Thursday, March 8, 2018

Interview: Visiting Children's and YA author Isabel Quintero

At the end of November, NCSCL’s Graduate Assistants Andrea Kade and Chris Deming spoke with author Isabel Quintero shortly before her talk about her book, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, her inspirations for her writing, and her future pursuits as an author.

Chris Deming: Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, your debut novel, covers a wide variety of problems and challenges a Young Adult faces growing up. What was your reaction to the success of the novel, and have you interacted with people who have expressed how much it affected them or how they reacted to it?

Isabel Quintero: It was a surprise it was a success: a happy surprise. I didn’t go in thinking “this is going to sell this many copies” or “it’s going to be taught” or “THIS is a winner.” I just said “I’m going to write this book, and I’m happy that it’s being published, and my friends and my family are going to buy this, and I’ll have an awesome release party, and it’s going to be great. I’m going to keep doing my job, and finish up grad school.” When it was up for the William C. Morris Award [award for first-time YA author], I was completely shocked and happily surprised. When the other awards came in, it was the same thing: “Is this really happening?” Other people were reading my book, and the emails I received actually convinced me to get onto Twitter. One reader wrote to me saying “I really loved your book, but I had to look for you the old-fashioned way.”

Another reader, who is also a YA writer, Amy Spalding, expressed how “this fat girl is me, you know, I’m not a Chicana, I’m a fat 30-something year old woman, and I completely connect.” I started getting more and more emails about how my readers saw themselves in the characters in this book and thought “holy crap, this means a lot!

But it also means we have a lot to do representation-wise, and so I want us to see ourselves in books all over. Overall, it’s been fairly positive experience, but I’ve had a few folks give not so good reviews. I remember being at an American Library Association conference , and a librarian told me, “you know, we have a book club at our school, and we thought about your book, but the cover is just so scary--so ugly and frightening--that we were put off by it. We didn’t pick it up for a while. We finally picked it up and it was a good book.”

CD: That seems to go against the old adage of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’

IQ: Especially coming from a librarian. She said it was the eye that bothered her. I love Zeke Peña and his artwork. He’s fantastic, and I’m glad I got to meet him through that project. We’ve worked on other projects since then.

AK: What other projects have you worked on with him?

IQ: We have a graphic novel that just came out, Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide, which is a biography, and then we have another book that we are working on together.

CD: Can you tell us about your nonfiction graphic novel? What inspired you to write about Graciela Iturbide?

IQ: The Getty commissioned it. Ruth Lane, my editor, asked if there was anyone I’d want to work with. Zeke and I had already been talking about a graphic and when this came up, I asked “what are you doing for the next year?” Only later did I find out these types of projects usually take two to three years to complete.

AK: They really put the pressure on you.

IQ: The book came out at the same time as PST/LA/LA, a Getty initiative, and they are looking at the connection between Latin American art and Southern California. Graciela Iturbide is a photographer from Mexico with her work exhibited at the Hammer, Scripps College, UCR Museum of Photography, and Bergamot Station at Rose Gallery. They wanted our book to coincide with her exhibits’ dates.

AK: How did you approach writing the dialogue for this graphic novel? Did you talk to her?

IQ: Yes, we emailed back and forth. I also had the opportunity to Skype with her, but I was too scared because she is so renowned. Her work is everywhere, including the Getty. And so I’m watching her interviews and lectures on YouTube and she’s always introduced as this “legendary photographer” or “the most important Latin American photographer in contemporary times,” and I began to get so nervous about whether I'd taken on more than I could handle.

CD: No pressure there.

IQ: Yes it’s an honor, but also a huge responsibility. Eventually, I got to meet her when she gave a talk at University of Southern California, I elbowed my way through people and was like “Hello!” [laughs]. It was really cool.

AK: What did she say about the book?

IQ: She really likes it! During the drafting process, there were only a couple things where she said, “I don’t know about this.” Since she is alive, it was very nerve-wracking process. I wanted to make sure I got everything right. At first, the book was in third person, not in first. But, Zeke and Ruth kept asking “are you sure you don’t want to do it in first person?” I didn’t feel comfortable putting words in her mouth, and then I figured out a way I was comfortable.

AK: You have a new books series, Ugly Cat & Pablo, that is written for elementary school readers. Why did you decide to write for such a young audience?

IQ: I was actually writing [Ugly Cat and Pablo] at the same time I was writing Gabi. As a former elementary school library tech, I remember the kids gravitating toward funny books. They love funny stuff!

AK: My daughter is in first grade, and she loves cats. Having illustrations--especially for her age-- really entices them.

IQ: I really like the job [Tom Knight] did with the illustrations. Cats are a little ornery and they can be assholes, but they’re good characters. I wanted to write a friendship story, and I wanted it to be funny, and I wanted them to be Chicano, and I wanted them to speak Spanglish. Kids need to see themselves in books. As an elementary library tech, I would try to get books that reflected the population we served, mostly Black and Brown kids. But we didn’t have books about Black or Brown kids on our shelves. So I started writing Ugly Cat & Pablo. When I finished the book, I gave it to a second-grade teacher and asked “can you read this? Do you think your kids would like this?” She ended up reading it to her class, and at first I was like “why did you do that? I didn’t ask you to do that.” She said “I didn’t tell them it was you, I just asked them afterwards if they liked it.” When they finished the book, the kids came into the library asking “do you have any more of the Ugly Cat and Pablo books?” It felt really good to hear that from the kids because that was my target audience.

And I know they’re eager, but they’re also very honest about what they like and don’t like. One of things I found with kids who are “reluctant readers,” is that they haven’t found the right book yet. The books they enjoy are the ones that would make them laugh. If I can have a kid associate happiness and joy with reading, then I’ve done my job and it makes me feel good.

AK: How was the process of working with an illustrator? Do you just submit your manuscript, or did you sketch things out by yourself? How is the process of that collaboration? Did you get to pick the illustrator?

IQ: No, I didn’t. Gabi was sold without an agent because other agents and small presses had rejected it. So I sent it to Cinco Puntos (publisher for Gabi) where you actually have to call Lee Byrd, editor and owner, who will say “oh yeah, that sounds interesting. Go ahead and send us ten pages” or “Hey, good luck somewhere else.” The good thing is you don’t have to wait months to find out, but the bad part is you hear immediately “we don’t want your work.”

CD: And in person.

IQ: [laughs] Yeah. So that’s what happened with Gabi. With Scholastic, I actually got a letter from Nancy Mercado, my editor, and she said “Hi, my name is Nancy. I’m sure you have heard from other people, but I was wondering if you had anything you’d like Scholastic to look at.” I was like “Yes! I have this [Ugly Cat & Pablo]!” The second book, Ugly Cat & Pablo and the Missing Brother is coming out in 2018. This process is the reason I got an agent, because Scholastic has a much larger and longer contract. As for working with illustrators, you usually submit your work, and then they ask if you have anyone you’d like to work with. I gave them a list, but none of them were available or an option, so they had Tom Knight work on the project. I really like how he rendered the characters, and appreciate his illustrations. It’s been really good!

CD: We have an MFA program here at SDSU. We were wondering if you had any advice for aspiring Children’s and Young Adult authors trying to get their books published, or trying to start writing, or general advice?

IQ: Just write. It’s easy to get discouraged. I think one of the things about being a writer is--we don’t say it often, and maybe I shouldn’t say it--but we think our work is good enough to be published. That’s why we write! We write to understand ourselves, we write to understand the world, we write for various reasons, right? But when we submit stuff out into the world, it’s because we think it’s good enough to be published. But, when that’s rejected, we feel pretty shitty about it.

Michelle Serros said [of Gabi]: “This is your baby. No one is going to love your baby like you’re going to love your baby, so you need to do what’s best; no one will know what’s best besides you.” No one is going to know what is best for my work besides me. People can give advice and suggestions about editing or revisions which are helpful. But I would say take your work seriously because, if you don’t, it’ll be hard for others to take it seriously. And you have to realize that it is work. There is no recipe or “here are these five rules to get published.” It just doesn’t work that way. I know people who have been working a long time and putting poetry manuscripts together, but then you have folks who are super young--amazing writers like Ocean Vuong or Kaveh Akbar--who are under 30 and have amazing success. Stay dedicated and find a dedicated community that is supportive. I think that really helped me with Gabi. I was part of a writing critique group (it was a poetry group) but we were honest and supportive of each other. Finding a group who will be honest with you, not hurtful, but also not like “good job, good job,” because we don’t need that.

CD: Not cheerleading but constructive criticism.

IQ: Yeah, because our parents or grandparents can tell us “good job,” but we need people telling us what to work on. We need people in our lives who are going to tell us “this character needs more depth” or “this doesn’t make sense.” Just keep working, don’t be discouraged, cry when you need to, take a break when you need to, and writing doesn’t always happen on the page. I’ll go for hikes or go for a walk and just think about my writing. I’ll stare at my ceiling and talk to myself. Anything that gets me to think creatively.

With Gabi, there came a point where I was stuck, and my editor had said Gabi lost her voice in a certain section of the book. I was just stuck; I felt Gabi had stopped talking to me, and I didn’t know what to do. I was talking to a friend of mine (who was this old hippie) and she said “you know what you should do? You should go for a walk and talk to her.” I was like “Out loud?” [laughs], and she said “yeah, talk to her like a person.” I got desperate though and started to do that. I would walk, and I would talk to Gabi, and then she wouldn’t shut up!

It’s some of the best writing advice that I’ve gotten. I did that also for Ugly Cat & Pablo. There was a part there that I just didn’t know what was happening, so I’d go hike in these hills and take my phone with me to record the notes.

CD: It sounds like a freeing and fun way of doing it too where it’s just a release of ideas.

IQ: Yeah, because you are constantly in your head when you’re writing, and you need a break, you need to say things out loud.

CD: How does your Latinx identity inform a lot of your writing?

IQ: Well, I can’t stop being Chicana: that’s what I am. Do we ask white writers how whiteness informs their writing? I’m Chicana, a Mexican-American, and also American. But my American experience is different than your American experience, and different than another Chicano’s experience from some other part of the country.

We are a part of this society: we have to tell our stories, but we are fed that we are not and sometimes we believe it. In that way, my multiple identities inform my writing. If you have read Joe Jiménez’s Bloodline, he re-writes Hamlet from the second-person. He’s an incredible poet, and it’s beautiful and heartbreaking, but he’s a queer Chicano writing this beautiful story, and it’s very different, so his identities are going to inform that differently. Gabi is a lot like me. She’s also a lot not like me. She’s foul-mouthed, I’m foul-mouthed; she’s a light-skinned fat Chicana, and I’m the same thing. But, she’s also braver and able to do and say things that I was too scared to do or say at that age. It all informs and shapes the way I see the world, and what I want to write. Especially with language, I have multiple languages to grab from and to incorporate, so I don’t have to stick with Standard American English. I can use Spanglish and slang and code-switch.

AK: Do you consider yourself a Latinx feminist? Are there any overlaps or tensions of being Latinx and a feminist? 

IQ: Sure. Im a feminist… Yeah, I’m a Latinx feminist. The only reason I respond that way is because I think when we put ourselves in or are put into categories, we are expected to behave or say certain things that are homogenizing. Like, all Latinx feminists think this way, and not all feminists think the same way. So, I’m feminist and also Latinx. It is really important for me. The dedication in Gabi is specifically to all young women.

Of course, I come from a Mexican background. We have a lot of machismo in our culture and we live in a patriarchal society. Just look at our news and our President. It doesn’t matter who you are, patriarchy runs everything.

There is tension any time a woman or anyone who identifies as a woman, queer, or non-binary, will have some push-back for writing about their stereotype or expectations set for them. I remember reading a review that said, “Well, Gabi isn’t really true to a high school experience because teenagers don’t talk like that.” How I read it was “Brown teenagers don’t talk like that” or “Latino teenagers don’t talk like that.” I don’t think I’ve heard the same critique from other writers like John Green, whose characters have a pretty extensive vocabulary for high school students. Someone like Gabi isn’t expected to be able to use these words. There’s that push-back, or tension, right there.

Talking about sexuality was one thing I was a little bit worried about [in Gabi], and I realized I would have to talk to my mom at some point about what was in this book. I’m in my 30s and I’m still scared my mom will scold me! She didn’t though and said “if you think this is helpful for other young women, then I’m okay.” It was completely unexpected. But it gets folks talking, and I appreciate that it gets young women talking about their bodies, about autonomy, about pushing back against these traditions because not all traditions are good. I love my culture, but we have a lot of flaws, like machismo. As a teenager, I was not allowed to cut my hair because my father would not let me and my hair was down to my butt. When I finally did cut it, he didn’t speak to me for a few days. He was very, very angry with me.

Tension with my mom was there too, though. She wanted me to go to school, but she also wanted me to get married. It was one of the most important things, and that was my goal as woman growing up because you have to be married. So, I did get married, and I’m no longer married. That was kind of tough because I had to reconcile…I think many women do--not only Latinas-- but this one thing I was supposed to do, I failed at. Like, I was supposed to be a wife, and I failed at that. There is that and getting those kinds of thoughts out of your head. Even though I’m writing these things that are feminist, that try to question expectations put on women, I still struggle with them because this is what I grew up with; this is what has been expected of me. It’s rough, and I see that with my friends, whether they are writers or not. We all deal with the same thing. You have a lot of divorces, a lot of kids, and a lot of “why don’t you have kids?”, so that’s another thing too: questioning “what kind of woman are you?” or “when are you going to get serious?” I think I’m pretty good where I’m at. I have four books, I have a fifth one coming along. I’m doing okay.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Upcoming CFPS for Children's Literature

Calling all Scholars! Here is our updated list on Call for Papers for Conferences and Book Chapters. Please check the specific CFP webpage for more detailed information regarding submissions. Our earliest deadline on this page is for March 15th, 2018. Good luck with your research and writing!

Consuming Cultures in Children's and Young Adult Literature and Cultures
Midwest Modern Language Convention

When: November 15-18, 2018
Where: Kansas City, Missouri
Deadline for Submissions: April 5, 2018
How to Apply: 250-word abstract along with presenter name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, paper title, and a CV. Email to

Critics such as James Kincaid, Kathryn Bond Stockton, Michelle Martin, Philippe Ariès, and Suzanne Linn have written about childhood and adolescence as something we consume, criticize, and commercialize, whilst simultaneously romanticizing and desiring. In Consuming Kids (2004), Suzanne Linn suggests consumerist culture is conducting a “hostile takeover” of childhood and adolescence. While cultural consumption of childhood and adolescence has increased, these spheres are likewise being offered up as commercial commodities across medias. We seek papers that explore all aspects of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, as well as those addressing the conference theme of consuming cultures.

Editing and Engineering Children's Literature
Modern Language Association Convention

When: January 3, 2019
Where: Chicago, Illinois  
Deadline for Submissions: March 15, 2018
How to Apply: Please send 500-word paper proposals and 2-page CVs to Ramona Caponegro (
NOTE: The MLA Convention websites states the deadline for submissions is March 1st, but the UPENN website has an updated March 15th deadline. Please contact Ramona Caponegro for more information.

Though Roland Barthes and other scholars have argued for the death of the author, authors and illustrators—as creators and individuals—have remained at the forefront of children’s and young adult literature, with some even gaining celebrity status beyond the field of children’s books. While literary celebrities are neither new nor unique to children’s and young adult literature, the increasing franchising and shifting sociocultural expectations within the children’s book industry have led to a greater investment in the creators, as well as their works. Yet the creation and promotion of children’s and young adult literature depends on many individuals who may only be mentioned in books’ acknowledgements sections or who may go unrecognized completely, and the opportunities to work within and influence children’s and young adult literature have multiplied as the field has become increasingly professionalized.

Since John Newbery’s launch of his popular and profitable illustrated “toy” books in the 1740s, the industry of children’s publishing has expanded enormously and has been marked by periods of great change. In the past few decades, major publishing houses have consolidated, self-publishing has grown, and renewed attention has been given to issues of diversity (and the lack of diversity) within the industry. As children’s publishing has become a larger and more profitable industry, the roles of agents and reviewers have increased, affecting both the field of children’s literature as a whole and the careers of individual authors and illustrators. 

Moreover, the creation of MFA programs specifically for aspiring children’s and young adult authors and illustrators has also contributed to the professionalization of the field. Similarly, organizations such as the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Highlights Foundation provide conferences and workshops to people seeking to improve their craft and to break into children’s publishing, furthering the understanding that creating books for young people is a complicated and specialized practice.

In addition to the commercial transactions related to publication and professionalization, children’s literature has also been the site of numerous cultural transactions. Librarians, teachers, and members of award committees have long been described as arbitrators, taste-makers, and promoters within the field, and activists have founded groups such as the Council on Interracial Books for Children and We Need Diverse Books to advocate for greater diversity within the field. 

This non-guaranteed session examines historical and contemporary figures, events, trends, practices, and organizations that have shaped the children’s literature industry, as well as the careers of individual artists within it.  Which individuals and professions have received prominence in the field and why? How has the promotion of children’s literature and its creators changed over time? How have the field’s development and the identified key figures within it been presented by and to different audiences: aspiring writers, illustrators, and publishers; scholars; young people; and the general public? How might the focus on individual successes within children’s literature compare to a similar focus in other industries?

Possible topics include but are not limited to:
  • changing practices within the business of children’s literature, such as acquisitions, production, and marketing
  • individuals, organizations, and campaigns that work to combat the roles that racism, sexism, classism, and ableism have played in shaping the field
  • histories of children’s publishing houses
  • personal and professional relationships between authors and illustrators and their editors and agents
  • archival research about the evolution of a manuscript for a young audience
  • mentorship within children’s literature
  • the changing credentialing of authors and illustrators
  • depictions of authors, illustrators, and other book professionals within works of children’s literature
  • recurrent tropes within author/illustrator studies in children’s literature
  • the roles of technology and social media in creating movements within and around children’s literature
  • how changes in bookselling and the marketplace affect the creation and publication of works of children’s literature
  • how publishing practices and standards vary in different countries
  • museum exhibits about the history of children’s literature

South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference
(NOTE: Submission Deadlines May Differ for Each Panel)
When: November 2-4, 2018
Where: Birmingham, Alabama

Victorian/Edwardian Adventure Fiction and Social Change
Deadline for Submissions: May 11th, 2018
How to Apply: Please submit a 250-word abstract, brief biographical statement (inclusive of academic affiliation and contact information), and A/V requirements to Jennifer Fuller, Idaho State University, at

This panel welcomes submissions that explore how popular adventure fiction/boy’s books of the long nineteenth century were used as agents of social change. While often viewed as works for adolescents, such novels played subversive roles in dismantling traditional ideas and establishing new cultural norms. We are especially interested in papers that explore novels set in locations outside the colonial center that worked to challenge British assumptions about education/the educational system. Potential authors could include Joseph Conrad, Robert Louis Stevenson, H.G. Wells, or Edgar Rice Burroughs as well as lesser-known authors such as Louis Becke or authors popularized through translation, such as Jules Verne.

The Social Justice Interventions #WENEEDDIVERSEBOOKS
Deadline for Submissions: May 31st, 2018
How to Apply: Email 250-word proposal and a short biography to

Recent activist work in the field of children's and young adult literature has focused on the lack of diverse protagonists and created a variety of initiatives to change that fact, including the #weneeddiversebooks campaign. The desire to improve diverse representations in children’s and young adult literature aligns with recent research into how an individual comes to understand that others have complex inner lives that may differ from our own, often studied in psychology as Theory of the Mind (ToM). Recent studies of ToM and fiction show literature’s power, as an art form, to increase readers’ empathy and engagement with others. Both minority readers and privileged populations, therefore, need diverse books. This panel at SAMLA 90, dedicated to “Fighters from the Margins,” asks for essays that investigate the power of diverse books, in order to continue the work of #weneeddiversebooks. Some possible avenues of investigation are:
  • Intersections of #weneeddiversebooks and #blacklivesmatter
  • Forgotten or undertheorized books with diverse protagonists
  • Power of visual communication to represent diversity in picture books or comics
  • Diversity represented outside the confines of historical tragedy (Holocaust, Japanese internment, slavery, Jim Crow, Native American genocide, etc.)
  • Intersectional analyses that explore gender, sexuality, ability in addition to racial diversity 
The Metaphor of the Monster
Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures Symposium

When: September 21 - 22, 2018
Where: Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi  
Deadline for Submissions: July 1st, 2018
How to Apply: Email 300-word abstract along with additional information to Dr. Silvia Arroyo at

Mermaids, giants, gorgons, harpies, dragons, cyclopes, hermaphrodites, cannibals,amazons, krakens, werewolves, barbarians, savages, zombies, vampires, angels, demons–               all of those inhabit and represent our deepest fears of attack and hybridization, but also our deepest desires of transgression. Frequently described in antithetical terms, monsters were frequently read in the past as holy inscriptions and proofs of the variety and beauty of the world created by God, or as threats to civilization and order. These opposing views on the monster show the radically different values that have been assigned to monsters since they started to permeate the human imagination in manuscripts, maps, and books.
Their hybridity challenges natural order and escapes taxonomy, thus problematizing our epistemological certainties. Inhabiting the margins of society, monsters also police social laws and show the consequences of transgressions on their own deformed bodies. Moreover, they are pervasive in nature and metamorphose into something else in different historicalthey are pervasive in nature and metamorphose into something else in different historical periods in order to embody the fears of that age, never to disappear from our imagination.

The 2018 Classical & Modern Languages and Literatures Symposium focuses on the concept of monstrosity as a cultural construct in literature, science, and art, and the ways in which the monster has been shaped, used, and interpreted as metaphor by scientists, writers, and artists in order to depict otherness, hybridization, threat to hegemonic order, and transgression. 
We accept submissions in English that explore monstrosity from various disciplinary or interdisciplinary angles. Topics might include, but are not limited to:
-Representation in literature/art of different forms of monstrosity Gendered- or queer-focused studies of monstrosity
-The depiction of the Other as monster, and the depiction of marginalized communities
-Hybridity, miscegenation, and the problem of categorizing Cartography, margins of civilization
-Books as monsters
-Transgressive subjects as monsters
-The medicalization of the monster: monstrosity in medical discourse; monsters within: parasites, viruses, and illness
-Ecocritical approaches to the topic: humans as ""parasites"" and ""predators"" Dystopian depictions of the urban space as a monstrosity
-The monster as spectacle, freak shows Deconstructing monstrosity through inclusion"
-Teaching monstrosity

2018 Science Fictions, Popular Cultures Call for Presentations
2018 HawaiiCON at The Big Island

When: September 13-16, 2018
Where: Kona Coast on The Big Island of Hawaii
Deadline for Submissions: April 1st, 2018
How to Apply: 200-300 word summary abstracts and 100-word biographical sketches are to be submitted to Conference Co-Chair Carrie J. Cole using the online form available by clicking here.  Academic, peer-reviewed proceedings will be published at the conclusion of this conference.

Announcing SCIENCE FICTIONS, POPULAR CULTURES: devoted to cross-disciplinary, cross-genre, and cross-media scholarship.

SCIENCE FICTIONS, POPULAR CULTURES is an academic conference which runs in conjunction with HawaiiCon (September 13-16, 2018) with an opening reception on Thursday evening) on the sunny western Kona side of the Big Island of Hawaii at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel.  

The inaugural theme of SCIENCE FICTIONS, POPULAR CULTURES is: Beyond Boundaries.

        Just as science fiction adventures go where none had gone...
        Just as artists are not bounded by one media or platform...
        Just as science pushes the limits of what is fiction to discover what is fact...
        Just as science fiction constantly defies and defines the parameters of genre...
        Just as popular culture erases the divides of academic disciplines...

SCIENCE FICTIONS, POPULAR CULTURES seeks to both defy and redefine how the academy views science fiction and popular culture—and the research, scholarship and creative endeavors of those working across these fields. An academic, peer-reviewed and refereed Conference Proceedings will be published in conjunction with the event.  The 2017 Proceedings are available for purchase on Amazon here.

SCIENCE FICTIONS, POPULAR CULTURES is soliciting 20-minute academic presentations from a wide spectrum of disciplines addressing the narratives and performances of science, science fiction, and popular entertainment across media, platforms, and cultures. As scholars, we create intersections with public programming at HawaiiCon which leverages the intellectual engagement audiences bring to their enthusiastic appreciation and deep knowledge of pop culture. The growing list of entertainers, authors, and actors attending who you can interact with are listed online.

While we are particularly interested in creating intersections with programming at HawaiiCon, all suitable, scholarly academic presentations of science fiction and popular culture will be considered. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

        World-building in genres & across media
        Popular interpretations and implications of Science Fictions
        Science in/of Science Fiction
        Playing Science/Science Fiction (cosplay, games, gaming)
        Star Wars vs Star Trek: Who Has Better Astronomy?
        Hidden Mathematics Revealed in Science Fiction
        Encryption and Privacy in Science Fiction and Daily Life
        Time Travel, Special Relativity, and Imperial Cruiser Travel Times
        STEM, STEAM, and Science Fiction
        The Science of World-building in the Genre
        Science as Popular Culture and the Popularity of Science
        Teaching of/with Science Fiction (across disciplines)
        Teaching College Classes with Comics and Popular Culture
        Translating/Adapting Science Fiction across media and cultures
        Interdisciplinary Science Fictions
        Cultures of Science Fictions
        Cultures of Science Fiction fandom
        Performing Science/Science Fiction (live and mediated)
        What Fuels Serenity? Real Propulsion Systems in Science Fiction Spaceships
        Firearms VS Vampires:  Which Firearms and Ammo Should Buffy Carry?
        Playing Science/Science Fiction (cosplay, games, gaming)

Neglected Newberys: A Critical Reassessment at the Centennial
Call for Book Chapters

Deadline for Submissions: April 1, 2018
How to Apply: Email 500-word initial proposal to the editors ( and and for access to the spreadsheet of books on which we are soliciting contributions, contributor resources, and additional specifications to ensure continuity throughout the volume.

In anticipation of the one hundredth anniversary of the American Library Association’s Newbery Medal (1922-2022), submissions are welcomed for a volume devoted to critically-neglected Newbery Award-winners.
About the Volume
Since the inception of the Newbery Medal in 1922, Newbery novels have had an outsized influence on American children’s literature, figuring perennially on publisher’s lists, on library and bookstore shelves, and in K-12 school curricula. As such, they offer a compelling window into the history of U.S. children’s literature and publishing as well as changing societal attitudes about what books are “best” for American children. Nevertheless, many Newbery Award winners—even the most popular and frequently taught titles—have attracted scant critical attention. 
This volume offers a critically- and historically-grounded analysis of representative Newbery Medal books and interrogates the disjunction between the books’ omnipresence and influence, on the one hand, and the critical silence surrounding them, on the other.
The editors seek at least one previously unpublished essay per decade (1920s-2010s), with each essay to focus primarily on a single Newbery Medal (not Newbery Honor) title for which little or no literary scholarship exists. We welcome submissions from both emerging and established scholars.
We specifically seek a diversity of Newbery authors, genres, themes, and book settings, but also investigations of how diversity is treated or, especially for earlier works, silenced in the texts.
Avenues for exploration include: neglected categories and sub-genres (horse books, maritime adventure stories, regional literature, retold folktales, one-hit wonders for children by well-known authors); reception and book history (alterations of text to avoid offensive language and imagery, both immediately after the Medal and decades later); critical readings of problematic texts; Newbery winners and their archives; hypotheses regarding critical neglect: the rise of Children’s Literature as an academic field long after the Medal’s inception; the disjunction between the Newbery’s historical whiteness and heteronormativity and current developments in literary criticism; a possible disconnect between librarians who award the medal, K-12 teachers who recommend the books, and university professors who are rewarded for publishing literary criticism.

Transatlantic Girlhood in Nineteenth-Century Literature Collection
Call for Book Chapters

Deadline for Submissions: June 30, 2018
How to Apply: Email 500-word abstract and brief CV (as an attachment in Word) to Robin Cadwallader and LuElla D’Amico at

Although often dubbed “domestic” novelists, nineteenth-century women writers often featured girl protagonists who travelled, and much of the time this travel wasn’t relegated to a local or even national scale. Rather, like Amy in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, fictional girls on both sides of the Atlantic often journeyed abroad, usually with the intent of learning more about themselves, their relationships with others, and even their country. This collection will interrogate both literal and metaphorical exchanges of culture that happened in nineteenth-century girls’ fiction. Creative approaches to thinking about transatlantic travel and how it had an impact on girl culture in both Europe and America are invited. For instance, contributors could explore novels like Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, Maria Susanna Cummins’s The Lamplighter, and E.D.E.N. Southworth’s The Hidden Hand, all of which earned popularity in both Europe and America.  Likewise, the editors are eager to read submissions centering on girls’ magazines, journals, and etiquette books, so long as these were read in both Europe and America.

The book will comprise three sections: girl characters travelling, books travelling, and girl readers travelling. The first section will focus on how young female characters in novels approach and respond to travelling abroad, the second will consider how books were received and responded to on both sides of the Atlantic by the masses and critics alike, and the third section will examine how the books inspired their young readers to travel themselves and critically examine their cultural mores.