The Experiences of Two Migrant Readers: Freedom, Restriction, and the Navigation of Adolescent Space

  • Erin Spring
Keywords: place, identity, reader response, mobility, migration, home


This article focuses on the experiences of Irina and Chloe, two adolescents who had recently migrated to Toronto at the time of the study in which they participated. Through reading discussion groups and semi-structured interviews, Irina and Chloe conceptualized place and identity within and beyond two contemporary young adult texts: Tim Wynne-Jones’s Blink and Caution and Clare Vanderpool’s Moon Over Manifest. Drawing on children’s literature criticism and cultural geography theory, I interpret the ways in which Chloe’s and Irina’s identities have been informed by migration as well as the ways in which mobility has shaped and constrained their familial and social relations. Through discourse analysis, I illustrate the ways in which place has informed their emerging adolescent identities. I offer a critical description of the moment in time when these texts, these readers, and I met as part of a reading transaction within a particular time and space.


DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2016.0010

Author Biography

Erin Spring

Erin Spring is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Child and Youth Studies at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. Her postdoctoral project was awarded the Frances E. Russell grant through IBBY Canada. In 2014, she completed her Ph.D. in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. Her dissertation, on which this article is drawn, was awarded the United Kingdom Literacy Association’s Student Research Prize in 2014 for its contribution to literacy research. She has published articles and chapters on the intersections between place and identity construction in the lives of adolescent readers, most recently in the journal Children’s Geographies and in the collection Identities and Subjectivities (2016), part of the Geographies of Children and Young People series published by Springer.

How to Cite
Spring, E. (2016). The Experiences of Two Migrant Readers: Freedom, Restriction, and the Navigation of Adolescent Space. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 8(1). Retrieved from
Articles for Special Issue on Mobility