chapter
8 Pages

Introduction

ByClaudia Nelson, Rebecca Morris

More than many literary forms, children’s literature circulates internationally. Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, for example, has long been deemed less a Swedish children’s book than a book for all children; manga are popular not only in their native Japan but also in many other countries, including the United States; fans of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter saga may be found in countries from China to Peru. Thus it is not surprising that from the nineteenth century onward, U.S. children’s literature has been exported to China, initially with a particular (though not exclusive) connection to missionary efforts and more recently in response to commercial demand. Together with classic European texts such as the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen,1 U.S. children’s literature has wielded an important continuing influence over Chinese children’s literature; today, bestselling young adult titles such as Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga and critically esteemed children’s works such as Newbery Award winners are regularly translated into Chinese, providing readers in that country not only with entertainment but also with insight into how childhood and adolescence are understood in the contemporary United States.