There are a small number of books and articles to support using picturebooks and stories in language education. A list of references follows with a short summary of content. Some publications are open access, some are not not.


Children’s Literature in English Language Education is a bi-annual, comprehensively peer-reviewed online journal for scholars, teacher educators and practitioners involved in using and researching children’s literature in the field of English learning as a second, additional or foreign language. The journal investigates children’s literature as an art form, and as a framework with which to connect L2 literature teaching across the school years. The scope covers the affordances of children’s literature for L2 acquisition with pre-school infants through to young adults.

Nordic Journal of ChildLit Aesthetics


Children’s Literature Association Quarterly

In German: interjuli


AHLQUIST, Sharon and LUGOSSY, Réka (2015) Stories and Storyline (Teaching English to Young Learners). Hong Kong: Candlin & Mynard ePublishing: This is about different kinds of stories (not just picturebooks), used in a variety of ways, with a common purpose: to develop the communicative language skills of young learners of English

BIRKETVEIT, Anna and WILLIAMS, Gweno (eds.) (2013), Literature for the English Classroom, Bergen: Fagbokforlaget`: This edited volume brings together enthusiastic scholars from Norway and the UK to provide a bridge between English language literature and teaching English as a foreign language. It has a useful chapter on picturebooks by Anna Birketveit.

BLAND, Janice (2013), Children’s Literature and Learner Empowerment, London: Bloomsbury Academic : This monograph provides a comprehensive introduction to children’s and young adult literature in EFL teaching. It demonstrates the complexity of children’s literature and how it can encourage an active community of second language readers: with multilayered picturebooks, fairy tales, graphic novels and radical young adult fiction. The first two chapters are about using picturebooks.

BLAND, Janice (2018) Using Literature in English Language Education. London: Bloomsbury Academic: This edited volume covers a range of children’s and young adult literature, contributors to this volume consider how literature can be used for teaching literary literacy, creative writing, intercultural learning, critical pedagogy and deep reading in school settings where English is the teaching medium. There are a couple fo chapters that refer to picturebooks.

BLAND, Janice and LÜTGE, Christiane (eds), (2013), Children’s Literature in Second Language Education, London: Bloomsbury Academic: This edited volume brings scholars and teacher educators from across the world to share research and new perspectives into the uses of children’s literature in second language teaching for children and young adults. It includes several chapters that focus on picturebooks.

GHOSN, Irma-Kaarina (2013), Storybridge to Second Language Literacy. The Theory, Research and Practice of Teaching English with Children’s Literature, Charlotte, NY: Information Age Publishing: This monograph makes a very solid case for using picturebooks as a medium of instruction in teaching English to young learners, particularly in contexts where children must access general curriculum subjects in English.It shares a life-times’ experience of using story in language education.


ELLIS, Gail (2016), Promoting ‘Learning’ Literacy through Picturebooks: Learning How to Learn. Children’s Literature in English Language Education, 4(2). 27-40: An article which discusses how teachers can develop autonomous language learners while planning for activities using The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown and Leonard Weisgard.

ELLIS, Gail (2019), Social Model Thinking about Disability through Picturebooks in Primary English, Children’s Literature in English Language Education, 7(2). 61-78: This paper identifies two types of literature, inclusion and immersive, that provide different representations of disability, as depicted in Susan Laughs (Willis & Ross, 1999) and Amazing(Antony, 2019a). 

ELLISON, Maria (2010), Make them think! Using literature in the primary English language classroom to develop critical thinking skills. E-F@bulations: This is a useful article which looks at developing critical thinking skills through the picturebook The tiger who came to tea by Judith Kerr

GHOSN, Irma-Karina (2002), Four good reasons to use literature in primary school ELT’, ELT Journal, 56:2, 172–79: This is one of the first published articles to discuss picturebooks in foreign language education through a more academic lens and gives picturebooks a grandeur, thus far un-recognized. Irma Ghosn accentuates the value of the picturebook in developing academic literacy, thinking skills and as a change agent and champions the picturebook as a tool for preparing children for English medium schooling.

HSIU-CHIH, Sheu. (2008). The value of English picture story books. ELT Journal, 62(1), 47-55: This article presents a study investigating EFL teachers’ views on the educational values of English picturebooks in Taiwan. The results suggest three main educational values perceived by the teachers: (1) linguistic value, (2) the value of the story, and (3) the value of the picture.

LINSE, Caroline, T. (2007), Predictable books in the children’s ELT classroom’, ELT Journal, 61: 1, 46–57: This is a useful article, which outlines how predictable picturebooks (which contain a word or sentence pattern that is repeated often enough to enable children to begin to join in the reading) can support language acquisition in while enjoying a picturebook story.

LUGOSSY, Réka (2012), Constructing meaning in interaction through picture books. C.E.P.S Journal, 2: 3, 97–117. This article describes and analyses spontaneous comments made by children during picturebook read alouds in EFL sessions. It also discusses teachers’ responses to learners’ comments, and considers reasons teachers may choose to ignore children’s talk in their first language.

MOURÂO, Sandie (2016). Picturebooks in the primary EFL classroom: authentic literature for an authentic responseChildren’s Literature in English Language Education Journal, Vol 4(1) 2016 pp. 25-43: This is an article which provides a grounded theory to support teachers in understanding how children respond to picturebook readlouds in early years and primary classrooms.

MOURÃO, Sandie (2015). Fostering affective responses to picturebooks in the young learner classroom. Humanising Language Teaching, August 2015: This is an article that suggests several practical activities to use three picturebooks to develop empathy in the primary English classroom.