2-4 | Editor's Note

Editor's Note

Welcome to the American Journal of Play special issue on children's literature and play, another in our series of theme issues that will appear from time to time. Each focuses on an important topic in the fast-developing study of play. Each is guest edited by a distinguished expert on the topic. And each includes work by the leading researchers and thinkers on the topic. Guest-editor Mark I. West—president of the Children's Literature Association—has assembled this issue, which begins with an interview of John Morgenstern, author of Playing with Books: A Study of the Reader as Child. Anne K. Phillips discusses the implications of play in Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women. Jan Susina reviews Lewis Carroll's use of games and other forms of heady play in Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Our guest editor explores the lingering impact of imaginative play in Mark Twain's novels and Walt Disney's theme parks, especially when it involves pirates. Elizabeth Gargano uses Eleanor Estes's novel The Witch Family to consider the nature of fantasy play. And Christiane Bongartz and Esther Gilman Richey employ theories of generative grammar to help explain the extensive play in Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Together these make a case for reading (and by extension, writing) as a form of play, something that is both its own reward and a necessity for a healthy childhood.