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.
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.
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.