Thursday, June 27, 2013

Talk & Book Signing with illustrator/artist Susie Ghahremani in La Jolla, June 27

If you're in San Diego and have some time this evening, consider making a trip to La Jolla to attend this event:
Join illustrator and artist Susie Ghahremani tonight as she shares her work and the secrets behind the making of the artwork for her picture book, What Will Hatch? (written by Jennifer Ward).

When & Where: Thursday, June 27th at 6 pm at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla.
The museum is located at 700 Prospect St. in La Jolla, CA and the talk is part of the “Shore Thing” evening event series. The talk will be followed by Q&A and book signing.

Talk begins promptly at 6:30 pm, so arrive early!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Illustrating Children's Books, UCSD Extension Course with Joy Chu

Just a smidgling of days left to register for Joy Chu's upcoming workshop, "Illustrating Books for Children" through UCSD Extension.

Illustrating Books for Children / Art 40011
Instructor: Joy Chu
June 26-August 21
Wednesdays, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Register before June 25!

More info about the class on her website:
Or join her facebook group: 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Reading Fictions One-day Symposium

A One-day Symposium on Representations of Books and Readers in Children’s Literature
Friday 11 October 2013
School of Education, University of Glasgow
Confirmed Speakers:

Dr Evelyn Arizpe, Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow
Julia Eccleshare, The Guardian's Children's Books Editor
Dr Maureen Farrell, Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow
Prof Kim Reynolds, Professor of Children's Literature, University of Newcastle
Dr Vivienne Smith, University of Strathclyde
Prof Morag Styles, Professor of Children’s Poetry, University of Cambridge
Prof Maria Nikolajeva, University of Cambridge
Dr Sylvia Warnecke, The Open University
Prof Jean Webb, Director of the International Forum for Research in Children's Literature, University of Worcester

*A joint project of the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde, funded by the British Academy.
Registration: £10.00 donation to UKLA Books for Africa project.
Places are limited. RSVP to and send cheque, made out to UKLA,  to Evelyn Arizpe, School of Education, St Andrew's Building, 11 Eldon St., Glasgow G3 6NH

Friday, June 14, 2013

CFP: Children's Literature and Psychoanalysis Conference in Philadelphia

Call for Papers
“Enchanted Places”, Imagined Childhoods
A Symposium on Children’s Literature and Psychoanalysis
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania
Deadline: February 15, 2014

Featured Author:  Jerry Spinelli

Jerry Spinelli has been writing books for more than thirty years and has published an average of one book a year over that time.  Maniac Magee (1991) won the Newbery Award and Wringer (1997) was a Newbery Honor recipient.  More recent titles include Stargirl (2000), Milkweed (2003) and Hokey Pokey (2013). In a blend of gritty realism and casual magic, Spinelli locates his stories in the places where ordinary children live—old cities, dreary suburbs and school classrooms—then enchants these places with transcendent language and characters who radiate courage and bold eccentricity.  His stories confront difficult and conflictual themes like poverty, homelessness and urban race relations, as well as mourning and social ostracism, but they do so without sentimentality.  Spinelli’s characters are never victims, but are tough survivors and often moral and spiritual heroes in his and their imagined worlds.

It is a challenge to psychoanalytic theory and practice to acknowledge the “enchanting” role of language on a day to day basis as we practice our “talking cure,” as well as to go beyond our normative developmental narratives in order to account for the survivors, the exceptions, and the morally courageous characters who have emerged from difficult environmental circumstances to transform their own lives and the lives of others in the process.

This symposium will provide an opportunity for explorations of language, of ‘enchantment’ in psychoanalysis and literature; of the reciprocal acts of imagination between author and reader involved in creating works of childrens’ literature; and,  the possibilities for transformation of the painful realities of ordinary childhood in both psychoanalysis and literature.  It will provide a forum for Jerry Spinelli’s work, for the work of other authors, as well as for works of theoretical, clinical and literary interest. Academics, psychoanalysts, graduate students and psychoanalytic candidates are encouraged to submit original papers on any aspects of the above.

Guidelines for submission:
Completed papers only. 8-10 pp.  No abstracts or proposals.
Names and identifying information on separate cover sheet only.
Deadline: February 15, 2014
Send papers to:  Elaine Zickler, PhD at

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

An Unjournal Preview!

After a long and determined journey, the ChildLit GSA is really excited to present an introductory look at our new journal, The Unjournal of Children's Literature. The children's lit grad students at SDSU have worked tirelessly -- especially in the last month -- to pull this endeavor together. Despite setbacks that always seem to pop up at the most inopportune moment, we are thrilled to give you a glimpse into what's in store, right in time for the ChLA Conference this week!

The Unjournal is set to showcase budding voices in the field of children’s literature, hopefully encouraging emerging scholars to pursue their passion of children’s literature, while also attracting a wide readership: established scholars (of children's lit and otherwise), writers and artists, and children's lit enthusiasts of any kind.

Part of the unjournaling process includes a more unconventional system of "publishing" an issue -- pieces will be shared over the course of many months, culminating in a large collection of works. These works will include a diverse assortment of material; articles and book reviews will certainly be featured, but so will notable interviews, lots of artwork (illustrations and child-themed pieces), and down the road some curious eclectic articles as well. It will also be an interactive experience, with a live twitter feed and discussion comments to figure in the mix.

Expect the first batch of the inaugural issue to be published soon, but for now explore the site, at least to take in an excerpt of Dr. Jerry Griswold's interview with the editors. We hope you'll enjoy this unjournal 365 days of the year.

CFP: Happiness Conference in Oxford

Call for Papers: Happiness, Childhood, and Children's Literature
16th November 2013, St Hilda’s College, Oxford

"Novels, like paintings or music or sport, should hold out to children the promise of happiness, and the certainty of laughter." -Fred Inglis

Jean-Jacques Rousseau claims that children are born innocent and happy; all their educators need to do is protect this natural state of childhood from being contaminated by society. In the last few years, however, a radical reassessment of happiness has taken place in critical theory, through thinkers such as Sara Ahmed and Lauren Berlant. They point to the social construction of the idea of happiness, how it varies over history and geography, and is based on predominating social values. As such, “happiness” can work as an ideology that welcomes some kinds of lifestyles and excludes others. In particular, they emphasize the difference that gender and sexuality makes to conventional models of a “happy” life. Their resituating of happiness as a normative and often oppressive ideology brings us the opportunity to reassess the place of happiness in children’s literature.

No sustained study of happiness in children’s literature has taken place since Fred Inglis’ The Promise of Happiness: Values and Meaning in Children’s Fiction was published in 1981. Inglis suggests that children’s literature is exempt from the critique of happiness: "Whatever has happened to the idea of beauty and happiness in adult art, our children must keep faith with their radical innocence." However, such children’s books as John Burningham’s Granpa, Neil Gaiman’s The Wolves in the Walls, and Michael Rosen’s Sad Book deal with the loss of loved ones and of home. Such texts reject happy endings, and implicitly or explicitly, see and value more negative emotions such as mourning, fear, and depression in children. These texts raise the issue of the purpose of children’s literature: should it prepare children for sad truths, or shield children from them? In this way, such works move to redefine the "happy ending."

Should children’s literature play a role towards encouraging or defining happiness? How do cultural differences affect children’s happiness? This conference invites papers on happiness in English and French children’s literature or theorisations of childhood.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
-childhood “innocence”; criminal children; angelic children
-adult nostalgia; childhood idylls
-humour; play; fantasy; utopia
-unconventional modes of happiness; non-normative families; gender and sexuality
-dealing with death, tragedy and war
-representations of depression; angst; suicide
-Rousseau; Winnicott; Klein; childhood and affect
-cultural differences and happiness; post-colonial children’s literature
-adaptation, translation and changing values of happiness

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to by no later than 21st September 2013.

This one-day conference on Saturday 16th November 2013 at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, is organized by Queen Mary, University of London. We are fortunate to welcome keynotes on French and English children’s literature, highly successful children’s authors, and the renowned producer Martin Pope ) for what promises to be an exciting day.

Keynote Speakers:
Penelope Brown, University of Manchester
Anna Kemp, Queen Mary, University of London (author of Dogs Don’t Do Ballet)
Diane Purkiss, Keble College, University of Oxford (co-author of the Corydon series)
Martin Pope, producer of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child films

Monday, June 10, 2013

CFP: Canon Conference at the University of Tübingen, Germany

Call for Papers: Canon Constitution and Canon Change in Children’s Literature

International Conference at the University of Tübingen, Germany, 11-13 September 2014

Although several scholars have investigated how national canons of children’s literature have developed, such historical approaches have mostly focused on aesthetic matters or on changing concepts of childhood. The impact of cultural concepts that are constitutive for the construction of cultural identities (so-called social imaginaries) on canon-formation has, on the other hand, been widely neglected. The same applies to a transnational perspective on canon constitution, which transcends national boundaries and instead locates children’s literature in a more comprehensive communicative space.

Issues that might be investigated in this respect are the presentation of children’s literature in literary histories, the historical contingency of the status of canonicity, the impact of social institutions and awards on the appreciation of certain types of children’s literature, the possible reasons for excluding or including particular children’s books from/into the canon, the conceptual shifts in the acknowledgement of children’s literature in national canons, the influence of genre preferences for canon constitution and the perception of a canon of children’s literature as a transnational phenomenon.

The purpose of this international conference is to bring together scholars of children’s literature from different countries who are especially interested in the topic of canon formation in children’s literature. We particularly invite papers dealing with one or several of the following topics:

  • National vs. transnational canons;
  • Paul Hazard and the idea of a “World Literature for Children”;
  • Divergent canon concepts (Western Canon, European Canon, Global Canon, Multicultural Canon, Postcolonial Canon);
  • The concept of the “Golden Age” and its impact on the canon of children’s literature;
  • Genre preferences in canonization processes;
  • The impact of institutions (e.g. libraries, museums, schools, literary societies, awards) on the development of the canon;
  • Canons and social imaginaries;
  • Reasons for inclusion or exclusion in literary histories; 
  • Falling out of the canon: the challenges of forgotten children’s books; 
  • Interfaces between the canons of children’s and adults’ literature; 
  • Changing criteria for canonicity.

Contributions from academics interested in the close relationship between historical and theoretical perspectives of canon research in the realm of children’s literature are particularly welcome. The proceedings of the conference will be published in book form.

Deadline for proposals: 31 July 2013.

Please send abstracts of c. 300 words (for a twenty-minute paper) and a short biographical note (c. 100 words) as e-mail attachments (Word format please) to both convenors, Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer: and Anja Müller:

Notification whether proposals have been accepted will be made by 31 August 2013.

The conference venue is Schloss Hohentübingen, a beautiful 16th-century castle in the picturesque university town of Tübingen (close to Stuttgart international airport). For details, visit

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Quick Link: Annotations by Famous Authors

Check out Flavorwire's fascinating slideshow of famous authors' annotations of classic books. There are many links to view more annotations, as well. Not surprisingly, Mark Twain's comments are hilarious.

(Semi-related note: Mark Twain is the only person I would desperately want at my dream dinner party.)

Friday, June 7, 2013

SDSU Students and Grads at 2013 ChLA Conference

SDSU is excited to have a large contingent of students, alums, and faculty attending the 40th Annual Children's Literature Association Conference!

This year's conference, "Play and Risk in Children's and Young Adult Literature," will be held June 13-15 in Biloxi, MS.

Faculty attending include Alida Allison, June Cummins, and Phillip Serrato. Faculty Emeritus Jerry Griswold will deliver the Francelia Butler Lecture.

Current students and recent alumni attending include Sarah Burns '13, Jill Coste '13, Megan Parry '13, and Kelsey Wadman.

Additional alumni include NaToya Faughnder, Naomi Lesley, Sean Printz, and Martin Woodside.

Check out the ChLA Conference Schedule at this link to see what topics our SDSU friends will be discussing!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

MLA Session Call - Deadline June 10

Each year, the Children‘s Literature Association is guaranteed one session at the Modern Language Association Convention and can submit proposals for up to two more.

If you would like to propose a session topic, then by 9 pm on Monday, June 10th please send the ChLA/MLA Liaison (Jennifer Miskec at

(1) a short description of your proposal idea, and, if relevant,
(2) the name of another MLA-affiliated entity (allied organization, division, or discussion group) you plan to seek as a co-sponsor.

The ChLA Board will examine the proposals and select the top three (one guaranteed, plus two additional**) for submission to the 2015 MLA Convention.

If the ChLA chooses to submit two additional sessions, then one of those sessions must be a collaborative session with another entity (division, discussion group, allied organization, etc.):

• MLA divisions:
• MLA allied and affiliate divisions:
• MLA discussion groups: 

**The proposals for the two additional sessions are not guaranteed and will be reviewed by the MLA Program Committee. Please see the Procedures for Organizing Meetings on the MLA Web site ( for further details.

A Little Bit of Diversion

The end of the semester has come and gone, but the thrills of summer freedom seem to have skipped over a head or two. At least, that is how I and some of my peers have been feeling the past few weeks what with relentless projects that continually evolve (soon to be shared here!). In the meantime, it's nice to take a short break and enjoy a few lighthearted discoveries vis a vis the web:

If you're interested in picture books, in illustrating, or in award winning artists, check out Jon Klassen's guide to drawing/painting a bear in deep thought. Klassen was awarded both the 2013 Caldecott Medal for This is Not My Hat and a 2013 Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in Extra Yarn. I warrant a lesson or two from someone who can work in a rabbit being eaten off-page in a darkly humorous fashion could go a long way...

If you need another reason to love libraries (really? you do?) or you grew up playing Domino Rally, this video from the Seattle Public Library's Summer Reading Kick-Off is definitely worth the view. And then just imagine what reshelving must have been like after the fact...