Perry Nodelman


Fish is People

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.


Utopian Grandparents

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.

Neverland and Our Land: Imagining Indigenous Peoples in the Worlds of Peter Pan

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.


Writing for the Childhood Police:

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.

Recent Publications

“My Chinese Words.”Part 1, July 2, 2019. ChLA international Committee Blog

“My Chinese Words.”Part 2, July 9, 2019 ChLA international Committee Blog

“My Chinese Words.”Part 3, July 16, 2019 ChLA international Committee Blog

“So Long and Thanks for All the Fish: Some Words about Picturebooks.” Children’s Literature at the University of Cambridge: A Postgraduate Perspective.

“Touching Art: The Art Museum as a Picture Book, and the Picture Book as Art.” Journal of Literary Education 1 (2018). 6-25.

“The Young Know Everything: Oscar Wilde’s Fairy Tales as Children’s Literature.” Oscar Wilde and the Cultures of Childhood. Ed. Joseph Bristow. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Alternating Narratives in Fiction for Young Readers: Twice Upon a Time

More Words about Pictures: Current Research on Picturebooks and Visual/Verbal Texts for Young People