Michelle Ann Abate

Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning and Department of English

Michelle Ann Abate is Associate Professor of Literature for Children and Young Adults in the Department of Teaching and Learning and also Associate Professor of English (Courtesy Appointment).  Michelle is the author of three books of literary criticism: Bloody Murder: The Homicide Tradition in Children's Literature (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), Raising Your Kids Right: Children’s Literature and American Political Conservatism (Rutgers University Press, 2010), and Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History (Temple University Press, 2008).

Michelle is also the co-editor of three books of critical essays:  C. S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia Casebook, with Lance Weldy (Palgrave, 2012); Global Perspectives on Tarzan: From King of the Jungle to International Icon, with Annette Wannamaker (Routledge, 2011), Over the Rainbow: Queer Children's and Young Adult Literature, with Kenneth B. Kidd (University of Michigan Press, 2010).

In addition, Michelle has published critical essays on a wide range of topics, including The Muppet ShowAlice's Adventures in Wonderland, Louisa May Alcott, Caddie Woodlawn, Where the Wild Things Are, Mark Twain, “Snow White,” the Left Behind novels for kids, and the genres of lesbian pulp fiction and young adult novels.

In recent years, Michelle's work has been discussed in The Boston Globe, she has been a featured guest on NPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, and she has written an invited opinion piece for The New York Times about current trends in young adult fiction.  Michelle's book Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History was a finalist for the national Lambda Literary Awards in the category of LGBTQ Studies.



Bloody Murder: The Homicide Tradition in Children’s Literature.  Johns Hopkins University Press.   February 2013.

Raising Your Kids Right:  Children’s Literature and American Political Conservatism. Rutgers University Press, 2010. 

Tomboys:  A Literary and Cultural History.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008.

Co-Edited Books

C. S. Lewis:  The Chronicles of Narnia CasebookCo-edited with Lance Weldy.  Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2012.

Global Perspectives on Tarzan:  From King of the Jungle to International Icon.  Co-edited with Annette Wannamaker.  Routledge Press, 2012.

Over the Rainbow:  Queer Children’s and Young Adult Literature.  Co-edited with Kenneth B. Kidd. University of Michigan Press, 2011. 

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles (Selected)

 “‘A Grand Amount of Fagginess’:  The Faggiest Vampire, Bizarro Fiction for Children, and the Dehomosexualization of LGBTQ Terminology.”  Children’s Literature Association Quarterly.  37.4  (Winter 2012):  400 – 414.

“‘You Must Kill Her’:  The Fact and Fantasy of Filicide in ‘Snow White.’ ”  Marvels and Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies.  26.2 (2012):  178 – 203. 

“When Clothes Don’t Make the Man:  Sartorial Style, Conspicuous Consumption and Class Passing in Lothar Meggendorfer’s Scenes in the Life of a Masher.”  Children’s Literature Association Quarterly.  37.1  (Spring 2012):  43 - 65. 

“‘The Queen Had Only One Way of Settling All Difficulties. . . Off With His Head!’:  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandand the Anti-Gallows Movement.”  Papers:  Explorations in Children’s Literature.  21.1  (2011): 33 – 56.

“Constructing Modernist Lesbian Affect from Late-Victorian Masculine Emotionalism:  Willa Cather’s ‘Tommy, the Unsentimental’ and J. M. Barrie’s Sentimental Tommy.” Women’s Writing.  18.4. (Fall 2011):  468 – 465.

“Plastic Makes Perfect:  My Beautiful Mommy, Cosmetic Surgery, and the Medicalization of Motherhood.”  Women’s Studies:  An Interdisciplinary Journal.  39.7 (October/November 2010):  715 – 746.

“From Christian Conversion to Children’s Crusade:  The Left Behind Series for Kids and the Changing Nature of Evangelical Juvenile Fiction.”  Jeunesse:  Young People, Texts, Cultures.  2.1  (Summer 2010):  84 – 111.

“Bury My Heart in Recent History:  Mark Twain’s ‘Hellfire Hotchkiss,’ the Massacre at Wounded Knee, and the Dime Western Formula.”  American Literary Realism.  42.2  (Winter 2010):  114 – 128.

“Taking Silliness Seriously: Jim Henson’s The Muppet Show, the Anglo-American Tradition of Nonsense, and Cultural Critique.”  The Journal of Popular Culture.  42.4 (August 2009):  589 – 613. 

“The Politics of Prophecy:  The U.S. Culture Wars and the Battle Over Public Education in the Left Behind Series for Kids.”  International Research in Children’s Literature (IRCL).  2.1  (July 2009): 1- 20.

“One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State:  Bringing Partisan Politics to Picturebooks in Katharine DeBrecht’s Help! Mom! Series.”  The Lion and the Unicorn.  33.1  (January 2009):  77 - 103.

“Becoming a ‘Red-Blooded’ American:  White Tomboyism and American Indian Tribalism in Caddie Woodlawn.”  Mosaic:  A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature.  41.4  (December 2008):  143 – 159.

 “Trans/Forming Girlhood:  Transgenderism, the Tomboy Formula, and Gender Identity Disorder in Sharon Dennis Wyeth’s Tomboy Trouble.”  The Lion and the Unicorn.  32.1 (January 2008):  40 – 60.

“From Cold War Lesbian Pulp to Contemporary YA Novels:  Vin Packer’s Spring Fire, M. E. Kerr’s Deliver Us from Evie, and Marijane Meaker’s Fight against Fifties Homophobia.”  Children’s Literature Association Quarterly.  32.3  (Fall 2007):  231 – 251.

“The ‘Possessed’ Reassessed:  Elizabeth Stoddard’s The Morgesons, the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria and Literary (Anti)Nationalism.”  ATQ:  American Transcendental Quarterly. 21.1  (March 2007):  47 - 65.

“Topsy and Topsy-Turvy Jo:  Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and/in Louisa May Alcott’s Little WomenChildren’s Literature.  Vol. 34.  Special issue on Louisa May Alcott. Guest edited by Anne K. Philips and Christine Doyle.  (2006):  59 - 82.

“Launching a Gender B(l)acklash:  E. D. E. N. Southworth and the Emergence of (Racialized) White Tomboyism.”  Children’s Literature Association Quarterly.  31.1 (Spring 2006): 40 - 64.

“Oversight as Insight:  Reading the Second Shepherds’ Play as the Second Shepherd’s Play.”  Early Theatre.  8.1 (2005):  95 - 108. 

“Reading Red:  The Man with the (Gay) Red Tie in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury.The Mississippi Quarterly.  54.3  (Summer 2001):  293 – 312.

  • Reprinted in Bloom’s Modern Critical InterpretationsWilliam Faulkner’s The Sounds and the Fury, Edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Infobase, 2008.  181 – 196. 

Chapters in Peer-Reviewed Books:

“ ‘Mischief of One Kind and Another’:  Nostalgia in Where the Wild Things Are as Text and Film.”  Portrayals of Children in Popular Culture: Fleeting Images.  Eds. Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic and Debbie T. Olson.  Lanham, Maryland:  Lexington/Rowan & Littlefield Press, 2013. 139 – 152.

“ ‘An Axe in the Hands of a Burly Negro Cleft the Captain from Forehead to Chin’: Tarzan of the Apes and the American Urban Jungle.”  Global Perspectives on Tarzan:  From King of the Jungle to International Icon.  Co-edited with Annette Wannamaker.  Routledge, 2012:  13 – 27. 

“When Girls Will Be Bois: Female Masculinity, Genderqueer Identity, and Millennial LGBTQ Culture.”  Mediated Boyhood: Boys, Teens, and Tweens in Popular Media and Culture.  Ed. Annette Wannamaker.  Peter Lang, 2010. 15 – 35. 

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229A Ramseyer Hall