In this episode of the NCRCL Children’s Literature Research podcast, I discuss how I became a children’s lit scholar, and what I’m working on now. https://ncrcl.wordpress.com/2020/11/20/childrens-literature-research-podcast/
I’m currently working on a project about picture books that describe visits to art galleries and museums by young children and animals, and I’d be grateful for some help in identifying some paintings referred to in one of the books. Thierry Ducos’ L’Ange Disparu. Read more here:
Joseph Krumgold’s …And Now Miguel and Onion John: The Temper of the Times and the Encounter with the Other
My essay on the two Newbery-Award-winning novels by Joseph Krumgold is now available online at the Oxford Academic website for the Forum for Modern Language Studies.
A newcomer to writing for children, Joseph Krumgold revealed an intuitive mastery of what led to success in children’s ρubliѕhing in the 1950s, winning the American Library Association’s Newbery Medal for distinguished contrіbսtіons to children’s literature for both of his first two novels: …And Now Miguel (1953) and Onion John (1959). An exploration of the novels reveals what made for distinction at that time, what assumptions about excellence for child readers the novels imply, and in doing so, what ideas they foster about who children are and how they do and should read. This essay reads the novels both in the wider context of bestselling 1950s books that offer theories about changing American values, and in terms of the specific values espoused by children’s writers, ρubliѕhers and librarians. A consideration of these matters reveals a metafictional relationship between the two novels that enriches the insights they offer into assumptions about children’s reading.
In 1992, I wrote an essay called “We Are All Censors,” in which I offered my opinions about censorship in the world of children’s books and culture. It was published by the journal then called Canadian Children’s Literature. Almost three decades later, I received an email from a representative of the Brazilian children’s literature journal and publisher Emilia, asking if they might republish this old essay in a Portuguese translation. Not having looked at the essay for many years, I reread it–and then told the people at Emilia that, having changed my mind about various things as the years passed, I really didn’t like the idea if the essay appearing now in a different context. They then suggested the possibility of a small book, with the original essay accompanied by a new one talking about how my views had changed and why. That seemed fair to me, and I proceded to write the new essay. Emilia published the book containing both essays in Portuguese in August 2020.
You can download a PDF of the original essay first published in 1992 here:
And you can read an English version of the newer essay here:
A review of four recent picture books about grandparents in the context of my experience of being a grandchild, being a grandparent, and getting old.
A discussion of the various ways in which the Indigenous people included in James Barrie’s Peter Pan stories have been depicted on stage and screen and in a wide range of illustrations, editions, and adaptations of his plays and novels.
I gave two different versions of this talk at two different conferences in 2018. The first, at the IBBY Congress in Athens, was the basis of a much shorter essay that appeared in the IBBY journal, Bookbird. You can find the essay HERE. The version of the talk represented here on the website is based on the keynote given at a picture-book conference at Cambridge–I discuss my response to that conference HERE.
An Academic’s Adventures in Children’s Publishing
Based on a keynote address I gave at The Childhoods Conference: Mapping the Landscapes of Childhood at the University of Lethbridge in May, 2011, this intemperate and decidedly crotchety diatribe explores how being published as a writer of children’s books after a career of producing academic discourse about them affected my thinking about and writing criticism about children’s literature. The talk focuses on how my interactions with people in publishing as a writer of children’s fiction made me more aware of recent publishing trends and especially, of how the profit-oriented considerations that drive publishers shape what does and doesn’t get published for children. I go on describe how my knowledge of these matters transformed my critical approach to children’s literature, and to suggest why an awareness of how the publishing business operates in ways that affect what writers write and what children get to read ought to be more central to the work of other critics.
This version of the talk includes many of the images from the Powerpoint that accompanied it in Lethbridge.