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Children's Literature

Understanding MLA Style

In-Text Citations

MLA style uses a combination of parenthetical in-text references and a separate Works Cited section listing full citations. The idea here is to give a concise reference within the body of the text that provides the reader with enough direction to find the full citation information in the Works Cited. This offers a more streamlined reading experience than using footnotes.

The format of the in-text citations varies depending on the type of source you are citing and the structure of the sentence containing it. Generally speaking, an in-text citation includes author name(s) and page number(s):

Huck's entanglement with the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons offers a ripped-from-the-headlines satire of 'blood feuds' like the real-life interfamily war between the Hatfields and McCoys (Long 54).

If the author is included in the sentence itself, a page number is sufficient for the parenthetical reference:

As Long demonstrates, Huck's entanglement with the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons offers a ripped-from-the-headlines satire of 'blood feuds' like the real-life interfamily war between the Hatfields and McCoys (54). 

If, in a single essay, you cite multiple works by the same author, it becomes necessary to distinguish between them with more than just an author name and page number. Continuing with our example of Long's analysis of Huckleberry Finn, if we planned to cite an additional article by Long, we would amend our in-text citation accordingly to include an abbreviated version of the article's title. Here, you want to keep it brief but provide enough information for the reader to find the full citation in your Works Cited.

Author not mentioned in sentence:

Huck's entanglement with the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons offers a ripped-from-the-headlines satire of 'blood feuds' like the real-life interfamily war between the Hatfields and McCoys (Long, "Blood on the Hills" 54).

Author mentioned in sentence:

As Long demonstrates, Huck's entanglement with the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons offers as a ripped-from-the-headlines satire of 'blood feuds' like the real-life interfamily war between the Hatfields and McCoys ("Blood on the Hills" 54). 

For examples of how in-text references Works Cited sections interact, check out some of the 'Sample Papers' linked in the lefthand box on this page.

Book Examples

Basic Format for Books
Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.


One Author
Wellock, David. Health and Nutrition for Dogs and Cats: A Guide for Pet Parents. Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.
Two Authors 
Terhune, Tori Randolph, and Betsy A. Hays. Land Your Dream Career in College: The Complete Guide to Success. Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.
More Than Two Authors
Liebman, James S., et al. The Wrong Carlos: Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution. Columbia UP, 2014.
Corporate Author
Solar Energy International. Photovoltaics: Design and Installation Manual: Renewable Energy Education for a Sustainable Future. New Society Press, 2004.
Zott, Lynn M., editor. Women's Health: Opposing Viewpoints. Greenhaven Press, 2015.


Work in Anthology or Collection
Buchanan, Ann. "Protective Factors in Family Relationships." Contemporary Social Issues in East Asian Societies: Examining the Spectrum of Public and Private Spheres, edited by Mika Markus Merviö, Information Science Reference, 2014, pp. 76-85.


Introduction, Preface, Foreword or Afterword
Mast, Thomas. Foreword. Energy Supply and Renewable Resources, by Regina Anne Kelly, Facts on File, 2007.


Print Periodical Examples

Basic Format for Periodicals
Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical, Day Month Year, Pages.


Magazine Article
Fisher, Daniel. "A Brief History of Energy Boondoggles." Forbes, 24 Nov. 2008, p. 82.


Scholarly Journal Article
Brian, Brian K. "Renewable Energy Enters Commercial Era." Power Engineering, vol. 108, no. 4, 2004, pp. 28-41.


Haggas, Carol. Review of Clean Energy Nation: Freeing America from the Tyranny of Fossil Fuels by Jerry McNerney and Martin Cheek. Booklist, 15 Feb. 2009, p. 22.
Newspaper Article
Wald, Matthew L. "Debate on Clean Energy Lease to a Regional Battle Over Jobs." New York Times, 14 July 2009, sec. A, p. 13.


Database Examples

Basic Format for Databases
Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical, Volume, Issue, Year, Pages. Database Name, DOI or Permalink URL if No DOI Available. Accessed Day Month Year.


Journal Article
One Author (Without DOI)
Molk, Peter. "The Government's Role in Climate Change Insurance." Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, vol. 43, no. 2, 2016, pp. 411-26. Academic Search Complete, Accessed 30 Aug. 2016.
Two Authors (Without DOI)
Jairo, Fuertes N., and Alexander Hoffman. "Alcohol Consumption and Abuse among College Students: Alarming Rates among the Best and the Brightest." College Student Journal, vol. 50, no. 2, Summer 2016, pp. 236-40. Academic Search Complete, login?url= login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=116190973&site=ehost-live. Accessed 30 Aug. 2016.
More Than Two Authors (With DOI)
Preshaw, Deborah H. L., et al. "Ethical Issues Experienced by Healthcare Workers in Nursing Homes." Nursing Ethics, vol. 23, no. 5, Aug. 2016, pp. 490-506. Academic Search Complete, doi:10.1177/0969733015576357. Accessed 30 Aug. 2016.
No Author (With DOI)
"2016 ACVIM Forum Research Abstract Program." Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, vol. 30, no. 4, July-Aug. 2016, pp. 1407-519. Academic Search Complete, doi:10.1111/jvim.13952. Accessed 30 Aug. 2016.


Magazine Article
One Author (Without DOI)
Von Drehle, David. "How They Find Their A-Game." Time, vol. 188, no. 4, 25 July 2016, pp. 56-60. Academic Search Complete, Accessed 30 Aug. 2016.
Two Authors (Without DOI)
Goodman, Jessica, and Abby Stem. "Can Cuba Hit the Right Notes?" Entertainment Weekly, no. 1411/1412, 22 Apr. 2016, p. 24. Academic Search Complete, Accessed 30 Aug. 2016.
More Than Two Authors (Without DOI)
Elliott, Philip, et al. "The Hardest One to Know." Time, vol. 188, no. 5, 1 Aug. 2016, pp. 32-39. Academic Search Complete, Accessed 30 Aug. 2016.
No Author (Without DOI)
"Rolling Stone, D'Addario Recognize Great Guitarists." Music Trades, vol. 163, no. 11, Dec. 2015, p. 50. Academic Search Complete, login?url= login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=111192022&site=ehost-live. Accessed 30 Aug. 2016.


Newspaper Article (Without DOI)
Ben, Kesling. "More College Students Use Marijuana Daily, Study Finds." Wall Street Journal, Online ed., 2 Sept. 2015. Academic Search Complete, login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=109223827&site=ehost-live. Accessed 30 Aug. 2016.


Website Examples

Basic Format
Author(s). "Title of Web Page." Website Name, Publisher, Date of Publication, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.


Website Examples
"About Us." Texas Tribune, 2016, Accessed 30 Aug. 2016.
Imam, Jareen. "Nostalgic Allure of Vintage Theme Parks." CNN, 25 Sept. 2014, Accessed 29 Aug. 2016.