Association (Board of Directors, 2015-18)
  • Children’s Literature Association Publicity Committee (Committee chair, 2014-8) 2011-2018.
  • Young Adult Fiction Festival judge. American Library in Paris. 2011 to present.
  • Editorial Board, Extrapolation. March 2008 to present.

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Joe Sutliff Sanders joined the Faculty of Education after more than a decade teaching in literature departments at universities across the United States. He is a former junior high school English teacher at a small town in Japan and a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Luxembourg.

Joe’s research tends to begin with questions about form—How can a work of nonfiction signal a lack of authority? What does the shape of a picture book invite? How does the formula of best-selling novels about orphan girls shift over time?—and extend then to explorations of ideology. His approach to children’s literature is therefore primarily textual and theoretical.

He is especially passionate about children’s literature’s ability to examine difference and contest marginalisation.

Academic Area/Links

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Research Topics

  • Animation
  • Children’s nonfiction
  • Comic books and ‘graphic novels’
  • Gender
  • Speculative literatures (fantasy, science fiction, horror, dystopia)

Current Research Project(s)

  • A book on children’s animation
  • A book on children’s comics

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Course Involvement

  • Tripos Leadership Team
  • Paper coordinator for Poetics, Aesthetics and Criticisms (Year 1)
  • Paper coordinator for Children's Literature (Year 3)
  • Lecturing also for Language, Communication and Literacies; International Literatures, Arts and Cultures; and Performance, Education and Society

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Principal and Recent Publications

Sanders, J.S. (2018). A Literature of Questions: Nonfiction for the Critical Child, University of Minnesota Press.

Hatfield, C. & Sanders, J.S. (2017). Bonding Time or Solo Flight? Picture Books, Comics, and the Independent Reader. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 42.4, 459-86.

Sanders, J.S. (2017). Whether We Want Them or Not: Building an Aesthetic of Children’s Digital Comics, in Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Michelle Ann Abate and Gwen Athene Tarbox. University Press of Mississippi, 332-42.

Sanders, J.S., Avritt, K.M., Creel, K.M., and Lynn, C.C. (2017). Legitimate Humanity: How Award-Winning Children’s Nonfiction Complicates Stereotypes, in Prizing Children’s Literature: The Cultural Politics of

Children’s Book Awards, edited by Kenneth B. Kidd and Joseph T. Thomas, Jr. Routledge, 58-72.

Sanders, J.S., Ed. (2016). The Comics of Hergé: When the Lines Are Not So Clear, University Press of Mississippi.

Abate, M.A. and Sanders, J.S., Eds. (2016). Good Grief! Children and Comics, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.

Sanders, J.S. (2015) Almost Astronauts and the Pursuit of Reliability in Children’s Nonfiction. Children’s Literature in Education, 46:4, 1-16. The Children’s Literature Association gave this article the award for best article of the year on children’s literature, written in English and published in print anywhere in the world in 2015.

Horne, J. and Sanders, J.S. (2011). Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden: A Children’s Classic at 100, Scarecrow Press. The Children’s Literature Association gave the collection the runner-up award for best edited book on children’s literature, written in English and published anywhere in the world.

Sanders, J.S. (2011). Disciplining Girls: Understanding the Origins of the Classic Orphan Girl Story, Johns Hopkins University Press.

Sanders, J.S. (2008). Spinning Sympathy: Orphan Girl Novels and the Sentimental Tradition, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 33.1, 41-61. This article was reprinted in Children’s Literature Review 137 (2009): 110-123. The Children’s Literature Association gave this article the runner-up award for best article of the year on children’s literature, written in English and published anywhere in the world in 2008.