Playing Children’s Literature: Games in and the Gamification of Books for Kids

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This chapter surveys games in and around texts for children, including the gamification of books. It begins by highlighting that games and children's literature have had a long history together – from their early-days connections to John Newbery's Pretty Little Pocket-Book and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century moveable books to their twenty- and twenty-first-century assemblages via digital media and ludic practices expressed in print. The chapter then proceeds to detail ways that games have been studied, with particular attention to the work that is being done by scholars of children's literature. Finally, it focuses close attention on the range of ways games and ludic systems are manifesting in, around, and across a broad array of genres and formats of contemporary texts for children. Across these three parts, the chapter suggests, along with other recent scholarship, that children's media and the ways it has been approached offer a rich model for interdisciplinary study – including game studies. It also, and perhaps more importantly, argues that attention to games in and around texts for children brings to light the potentials of literary play and the gamification of literary texts – specifically, their potential to prompt and embody cognitive processes, and their promise for constructing a notion of the child as an agent who inhabits and affects a complex social network.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to Children’s Literature
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781119038276
ISBN (Print)9781119038221
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


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