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Dr. Vivian Yenika-Agbaw

Dr. Vivian Yenika-Agbaw
Phone: 8148638921
Office Address:
265 Chambers Bldg
University Park, PA 16802
Campus: University Park


Professor of Education (Language & Literacy)


Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum and Instruction: English Language Arts Education
Children's Literature


Vivian Yenika-Agbaw is Professor of literature and literacy in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, where she teaches courses in children’s & adolescent literature in both the residential and World Campus programs.  She previously held tenure-line faculty positions at Clarion University (department of education), and Bloomsburg University (department of English) where she was also professor of English Education, taught literature and composition courses, and coordinated the secondary English program. 

Her research and scholarship centers on children’s and young adult literature/texts and is informed by theories of critical multiculturalism, postcolonialism, and reader response.  She publishes and presents primarily on topics related to social justice and the representation of populations that have been historically marginalized and under-represented in children’s texts and culture (with particular concern toward race, class, gender, and disabilities).  Her work has appeared in several peer refereed journals including Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, Sankofa:  Journal of African Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Bookbird:  A Journal of International Children’s Literature, English Journal, Language Arts, and Research in the Teaching of English.  She is the author and/or co-editor of numerous books including Does Nonfiction Equate Truth?: Rethinking Disciplinary Boundaries through Critical Literacy, with Laura Anne Hudock & Ruth McKoy Lowery (Rowman and Littlefield); African Youth in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture:  Identity Quest, with Lindah Mhando (Routledge); Representing Africa in Children's Literature: Old and New Ways of Seeing (Routledge), and has reviewed manuscripts for Children’s Literature, Children's Literature in Education, Children's Literature Association Quarterly, The Lion and the Unicorn, Marvels and Tales:  Journal of Fairy Tale Studies, Pedagogy, Culture and Society, and the Journal of Negro Education.   Additionally, she has served, or is currently serving on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, the Journal of Children's Literature, and Language Arts.  She was elected to the International Research Society for Children's Literature Board (IRSCL) to serve: 2017-2019). A former high school teacher of English, she is passionate about literature, literacy, learning and how these intersect with culture!

Areas of Expertise

Age Levels


Curriculum Areas

Children's Literature
Language/Literacy Ed

Education Levels

Middle School/Junior High
Secondary/High School

Educational Studies

Cultural Studies


Equity and Diversity

Methodological Research

Qualitative Research

Social Issues

Race and Ethnicity
Social Issues

Teacher Preparation

In-service Teachers
Pre-service Teachers

Education History

The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, University of Connecticut, Storrs, University of Yaounde, Cameroon

Representative Publications

Yenika-Agbaw, V.  (Dec. 2018).  Decolonizing the Curriculum:  African Fairy Tales and Literacy".  In Andrew Teverson (Ed.) The Fairy Tale World.  New York: Routledge.

Yenika-Agbaw, V., Hudock, L. & Lowery, R. (2018) (Eds.).  Does Nonfiction Equate Truth?:  Rethinking Disciplinary Boundaries through Critical Literacy.  Lanham, MD:  Rowman and Littlefield.

Yenika-Agbaw, V., Lowery, R., & Ricks, P. (2018) (Eds.).   Using Nonfiction for Civic Engagement in Classrooms:  Critical Approaches.  Lanham, MD:  Rowman and Littlefield.

Yenika-Agbaw, V., Lowery, R., Hudock, L. & Ricks, P. (2018) (Eds.).  Exploring Nonfiction Literacies:  Innovative Practices in Classrooms. Lanham, MD:  Rowman and Littlefield.

Yenika-Agbaw, V. (2018).  “From Orality to Print:  Constructions of Nso Identity in Folk Tales.” In Stephens, J., Curry, A., Lifang, L. & Motawy, Y (Eds.).   The Routledge Companion to International Children’s Literature.  New York:  Routledge. (pp.)

Yenika-Agbaw, V. (2017).  "Re-Imagining an Alternative Life after the Darfur War:  Writing as Emancipatory Practice". In Johnson, H., Mathis, J., Short, K. (Eds.) Critical Content Analysis of Children's and Young Adult Literature.  (pp. 106-121).  New York:  Routledge.

Yenika-Agbaw, V.  (2016).  "Textbook, Literacy, and Citizenship:  The Case of Anglophone Cameroon".  Research in the Teaching of English. 50 (4): 378-399.

Yenika-Agbaw, V. & Mhando, Lindah (2014).  “African Youth:  Cultural Identity in Literature, Media and Imagined Spaces.”  In Yenika-Agbaw, V. & Lindah Mhando (Eds.)  African Youth in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture:  Identity Quest.  New York, NY:  Routledge.  (pp.1-16).

Yenika-Agbaw, V.  (2013).  "Black Cinderella:  Multicultural Literature and School Curriculum.”  Pedagogy, Culture, and Society.   21(3), 1-19.

Yenika-Agbaw, V.  (2011).  “Reading Disability in Children’s Literature:  Hans Christian Andersen’s Tales.”  Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies5(1), 91-108.

Yenika-Agbaw, V. with Richard Beach, Patricia Enciso, Jerome Harste, Christine Jenkins, Rebecca Rogers, Seemi Raina, Kathy Short, Yoo-Kyung Sung, Melissa Wilson (2009).  “Exploring the ‘Critical’ in Critical Content Analysis.”   In Leander, K, Rowe, D., Dickinson, D., Hundley, M., Jimenez, R., & Risko, V.  58th Yearbook of the National Reading Council.  Oak Creek, WI: National Reading Conference. (pp. 129-142). 

Yenika-Agbaw, V. (2008/11).  Representing Africa in Children's Literature:  Old and New Ways of Seeing.  New York:  Routledge.

Yenika-Agbaw, V.  (2006). “Taking Children’s Literature Seriously:  Reading for Pleasure and Social Change.” In Peter Hunt (Ed.)  Children’s Literature:  Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies.  Volume 2.  Routledge:  London & New York. *Reprinted

Yenika-Agbaw, V.   (1998).   "Images of West Africa in Children's Books:  Replacing old stereotypes with new ones?"   The New Advocate.   11(3),  203-218.  (Reprinted four times)*

Activities and Honors

Special Recognition CABA Committee Dinner, 25th Children's Africana Book Award (CABA) Festival, 2017.

Elected to the International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL) Board, to serve 2017-2019

Appointed to the NCTE Books Publication Committee, to serve 2017-2020.

Nominated to the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY), and served 2012-2014.

Educational Testing Services (ETS) Visiting Scholar Honorarium, Summer 2004.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Grant, 2003

English Association of Pennsylvania State Universities (EAPSU):  Certificate of Appreciation for Service to the Undergraduate English Majors Conference, Bloomsburg University, 2003.

Dean's Salute to Excellence, Bloomsburg University, 2002

Excellence in Teaching, Lycee de Biyem-Assi, Yaounde, Cameroon, 1991