Friday, May 27, 2011

Of Commencement Speeches & Children's Literature

In a terrific Commencement speech delivered at Harvard, scholar Maria Tatar makes use of children's literature to talk to the graduating class. In particular, Tatar makes use of J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" to identify the ambiguous legacy of maturity in the story of the boy who never grows up. Mention is also made of J. K. Rowlings, "Tuck Everlasting," Spielberg's "Hook," Mark Twain, David Foster Wallace, and university classes in children's literature. Altogether, well done!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Obama, Ireland, Children's Literature

Among the gifts given in Ireland to the visiting U.S. President Barack Obama was a book of Hawaiian children's stories collected by Padraic Colum. A noted Irish folklorist, Colum was invited in the 1920's by the Hawaiian government to come and record their ancient stories; the results included his books At the Gateways of the Day (1924) and The Bright Islands (1925). Along with William Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory, and Pamela Travers, Colum was part of the Celtic Twilight; he later married Mary Maguire and became an American citizen. During his Irish visit, the Hawaii-born President observed, "If you need someone to do good writing, you hire an Irishman."

See the Irish Times:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

German Journal Solicits Essays on Environment & Nature

interjuli is soliciting essays for it january 2012 issue on the topics of the environment and nature. Possible areas of research are:
 The history of ecological literature for children and young adults
 The environment between idyll and terror
 Nature and city/nature and the countryside
 Environmental utopias and dystopias in children’s and young adults’ literature
 Poetry for children as nature poetry
 Didactic requirements of ecological children’s and young adults’ literature
 Ecological children’s literature on an international level
 Children’s and young adults’ literature as a medium for ecological awakening
 Socio-ecological responsibilities of children’s and young adults’ literature
As always, we also encourage contributions that do not pertain to our focal topic. Please
send in your manuscripts digitally and in print before September 30, 2011. Guidelines
concerning formatting and editing standards will be sent out upon request.
interjuli is an interdisciplinary scientific journal dedicated to the research into literature
for children and young adults publishing research papers as well as reviews of primary
and secondary works.

Marion Rana

Internationale Kinder- und Jugendliteraturforschung

(International Research into Children's Literature)
Oberflecken 25
D- 65391 Lorch/Rhein

Friday, May 20, 2011

Shelley McRoberts Follows iPad Art, E-Books & Children's Apps

Out on the cutting edge of electronic children's art, SDSU alumnus Shelley McRoberts recommends we pay attention to:

Kathleen Rushall Says: Interesting Reading on Fairy Tales

Kathleen Rushall recommends the discussion on fairy tales that appears in the recent issue of The Literarian:

The Strange, Beautiful, Subterranean Power of Fairy Tales:
A Forum Moderated by Kate Bernheimer
We asked Kate Bernheimer—author of a trilogy of brilliantly subversive tales, fairy-tale anthologist and champion-in-chief of the numinous world of Once Upon a Time, and founder and editor of Fairy Tale Review, why fairy tales deserve more respect. She answered—and then gathered celebrated writers Kevin Brockmeier, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Timothy Schaffert, and Maria Tatar to tell us more.

New Scholarly Book on Astrid Lindgren

Beyond Pippi Longstocking Intermedial and International Approaches to Astrid Lindgren's Work
Edited by Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer, Astrid Surmatz
Published April 25th 2011 by Routledge – 276 pages
Series: Children's Literature and Culture
Hardback: 978-0-415-88353-5: $125.00

Astrid Lindgren, author of the famed Pippi Longstocking novels, is perhaps one of the most significant children's authors of the last half of the twentieth century. In this collection contributors consider films, music, and picturebooks relating to Lindgren, in addition to the author's reception internationally. Touching on everything from the Astrid Lindgren theme park at Vimmerby, Sweden to the hidden folk songs in Lindgren's works to the use of nostalgia in film adaptations of Lindgren's novels, this collection offers an important international and intermedial portrait of Lindgren research today.

Ellen Malven to Rutgers Ph.D.

After taking her M.A. in Children's Literature at SDSU (and another one from Hollins), Ellen Malven is headed to Rutgers' doctoral program in Childhood Studies where she has been awarded a Graduate Assistantship. She will be joining Martin Woodside who followed the same path from SDSU to Rutgers. Congratulations to Ellen.

Jouurnal Solicits Essays on Trauma

Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature is commissioning articles for their January Issue on Trauma in Children's Literature. Original articles of 4000 words are invited on topics such as the following:

Children and War
Natural and Environmental Disasters
Child Abuse
Recovery from Trauma
Refugee Status

The submission deadline for papers is 18th July 2011.

For further information, please contact the incoming editors Roxanne Harde Email: or Lydia Kokkola Email: Submission guidelines:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Promotion: Phillip Serrato

Our colleague Phillip Serrato was promoted to Associate Professor and awarded tenure. Congratulations to him. (And saludos.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Book Awards Spring 2011

Parents' Choice Award Winners in: Doing & Learning, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Picture Books:

The Children’s Choice Book Award winners are as follows:
  • Author of the Year: Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 1) (Disney-Hyperion)
  • Illustrator of the Year David Wiesner for Art & Max (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year: Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby (Putnam/Penguin)
  • Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the Year: Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Knopf/Random House)
  • Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year: The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) by Rick Riordan (Disney-Hyperion)
  • Teen Choice Book of the Year: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (Dutton/Penguin)
Newbery, Caldecott, and other American Library Association Awards:

Horn Book Awards (to be announced June 2011)

Missing Pamela Travers

Pamela Travers is best known as the author of the "Mary Poppins" books. I had the good chance to meet her and later interview her. Doing other kind of research, I ran into a tribute I wrote in the Los Angeles Times when she died in 1996. Maybe the essay begins to hint at her importance to me.--Jerry Griswold

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day in Children's Books

Monster Moms, Awful Aunts, Evil Stepmothers, Good Mom/Bad Mom, Biological Mothers, Mothers-in-Training, TV Moms, Movie Moms & Literary Moms. Read about them in Parents' Choice:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fairy Tales on Film: New Book by Jack Zipes

Noted scholar Jack Zipes has recently published The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films (Routledge, $49.95), an examination of fairy-tale film-making before Disney and a discussion of how Disney came to dominate these kinds of films:

Equally interesting is an interview with Zipes about this work in Movie Image Archive News:

Film and fairy tales seem to be in the air and on this blog this Spring. John Cech recently published his study of the film company Weston Woods:
And we have discussed recent movie incarnations of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Little Red Riding Hood":

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SDSU Faculty in Promising New Book: "Keywords in Children's Literature"

To be published in June 2011, Keywords for Children's Literature (edited by Philip Nel and Lissa Paul, New York University Press, $25) looks to be an important and definitive text in the field:

The Table of Contents ( lists some 49 Keywords (from "Aesthetics" to "Young Adult") taken up by a world-class roster of scholars. Among them are SDSU faculty: Joseph Thomas ("Aesthetics"), June Cummins ("Marketing"), and Phillip Serrato "Latino/a").

In their Introduction (, Nel and Paul identify and define their notion of "keywords" and discuss their predilection for controversial terms.