Author Guidelines


Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature publishes reviewed academic articles on children’s literature with an international perspective. Articles that compare literatures from different countries are of interest, as are papers on translation studies and articles that discuss the reception of work from one country in another. Articles concerned with a particular national literature or a particular book or writer may also be suitable, but it is important that the article should be of interest to an international audience and written without assuming excessive background information.

Bookbird also provides a forum, “Children and Their Books,” in which those working directly with children and their books (e.g. teachers, librarians and parents) or those working in the publishing industry can present their work. These pieces are shorter and are not peer reviewed. They are expected to present good practice and to stimulate other readers who work with children. They should also create a dialogue between the academic articles and day-to-day practice.

Bookbird publishes reviews of both primary and secondary sources. Primary reviews are in the form of brief Postcards on individual works of recently published children’s literature and Letters that discuss the work of a particular author or illustrator. Bookbird also publishes standard academic reviews of recently published critical works on children’s literature. Reviews of non-Anglophone works are particularly welcomed.


Bookbird is published four times a year (in January, April, July and October). There is no particular deadline for Bookbird (except in the case of occasional special issues), and papers tend to be published roughly in the order in which they are received. The details and deadlines of special issues can be found on Bookbird’s homepage

However, since Bookbird is a refereed journal, and the refereeing process can take several weeks or months, there may be a lapse of quite some time between an academic article being received and being accepted for publication, and then another lapse of time before it is actually published. As a rule, academic articles that are accepted are published within a year of submission and works for “Children and Their Books” within three issues.

Length and Submission Guidelines

Academic articles should not exceed 4000 words. Papers for “Children and Their Books” should not exceed 2500 words. Postcards must be under 300 words and Letters should not exceed 1000 words. Reviews of secondary sources should not exceed 500 words. Save your paper as a .DOC or .DOCX file (if you are using Word for Windows) or an .RTF file (if you are a Macintosh user) and send as an email attachment. Send accompanying pictures as .JPGs at 300 dpi. Material submitted to Bookbird must be original and must not be under submission elsewhere.

Please submit papers via email to Janelle Mathis ( and Petros Panaou ( Use the following formula in the email subject line: ‘Bookbird submission XX’, where XX stands for your initials.

Include some information about yourself (e.g., XX lectures in children’s literature at ABC University, Anycity, and has recently published a book on ...) in the body of the email (or in a separate document), not in the paper itself.

Authors are responsible for gaining permission to reproduce illustrations or lengthy quotations from the copyright-holder. Forms will be provided to assist you in this process.


Bookbird is published in English only. If you are unable to write in English, please have your work translated by a reputable translator before submitting it. Bear in mind that all requests for alterations will come in English and will refer to the English version. If you are able to write in English but you have doubts about the quality of your language, please have it checked before you submit it. If the editors find your topic and argument compelling, they may help you revise the language of your paper before it is submitted for peer review.

Even though you are writing in English, please give the names of organizations, institutes and published material in the original language, with an English translation in square brackets, for example: Jens Peder Larsen was awarded the 1992 Children’s Book Prize for his book Bronden [The Well].

Include diacritical marks (accents, umlauts etc.) in all titles and names. If you are unable do this, then please indicate in a note how the words should correctly be written. In the case of non-Roman alphabets, please supply a transliteration.

Writing style

Bookbird is a serious academic journal, and as such it publishes, in the main, serious academic articles. This does not mean that we encourage contributors to be somber or earnest or ‘heavy’ in their style. Although most contributors to Bookbird will be academics or children’s literature professionals, many of the readers may have a more general interest, and we want Bookbird to appeal to them as well as to the professionals. For this reason, we prefer a style that engages the reader’s interest and takes the reader’s requirements into account. So when writing for Bookbird, by all means approach your subject seriously and present your research or your argument as you would for your colleagues, but do keep the more general reader in mind as well.

Keep in mind that many Bookbird readers do not have English as their first language, so clarity both in your arguments and in your language is of great value. A simple strategy like breaking up the text with a few headings can be very helpful to a reader who finds it difficult to read a dense text. Irony is best avoided as it often leads to confusion.


Bookbird uses MLA (Modern Language Association) format; please follow the most current edition. Authors should consult the guidelines, but some of the more common matters are also mentioned below.

Spelling and Punctuation

Bookbird follows the conventions of American English. The editors may change your spellings and punctuation to ensure consistency in style across the journal.

Quotation marks: Please use double quotation marks (“like this”) for direct quotations. Punctuation marks which you have added (such as full stops or exclamation marks) should not appear within the double quotation marks. Single quotation marks (‘like this’) are used to indicate quotations within a quotation). They may also be used for emphasis, although italics are preferred.

Notes and References


Use endnotes rather than footnotes, keyed by superior (superscript) number, only when absolutely necessary, for extra information that does not fit into the flow of the text.

Bear in mind that information in endnote form is quite difficult to read, and may be off-putting to readers. So, try to reduce the number of endnotes by using a combination of in-text references and reference lists for bibliographical information. This is a neater and more reader-friendly system and is preferred by Bookbird.

In-text references: children's books

Please refer to a previously mentioned children’s book by the title, not by the author—date. After the first reference, you may abbreviate the title if it is a long one and the abbreviation is clear.

In-text references: critical works

The first time you refer to a secondary source or a critical work in the text, please give the author’s full name. Thereafter please use the author’s last name, date of publication and page number using the conventions outlined in the MLA style guide.

Works Cited: Listing children’s books

It is usually more helpful to readers if you list children’s books separately from the list of secondary sources.

A list of children’s books by a particular author is usually best organized in chronological (or reverse chronological) order, but a list of children’s books by various authors is probably easier to consult if it is laid out in alphabetical order.

Works Cited: Listing secondary sources

Please use the most recent edition of MLA handbook for full details. The examples below are intended as a brief guide.


Sandroni, Laura and Luiz Raul Machado. A criança e I kuvri: Guia pràtico de estimulo à leitura [The Child and the Book: A Practical Guide for Encouraging Reading]. São Paulo: Atica, 1986.

Translated book

Reuter, Bjarne. Buster’s World. Trans. Anthea Bell. New York: E P Dutton, 1989. Originally published as Busters verden Copenhagen, Branner og Korch, 1978.

Journal article

Jenkins, Christine. “Heartthrobs and Heartbreaks: A Guide to Young Adult Books with Gay Themes.” Out/Look 3.3 (1988): 82-91.

Article in a book

Purcell, Arthur H. “Better Waste Management Strategies Are Needed to Avert a Garbage Crisis.” Garbage and Recycling: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Helen Cothran. San Diego: Greenhaven, 2003. 20-27.

References to books should include the publication date of the original edition (given first) as well as the one cited.