Pedagogical Encounters with <em>Inanimate Alice</em>: Digital Mobility, Transmedia Storytelling, and Transnational Experiences

  • Cheryl Cowdy
Keywords: digital narratives, transmedia storytelling, mobility, transnational children and youth, animated learning


Inanimate Alice (IA) is a digital novel that employs strategies of transmedia and game-based storytelling in order to appeal to the “born-digital” generation. Using a simple episodic narrative structure, IA moves readers around the globe as Alice travels to various locations and homes in different national contexts. Thematically, the narrative both allays and raises anxieties about children’s experiences of mobility and migration. Incorporating literary and cultural analysis with multimethod qualitative research, this article investigates the ways in which children’s understandings of their practices of mobility are shaped by transmediation and their reading experiences of IA. It also considers how adults and young people might work together in their encounters with such texts to create “animated learning” scenarios that privilege what I call alternative pedagogies of mobility, in which adult-child hierarchies are disrupted and physical and virtual movements are considered essential to experiential, reflective learning.


DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2016.0007

Author Biography

Cheryl Cowdy

Cheryl Cowdy is the coordinator of the Children’s Studies program and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities at York University. She specializes in the intersections between children’s literature and childhood and youth studies, with a particular focus on Canadian young adult literature and digital culture. She has published articles in Global Studies of Childhood, Jeunesse, Bookbird, and Studies in Canadian Literature / Études en littérature canadienne. She is currently working on a book project that explores issues of mobility and the sensorial and affective implications of digital and transmedia narratives as they engage adolescent readers.

How to Cite
Cowdy, C. (2016). Pedagogical Encounters with <em>Inanimate Alice</em&gt;: Digital Mobility, Transmedia Storytelling, and Transnational Experiences. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 8(1). Retrieved from
Articles for Special Issue on Mobility