Linda Parsons

Associate Professor, Marion Academic Instruction

Program Areas:

  • Reading and Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood Education
  • Literature for Children and Young Adults

(740) 725-6297

Personal Website


Linda T. Parsons is an Associate Professor at The Ohio State University at Marion where she specializes in middle childhood literacy and young adult literature.

Her research interests comprise two intersecting strands. One strand documents the personal styles, orientations, and stances that shape engagement with text and the reader’s ability to construct meaning. This research recognizes how unpredictable, complex, and powerful the act of reading may be. The second strand focuses on the analysis of children’s and young adult literature. Beyond providing pleasure, literature conveys cultural values and assumptions, so analyzing it as both a construction of and a purveyor of the culture in which it is situated is a politically charged act.

Through her research, she seeks to make visible the complexity of engaged reading, to examine readers’ responses to texts that challenge cultural norms, to examine literary constructions of reality and their relationship to lived realities, and to consider literature’s potential to deconstruct binary thinking.

Parsons is an active member of the American Library Association, the International Literacy Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the United States Board on Books for Youth.


  • PhD, Education, The Ohio State University
  • MEd, Curriculum and Instruction, Ashland University
  • BS, Elementary Education, Miami University

Research Interests


Selected Professional Service

  • Outstanding Books for People with Disabilities Committee (USBBY)
  • The Amelia Bloomer Project Committee (ALA)
  • SIGNAL Board, Director, Treasurer, Secretary (ILA)
  • Standing Committee Against Censorship (NCTE)
  • Legislation Committees (ALSC and YALSA)
  • Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children’s Video Committee (ALA)

Selected Publications

Chapters in Edited Books

  • Parsons, L. T. (2016).  Fat female protagonists in young adult literature and in the classroom: Constructing and contesting the female body. In J. A. Hayn, J. S. Kaplan, & K. R. Clemmons, (Eds). Teaching young adult literature today: Insights, considerations, and perspectives for the classroom teacher (2nd Ed.) (pp. 191-207) Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Parsons, L. T., & Bandré, P. E. (2016). Knowing readers and knowing books: Using text complexity measures to select texts and motivate adolescent readers. In J. A. Hayn & A. L. Nolen (Eds.), Teaching young adult literature: Integrating, implementing and re-imagining the common core (pp. 35 – 50).Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 
  • Parsons, L. T., & Rietschlin, A. (2014). The emigrant, immigrant, and trafficked experiences of adolescents: Young adult literature as window and mirror. In C. Hill (Ed.), The critical merits of young adult literature: Coming of age (pp. 130-156). New York: Routledge.
  • Parsons, L. T., & Hundley, M. T. (2012). Reading with blurred boundaries: The influence of digital and visual culture on young adult novels. In J. A. Hayn & J. Kaplan (Eds.), Adolescent literature today: Insights, considerations, and perspectives for the classroom teacher (pp. 241-256). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 
  • Parsons, L. T., & Castleman, M. (2011). Daring to dream: Characters in Coretta Scott King author award-winning books and their pursuits of the American dream. In V. Yanika-Agbaw & M. Napoli (Eds.), African and African American children’s and adolescent literature in the classroom: A critical guide (pp. 122-138). New York: Peter Lang.
  • Lindsay, T. P., & Parsons, L. T. (2010). Messages protagonists send us: Families in young adult literature. In M. M. Marsh & T. Turner-Vorbeck (Eds.), (Mis)Understanding families: Learning from real families in our schools (pp. 53-78). New York: Teachers College Press. 

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Parsons, L. T. (2016). Storytelling in global children’s literature: Its role in the lives of displaced child characters. Journal of Children’s Literature, 42(2), 19-27.
  • Parsons, L. T. (2016). The (re)presentation of fat female protagonists and food addiction in young adult literature. Study & Scrutiny: Research on Young Adult Literature, 1(2), 1-30.
  • Parsons, L. T. (2015). Learning from preservice teachers’ responses to trans-themed young adult literature: Improving personal practice in teacher education. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2015.1084105.
  • Parsons, L. T. (2013). An examination of fourth graders’ aesthetic engagement with literary characters. Reading Psychology, 37(1).
  • Parsons, L. T. (2012). Advocating for LGBT teens through literature: Preservice teachers respond to Luna. SIGNAL, 35(1), 7-13.
  • Parsons, L. T., & Castleman, M. (2011). “I have a dream, too!”: The American dreams of Coretta Scott King Award characters. Journal of Children’s Literature, 37(1), 6-18.
  • Parsons, L. T. (2009). Readers researching their reading: Creating a community of inquiry, Language Arts, 86(4), 257-267.
  • Parsons, L. T., & Colabucci, L. (2008). To be a writer: Representations of writers in recent children’s novels. Reading Teacher, 62(1), 44-52.
  • Parsons, L. T. (2006). Visualizing worlds from words on a page. Language Arts, 83(6), 492-500.
  • Parsons, L. T. (2004). Ella evolving: Cinderella stories and the construction of gender-appropriate behavior. Children’s Literature in Education, 35(2), 135-154.
  • Parsons, L. T. (2003). Zeely: A “foremother” of the feminist children’s novel. The New Advocate, 16(2), 149-160.
  • Parsons, L. T. (2002). ‘Otherways’ into the garden: Re-visioning the feminine in The Secret Garden. Children’s Literature in Education, 33(4), 247-268.

Selected Presentations

  • Liang, L. A., Parsons, L. T., & Crisp, T. (November, 2016). CLA Master Class: Diverse children’s literature at the university. Speakers: Lehman, B., Freeman, E., de la Peña, M., Gephart, D., & Myers, C. NCTE: Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Parsons, L. T. (Oct. 18, 2016). The worlds of childhood and children’s literature. General lecture, Sanata Dharma Universitas, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. 
  • Parsons, L. T. (Oct. 20, 2016). The #Weneeddiversebooks movement: What it is and why it matters. Plenary address, Literary Studies Conference: Children’s literature in Southeast Asia, Sanata Dharma Universitas, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
  • Hayn, J., Parsons, L. T., Warner, J (November, 2014). YA Literature as the Landscape of Knowing LGBT: Action Research Projects. NCTE: Washington, D.C.
  • Hayn, J., & Parsons, L. T. (May, 2014). Teachable Moments: The Impact of LBGTQ Young Adult Literature. IRA: New Orleans, Louisana.
  • Barger, B. P., Drewry, R., Fresch, M. J., Harrison, D., Optiz, M., Patrick, L., & Parsons, L. T. (November, 2013). “Let the words rain down:” Innovative approaches to vocabulary instruction. NCTE: Boston, MA.
  • Hayn, J., Parsons, L. T., Sumara, D., & Warner, J. (May, 2013). Toward the inclusive curriculum: Exploring LGBTQ-inclusive young adult literature. IRA: San Antonio, Texas.
  • Bandre, P. E., Colabucci, L., Foote, D., & Parsons, L. T. (May, 2012). Bringing Coretta Scott King award-winning books into the classroom: Teaching theme, character, and setting with the best African-American children’s literature. International Reading Association: Chicago, IL.
  • Colabucci, L., Lindsey, T. P., Parsons, L. T., & Shettel, J. (November, 2010). Out of the closet and into the classroom: Transgender characters in young adult fiction. National Council of Teachers of English: Orlando, FL.
  • Decker, T., Holm, J. L., Holm, M., & Parsons, L. T. (November, 2009). From picture to panel: CLA master class on multimodal children’s literature. National Council of Teachers of English: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Bandre, P. E., Parsons, L. T., & Son, E. H. (November, 2008). Character shifts and cultural influences: Shifting families in CSK award winning books. National Council of Teachers of English: San Antonio, Texas.
  • Parsons, L. T. & Hill, J. (October, 2008). Hugo, Fanboy, and Persepolis: New dimensions in children’s literature. Thomas R. Watson Conference: Louisville, Kentucky.