College of Education and Human Development

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Marek Oziewicz

  • Pronouns: he, him, his

  • Department Chair, Director of the Center for Climate Literacy, Sidney and Marguerite Henry Professor of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Professor of Literacy Education

  • Curriculum and Instruction
    125 Peik Hall
    159 Pillsbury Drive SE
    Minneapolis, MN 55455

Marek Oziewicz

Areas of interest

Cultural work of story systems; transformative power of literature for the young reader; speculative fiction, especially fantasy; global and multicultural books; literature-based cognitive modeling for climate literacy, justice literacy, and global citizenship. 


Growing up in Communist Poland, I experienced the power of children’s literature to inspire visions of change, resilience in the face of oppression, and belief that a more just world is possible. This discovery drew me to comparative literature and the exploration of the cultural work of story systems. My particular interest is in how literatures for young people reflect, challenge, push against, and impact larger cultural trends. I study about how stories shape the way we think and live.


All of my work is about how literature empowers young people to reach their full potential so that they can respond to the challenges of the contemporary world in a holistic and ethical way. I study the transformative work of stories for young audiences, especially literature and media used in educational contexts. Stories are humanity’s oldest technology for social transformation. Stories is how we learn, how we know, and how we care. Any progressive change must first be imagined as a story: stories become dreams, which become work, which becomes reality. Being an environmental humanities scholar, I draw on cognitive literary studies, ecocriticism, literary criticism, psychology, linguistics, education, and other fields that shed light on processes that shape human understanding and actions. I believe that our greatest challenge today is a transition to an ecological civilization and I explore how literature helps nourish universal climate literacy. I’m proud to serve as the Director of the Center for Climate Literacy, whose mission is to transform education into an engine of a just, green transformation. I study how narratives assist young readers in the formation of global consciousness built on inclusiveness and equality. I advocate for narrative fiction as a tool for developing climate and justice literacy adequate to the current challenges. I also study global and multicultural literature as sites where we learn to appreciate difference and value diversity.


My research, service, and engagement inform the courses I teach. Through hands-on projects I help students learn about the complex cultural work of stories on individual and collective levels: how the narratives we accept or challenge transform communities, societies, as well as individuals’ hearts and minds.  


I welcome graduate students who are interested in:

  • The cultural and work of children’s and young adult literature 

  • Strategies for building young people’s climate and justice literacies

  • Equity- and inclusion-oriented educational uses of global, diverse, and multicultural literatures for young people

  • Exploring Indigenous, feminist, and non-Western knowledge and story systems in young people’s literature and media


Please note that not all of these courses are offered each semester.

CI 1904 “Picturebooks and Graphic Novels” A freshman seminar about these two formats as crucial to the development of young people’s visual literacy. What is so appealing in the combination of visual and textual storytelling, and what is the role of picturebooks and graphic novels in young people’s lives?

CI 1908W “Children and Other Talking Animals” A freshman seminar about animal tales in children’s literature as reflecting humanity’s never entirely suppressed memory of our kinship with animals. Why is the bulk of animal tales to be found in children’s literature?

CI 3401W “Diversity in Children’s Literature” An introductory course about the diversity of genres and forms of children’s literature as well as the diversity of voices and perspectives it embraces.

HSem 2325H “Fantasy: A Ghastly Wicked Introduction” An honors seminar about how fantasy literature draws the young audience into the realms of wonder and mystery, empowering them to create visions that will change the future. Students are tortured with novels, graphic novels, and films until they discover their own special powers.

CI 5402 “Introduction to Special Collections: the Kerlan” A semester-long investigation that allows you to engage in research and develop your own project based on primary sources housed in the Kerlan: the world’s largest special collection of archival materials in the field of children’s and young adult literature.

CI 5404 “Multicultural Literature for Children and Adolescents” An exploration of contemporary multicultural literature as a site where difference can be emphasized and appreciated rather than downplayed or muted. We study award-winning works of fiction and arrive at a definition of multicultural literature for the modern classroom.

CI 5442 “Adolescent Literature, Youth Activism, and Climate Change Literacy” A course about how adolescent literature engages with the developmental and identity needs of a generation whose lives are framed by anthropogenic climate change, biodiversity loss, pandemics, and other forms of slow violence inherent in the unsustainable carbon-intensive civilization. How can stories be part of young people’s fight for a sustainable future? What literature can mobilize youth activism against ecocide? Why is climate change literacy a fundamental right for adolescents today?

CI 8416 “Speculative Fiction, Radical Imagination, and Social Change.” A discussion seminar about how speculative fiction for the young reader serves as a catalyst for radical imagination that creates visions of social change. Why are we drawn to stories that interrogate dominant notions of reality and structures of meaning? How do these stories create activist sites of resistance against exclusion, systemic inequalities, and environmental degradation?


Oziewicz, M. and Attebery, B. (forthcoming). “Richer, Deeper, and More Diverse: Fantasy for Children and Youth (1914-2024).” In Giddens, E. and Jaques, Z. (Eds). The Cambridge History of Children’s Literature in English. Cambridge UP. Pages TBA. 

Oziewicz, M. (2024). “Survival of the Richest? Exploring Climate Justice and Wealth Inequality with Geoff Rodkey’s We’re Not from Here.” ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, DOI: 10.1093/isle/isae025. Pages TBA.

Oziewicz, M. (2024). “The Climate Literacy Revolution.” The Ecological Citizen 7.1. 16-23.

Oziewicz, M. (2024). “Beyond the Accountability Paradox: Climate Guilt and the Systemic Drivers of Climate Change.” In Atkinson, J. and Ray S.J. (Eds.). The Existential Toolkit for Climate Justice Educators. U of California Press. 210-217. 

Oziewicz, M. (2024). “Transformations of Wonder in the BBC Series Detectorists.” In Greenhill, P. and Orme, J. (Eds.). Just Wonder: Shifting Perspectives in Tradition. The UP of Colorado. 40-58.

Oziewicz, M. and Kleese, N. (2024). “Teaching with the Climate Literacy Capabilities and Knowledges (CLiCK) Framework: Tips for Classroom Practice.” In Beach, R., Share, J., & Webb, A., (Eds.). Empowering Youth to Confront the Climate Crisis in English Language Arts. Teachers College Press and the National Writing Project. Pages TBA.

Oziewicz, M., et al. (2023). Introduction: Climate Literacy as Resistance, Hope, ActivismClimate Literacy in Education 1.1: 1-3. DOI: 

Oziewicz, M. (2023). What Is Climate Literacy? Climate Literacy in Education 1.1: 34-38. DOI: 

Oziewicz, M. (2023). The CLICK FrameworkClimate Literacy in Education 1.2: 44-50. DOI: 

Oziewicz, M. and Kleese, N. (2023). “Introduction: Climate Literacy Work After COP28.” Climate Literacy in Education 1.2: 1-6. DOI: 

Oziewicz, M. and Spicer, S. (2023). “We Are Nature Defending Itself: Universal Climate Literacy DIY with Youth Media Productions and Engagement.” In Beach, R. and Smith, B. Youth Created Media on the Climate Crisis. Routledge. 18-36.

Oziewicz, M. (2022). “Introduction: The Choice We Have in the Stories We Tell.” In Oziewicz, M., Attebery, B., and Dědinová, T. (Eds.). Fantasy and Myth in the Anthropocene: Imagining Futures and Dreaming Hope in Literature and Media. Bloomsbury Academic. 1-11.

Oziewicz, M. (2022). “Fantasy for the Anthropocene: On the Ecocidal Unconscious, Planetarianism, and Imagination of Biocentric Futures.” In Oziewicz, M., Attebery, B., and Dědinová, T. (Eds.). Fantasy and Myth in the Anthropocene: Imagining Futures and Dreaming Hope in Literature and Media. Bloomsbury Academic. 58-69.  

Oziewicz, M. (2022). Why Children’s Stories Are a Powerful Tool to Fight Climate ChangeYes! Magazine. Jan 14, 2022. 

Oziewicz, M. (2022). “ ‘It wasn’t us!’: Teaching about Ecocide and the Systemic Causes of Climate Change.” In Young, R. (Ed.). Literature as a Lens for Climate Change: Using Narratives to Prepare the Next GenerationRowland and Littlefield. 19-51.

Oziewicz, M. (2022). “Planetarianism NOW: On Anticipatory Imagination, Young People’s Literature, and Hope for the Planet.” In Paulsen, M., Jagodzinski, J. and Hawke, S.M. (Eds.). Pedagogy in the Anthropocene: Re-Wilding Education for a New Earth. Palgrave241-56. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-90980-2

Oziewicz, M. and Saguisag, L. Eds. (2021). Children’s Literature and Climate Change. A special issue of The Lion and the Unicorn. 45.2. doi:10.1353/uni.2021.0011

Oziewicz, M. (2021). “Imagined Genocides, Multidirectional Memory, and Intergenerational Solidarity in Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine Trilogy.” In Deszcz-Tryhubczak J. and Jacques, Z. (Eds.). Intergenerational Solidarity in Children’s Literature and Film. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi. 130-143.

Oziewicz, M. (2021). “From the Pedagogy of Fear to the Pedagogy of Empowerment: Re-Imagining Moral Agency in Children’s Literature.” In Dybiec-Gajer, J., and Gicala, A. (Eds.). Mediating Practices in Translating Children’s Literature and Beyond. Peter Lang. 35-50.

Oziewicz, M. (2019). “Truth-Telling, Trauma Fiction, and the Challenge of Critical Engagement A Reading of Breaking Stalin’s Nose and A Winter’s Day in 1939.” Children's Literature in Education 44.4, pp. 1-15.  DOI: 10.1007/s10583-019-09396-3.

Oziewicz, M. (2018). “The Graphic Novel: Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo CabretWonderstruck, and The Marvels.” In Bland, J. (Ed.). Using Literature in English Language Education: Challenging Reading for 8-18 Year Olds. London, UK: Bloomsbury. 19-38.

Oziewicz, M. (2017). “Speculative Fiction.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature. Web. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190201098.013.78. 

Oziewicz, M. (2016). “Bloodlands Fiction: Cultural Trauma Politics and the Memory of Soviet Atrocities in Breaking Stalin’s NoseA Winter’s Day in 1939 and Between Shades of Gray.” International Research in Children’s Literature 9.2, 146-61.

Oziewicz, M. (2016). “Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: A Beautiful Disaster.” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 27.2, 248-69.

Farmer, N., Oziewicz, M. and Midkiff, E. (2016). “The Handling of Power: Nancy and Harold Farmer in Conversation with Marek Oziewicz and Emily Midkiff.” The Lion and the Unicorn 40.1, 100-113.

Oziewicz, M. (2015). Justice in Young Adult Speculative Fiction: A Cognitive Reading. New York: Routledge. 

Yang, G.L., Oziewicz, M. and Midkiff, E. (2014). “The Asian Invasion: An Interview with Gene Luen Yang.” The Lion and the Unicorn 38.1, 123-133.

Oziewicz, M. (2013). “Metaphors of Peace in Nancy Farmer’s The Saxon Saga.” Extrapolation 54.3, 243-255.

Oziewicz, M. Hade, D.D. (2013). “Contemporary Fairy Tales and the Decline of Violence: Redefining Tradition, Retaining Relevance.” In K. Urba (Ed.), On Freedom and Control in/of Children’s Literature. Vilnius, LT: Vilnius UP. 

Oziewicz, M. (2013). “Children’s Literature in Eastern Europe: Trends, Themes and Authors since the Sixties.” In G. Grilli (Ed.). Children’s Literature: Fifty Years of Books for Children Around the World. Bologna, IT: Bononia UP: 263-73.

Oziewicz, M.C. (2011). “Christian, Norse and Celtic: Metaphysical Belief Structures in Nancy Farmer’s The Saxon Saga.” Mythlore 30.1/2: 107-21.

Oziewicz, M.C. (2011). “Restorative Justice Scripts in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Voices.” Children’s Literature in Education 42.1: 33-43.

Oziewicz, M.C. (2011). “Dwarf Resistance in Communist Poland: Fantastic-Ridiculous Dwarf Esthetic as Political Subversion in the Orange Alternative Movement and the Movie Kingsize.” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 22.3: 363-376.

Oziewicz, M.C. (2010). “Representations of Eastern Europe in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Jonathan Stroud’s The Bartimaeus Trilogy, and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series.” International Research in Children’s Literature 3.1: 1-14.

Oziewicz, M. and Hade, D.D. (2010). “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell? Philip Pullman, C. S. Lewis, and the Fantasy Tradition.” Mythlore 28.3-4, 39-54.

Oziewicz, M.C. (2009). “ ‘We cooperate, or we die’: Sustainable Coexistence in Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents.” Children’s Literature in Education 40.2: 85-94.

Oziewicz, M. (2008). One Earth, One People: The Mythopoeic Fantasy Series of Ursula K. Le Guin, Lloyd Alexander, Madeleine L’Engle and Orson Scott Card. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.


News Stories

Minnesota Women’s Press: "U of M Center Helps K–12 Educators Teach Climate Change, One Story at a Time" – Jul 28, 2022