Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Miyazaki Does "The Borrowers"

CULTURAL CONUNDRUMS / The challenge of companionable silence
Kate Elwood /

Mary Norton's novel The Borrowers was published in 1952 and won the prestigious Carnegie Medal awarded for outstanding children's literature. Karigurashi no Arrietty (The Borrower Arrietty), a Japanese film released this summer, is based on the novel, with a few tweaks here and there. Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi with a screenplay written by Hayao Miyazaki, the setting has been shifted to Japan, but retains many elements of the original. Like many Studio Ghibli films, it is a lovely, well-crafted cinematic work featuring a strong and spirited girl as the central character.

What is perhaps most striking from a cross-cultural point of view is a rather significant transformation in the character of the Arrietty's father . . .

More in The Daily Yomiuri

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How 'Twilight,' other dark fiction affect teen brains


Regarding former SDSU Prof Maria Nikolayeva, now at Cambridge University:

"It turns out, according to the organizer of the interdisciplinary conference, called "The Emergent Adult -- Adolescent Literature and Culture,” that fiction with dark themes does indeed alter teen brains in sometimes important ways.

"The conference is bringing together scientists, authors and education experts to make connections between recent neuroscience research and the representation of the adolescent in literature, film, computer games and social networking sites. Participants are looking at the physiological, psychological, chemical and sociological effects of reading teenage fiction, said organizer Maria Nikolajeva, who is the first director of the Cambridge/Homerton Research and Training Center for Children’s Literature, which is dedicated to studying children’s media. ... "

More in the Washington Post:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Boston May 2011: Am Lit Assoc (Proposal by 1/30)

Call for Papers
American Literature Association
22nd Annual Conference
Dates: May 26-29, 2011
Location: The Westin Copley Place
10 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02116-5798
Conference Director: Alfred Bendixen
Texas A & M University
Conference Fee: For those who pre-register before April 15, 2011: $90
($60 for Graduate Students, Independent Scholars, and Retired Faculty).
After April 15, the fees are $100 and $70.
Deadline for Proposals: January 30, 2011
The ALA website contains further details and instructions for submitting proposals as well as important information for representatives of participating author societies. Proposals from individuals and program information from author societies should be sent to Professor Alfred Bendixen via email
by January 30, 2011 following the instructions on the website:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dead/Absent Parents: Why So Common?

There has been some discussion in the book world lately about the prevalence of absent and/or dead parents in children's literature. In an interesting article in Publishers Weekly called "The Ol' Dead Dad Syndrome," editor and author Leila Sales argues that dead parents in children's literature are not only troublingly common, they can sometimes be symptomatic of lazy writing--after all, it's easier to write a book if you don't have to figure out the main character's relationship with their parents....
More in the Huffington Post:

This was a conversation started by Julie Just in April (2010) in an essay in the New York Times Book Review:

Friday, September 24, 2010

An Interview with P.L. Travers (Mary Poppins)

I lived with the Indians, or rather I lived on the reservations, for two summers during the war. John Collier, who was then the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, was a great friend of mine and he saw that I was very homesick for England but couldn’t go back over those mined waters. And he said, “I’ll tell you what I’ll do for you. I’ll send you to live with the Indians.” “That’s mockery,” I replied. “What good will that do me?” He said, “You’ll see.”

I’d never been out West and I went to stay on the Navajo reservation at Administration House, which is at Window Rock beyond Gallup. . . .

More in Paris Review:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

interview with lê thị diễm thúy: San Diego One Book author

Experience And Imagination: Interview With lê thị diễm thúy

Here is an interview I conducted with le thi diem thuy, the San Diego One Book author this year. The Gangster We Are All Looking For will be read by many young adults in their high schools this year.

Linda Salem

New Biography of Roald Dahl

'Storyteller,' Donald Sturrock's authorized biography of Roald Dahl
By Michael Dirda
Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl
By Donald Sturrock
Simon & Schuster. 655 pp. $30

When 74-year-old Roald Dahl died from leukemia in 1990, I wrote a longish essay about the enormously popular, and often controversial, author of "James and the Giant Peach" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Waspishly opinionated, frequently offensive, a hard bargainer with publishers and a prima donna with editors, reclusive, family-focused and outrageously funny, Dahl struck me then as the Evelyn Waugh of children's literature. One could almost imagine the savage author of "Black Mischief" and "A Handful of Dust" writing "The Twits" or "Matilda." . . .

More at Washington Post's Book World:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grant for Study in Sweden

Stockholm September 21, 2010

The research grant of the Astrid Lindgren Foundation ”Solkatten”

One of the aims of the Foundation (established in 1986) is to ”contribute to the teaching and further education of individuals who are involved in research on children’s culture and are capable of conveying the results of their research to a larger audience”.

For this purpose the Board of Directors has established a grant intended to give researchers – ”primarily from abroad” – the opportunity ”to pursue research on Swedish or Nordic literature for children and young adults”. Amounting to SEK 25,000, this grant should cover costs for a research period at the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books (Sbi) in Stockholm. An additional contribution of up to SEK 15,000 will be given to cover travel costs. The Institute will in its turn provide study space and extended reference services and will also arrange for professional contacts with colleagues within the Department of Literature and History of Ideas at the University of Stockholm and within the Department of Literature at the University of Uppsala.

The appointment procedure begins with the Board of Directors inviting Professors and Research leaders at academic Institutions that can be expected to harbour eligible candidates to submit nominations with information on the qualifications of persons concerned. This circular letter is thus to be regarded as the start of that procedure.

You are hereby invited as the representative for the research at your Institution to before December 1st 2010 submit your proposal for a researcher, qualified for the grant. The recipient will be expected to make use of the grant during 2011.

The nomination should not extend two pages of text and should, besides personalia in the form of name, address etc, contain information on the candidate as to
· academic education, other relevant qualifications and main research interests
· previous research achievement (a separate bibliographical account of academic material and publications should be enclosed but books and other printed material should be submitted only at the request of the jury)
· language proficiencies (knowledge of one Scandinavian language is presupposed)
· the aim of the research period in Stockholm
· the approximate time preferred for the utilization of the grant.

The Jury will include representatives of the Foundation (Ms Annika Lindgren), the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books (Ms Sonja Svensson, PhD and Mr Jan Hansson, Director), the Department of Literature and History of Ideas at the University of Stockholm (Ms Boel Westin, Prof.) and the Department of Literature at the University of Uppsala (Ms Lena Kåreland, Prof emerita.).

The appointment will be made known before February 1st 2011.

On behalf of the Solkatten Foundation and in the hope of many good proposals
Jan Hansson
Director, The Swedish Institute for Children’s Books

Monday, September 20, 2010

BTW...SDSU Seeks Asst Prof in Am Lit 20C & 21C

English and Comparative Literature
Assistant Professor: 20th and 21st Century American Literature

The Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University, the flagship campus of the largest and most diverse public university system in the U.S., seeks applications for a tenure-track assistant professor specializing in 20th and 21st century American literature. Desirable secondary specializations include race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality studies, literature and the environment, transnational and comparative studies, border studies, or media studies.

The successful candidate will have a Ph.D. (degree expected by August 2011) in English or an equivalent field and demonstrate potential for excellence as a scholar-teacher, including successful teaching experience, currency within his or her field, and / or publication of scholarly research. The normal teaching load is 3 / 3, including undergraduate courses as well as literature seminars serving our large and distinguished MA and MFA programs.

For more information about the SDSU Department of English and Comparative Literature, please visit our website:

Applicants should send cover letter (including statement of teaching experience and philosophy), current c.v., writing sample of no more than 20 pages, three letters of recommendation (at least one documenting teaching experience), and a self-addressed, stamped postcard (to acknowledge receipt of application) to Professor Joanna Brooks, Chair, Department of English and Comparative Literature, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA, 92182-6020. Applications must be received by November 1, 2010 and are non-returnable.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Native American Children's Books Blog

Vanessa Chalmers writes...

Hi! I stumbled upon this blog about Native Americans in Children's Literature and it's awesome. Check it out. I think it's SDSU Child.Lit Blog worthy?

Hope you are well!

Friday, September 17, 2010

70 Years of Curious George

This year marks the 70th anniversary of children’s literature staple Curious George. To help celebrate this milestone, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has elected to re-release a pair of books that manage to celebrate the very legacy of this beloved character on two distinctly different fronts. One allows readers to revisit all the seminal Curious George tales in a single volume, while the other spotlights the creative couple behind the world’s most famous monkey.

Read More

Monday, September 13, 2010

Solicit Contributions to Book on Grimm Bros

Call for papers

The translation and reception of Grimm’s fairy tales

The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm belong to the most frequently translated and best known stories in the world. A systematic history of the translation of these tales and their reception outside of Germany still needs to be written, and parallels between the reception in different countries or parts of the world are yet largely unexplored. With this volume, we hope to gain insight into the afterlife of the Grimm tales in translation, and how they merged with the fairy-tale traditions of other countries and inspired new writings. Also, the critical reception of the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales, both in scholarship and in fiction is part of this reception.

We invite contributions on the following themes
· The translation history of Grimm’s fairy tales in a given language or country (overview articles) · The publishing and editorial history of Grimm’s fairy tales in any given language or country
· The reception of Grimm’s fairy tales in any specific language, country or culture as literature for adults or children
· The translation history of the Grimm tales in a given language or country: articles with a focus on a specific historical period, such as the mid-nineteenth century, the 1920s, the Second World War, or the 1970s
· The translation history of a given Grimm tale in a certain language or country
· The shifting audience (children, adults, mixed) of the Grimm tales in translation
· Prefaces to translations of the Kinder- und Hausmärchen
· The reception of the Grimm tales as compared to fairy tales by other authors / collectors such as Perrault and Andersen
· The influence of the Kinder- und Hausmärchen on fairy-tale authors or the fairy-tale tradition in a given country
· Illustrations to the Kinder- und Hausmärchen in a given country and their interaction with the translations
· The Brothers Grimm as characters in stories, films, parodies

Authors who want to contribute a chapter to this book are invited to send a 500-word abstract and short biography to by 10 November 2010. Full-length articles of 4000 words (overview articles) or 8000 words (case studies) will be requested by 1 November 2011 and submitted to peer review. The volume will be edited by Dr. Gillian Lathey (Roehampton University) and Dr. Vanessa Joosen (Antwerp University) and is expected to appear in 2012.
Dr. Vanessa Joosen
Universiteit Antwerpen
Taal- en Letterkunde
Prinsstraat 13 R214
2000 Antwerpen
Tel. + 32 3 265 45 98

CFP: Taiwan and Children's Books (June Conference in Virginia)

Call For Papers
Children's Literature of Taiwan
Deadline for Submission: December 15, 2010

The International Committee of the Children's Literature Association is planning a special country focus panel on Taiwan, to be presented at the Children's Literature Association Conference to be held at Hollins University in Roanoke Virginia, June 23-25, 2011. The committee invites papers that focus on any aspect of children's literature in Taiwan. Two or three papers will be selected; the papers should be presented in English and not exceed the twenty-minute reading time. The committee strongly encourages ChLA members interested in Taiwan to submit papers to this panel and all other scholars who would like to write on aspects of children's literature in Taiwan, including diasporic literature for children and Taiwanese folklore as children's texts, to submit papers for the session.

A 600 to 800 word abstract, with an accompanying one page cover letter (briefly introducing your educational, institutional or research background), should be submitted to the International Committee, Children's Literature Association, P.O. Box 138, Battle Creek, MI 49016 0138, USA; fax +269-965-3568; or electronically to:
The deadline for submissions of the abstracts is December 15, 2010.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jobs: York University (Toronto)

Dear Colleagues in Children's and Childhood Studies and in Children's Literature,

It is my pleasure to draw your attention to two new postings for Full-Time Tenure-Stream - Assistant Professor positions at York University in Toronto, Canada, in the Children's Studies Program in the Department of Humanities in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. One position is in Children's Studies (Contemporary Children's Culture) and the other is in Children's Studies (Children's Literature). Both are for a start date of July 1, 2011, with an application deadline of October 30, 2010.

Here are links to the two complete postings:
Children's Studies (Contemporary Children's Culture)
Children's Studies (Children's Literature)

I would appreciate it if you would forward this message to potential candidates. We are conducting a broad search for these positions and welcome applicants from a range of specialties and backgrounds.

Please note that "All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents will be given priority."

Peter Cumming

And yet other disciplines . . . and increasingly the humanities . . . have brought their particular epistemologies to bear on the study and understanding of childhood. (Alison James and Adrian James, Key Concepts in Childhood Studies, 2008)

Dr. Peter E. Cumming
Associate Professor, Children's Studies Program
Coordinator - Humanities Program, Department of Humanities
Vanier College 212, 416-736-2100 ext. 60498
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
York University, Toronto, Canada M3J 1P3
President, Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Children's Poetry: Natalie Merchant's New CDs

Leave Your Sleep: Natalie Merchant on Childhood
by Jerry Griswold
While marketed as a two-disc music compilation with an accompanying booklet, Natalie Merchant’s Leave Your Sleep might be better understood as a fascinating anthology of children’s poetry accompanied by biographical notes and two CDs on which each of the twenty-six poems is set to music. But it is even more than that. Leave Your Sleep epitomizes a certain contemporary sensibility and style of parenting. It is as much a work about childhood as it is a work for children....

More at Horn Book:
See also:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

SDSU Library Resources in Child Lit

from SDSU's subject librarian in children's literature...

Exciting new resources
I'm very happy to announce that we have we have three new online databases on our Databases A-Z list at
· Contemporary Authors Online
· Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online
· Something about the Author Online
New books in the library lists:
· For a list of new books in comparative literature, including children's literature scholarship, see

For a list of new children's books added to the collection, see
Research guides - guides that list all of the library's books, articles, and other resources in a subject.
· Children's literature research guide -
· Comparative literature research guide - a list of all of the library's research guides, start at and click on Articles & Research Guides.

Contact information - please feel free to contact me about classes, collections, or to set up a time to chat about your research interests. Linda Salem, Associate Librarian ext.45148