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Joe Sutliff Sanders


University Associate Professor

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 and genre—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, historical, 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)
  • Libraries and librarianship

Prospective Doctoral Applications

Joe welcomes enquiries from prospective doctoral students on any topics broadly concerning children's literature, in particular the following areas:

  • Texts combining words and images, especially picturebooks, comics, and graphic novels
  • Animation
  • Nonfiction
  • Classic girls' fiction
  • Speculative literatures (fantasy, science fiction, horror, dystopia)
  • Libraries, librarianship, and children's culture

Current Research Project(s)

  • An open-access, co-edited collection of new essays on comic books and the Global South
  • A book on the history of comic books, cultural gatekeeping, and US libraries
  • Articles on children's nonfiction, girlhood studies, Chinese graphic novels, and comics and autism

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Course Involvement

  • Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching
  • Paper coordinator, first-year Humanities Paper
  • Teaching also for first-year Humanities Paper; Children's Literature; Research Methods; and Critical Approaches to Children's Literature

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Principal and Recent Publications

Du, Yan and Joe Sutliff Sanders. L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon: A Children’s Classic at 100. Jackson, Mississippi: UP of Mississippi, 2024.

“Comics in Libraries.” The Cambridge Companion to Comics. Ed. Maaheen Ahmed. Cambridge UP (2023): 327-45.

Earle, Monalesia and Joe Sutliff Sanders. “Misdirection, Displacement and the Nisse in Hilda and the Black Hound.” European Comic Art 15.2 (2022): 5-26.

Sanders, J.S. (2021). Batman: The Animated Series, Wayne State University Press.

Sanders, J. S. and Xia Zhao. (2021) The Coin in the Rice in the Spoon: Perspectives within Perspectives in A New Year’s ReunionBookbird, 59.3, 37-45.

Sanders, J.S. (2020) The Fact of Joy: Marveling at and in Children’s Non-Fiction. Non-Fiction Picturebooks: Sharing Knowledge as an Aesthetic Experience, edited by Giorgia Grilli. Pisa, Italy: Edizioni ETS, 259-66.

Sanders, J.S. (2019) ’A Walking Shadow’: Life as a Reader and Author of Neil Gaiman. The Artistry of Neil Gaiman: Finding Light in the Shadows, edited by Joe M. Sommers and Kyle Eveleth. U of Mississippi P, 237-42.

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

Sanders, J.S. (2018). Sandman, the Ephemeral, and the Permanent. The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel, edited by Jan Baetens, Hugo Frey, and Stephen Tabachnick. Cambridge UP, 337-52.

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.

Joe Sutliff Sanders

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