While children's and young adult fantasy literature is often concerned with "first things," with the struggle between good and evil, or with the fate of the cosmos, still it is rarely overtly religious in the sense of direct engagement with "faith, religion and church(es)" (Ghesquiere 307). Perhaps it is children's literature's vexed relationship with didacticism that keeps fantasy writers for children from engaging directly with religious language and concepts, or perhaps it is the setting in an alternate world that enables allegorizing impulse rather than direct engagement. In either case, despite a tradition of fables, parables, and allegorical treatments of Christianity that ranges from George MacDonald and Charles Kingsley through C.S. Lewis to Madeleine L'Engle, children's fantasy has typically cloaked its religious allegiances.

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Copyright © 2011 Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Children's Literature Association Quarterly 36:3 (2011), 276-295.

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