Monday, January 27, 2014

Children's Lit in the New Year: Kate DiCamillo, The Little Prince Exhibit, and More

Greetings students, professors, and children's literature enthusiasts! The Spring semester has started and 2014 is well underway- we hope you're all settling comfortably into your classes, projects, and books. Below are some exciting announcements, reminders, and other children's lit-related tidbits of interest. Welcome back!

1. This morning the American Library Association announced their 2014 youth media award winners! The Newbery Medal goes to Kate DiCamillo for Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. DiCamillo was also named the Library of Congress's National Ambassador for Young People's Literature beginning in 2014 (here's a nice little NYT article about DiCamillo and the Ambassador position). Her novel The Tale of Despereaux won the Newbery exactly 10 years ago in 2004 and Because of Wynn-Dixie got a Newbery honor in 2001. Recognizing her talent early on, SDSU Professor Emeritus Jerry Griswold reviewed The Tale of Despereaux in the NYT back in 2003. As you can read in this interview with Griswold published in the Unjournal of Children's Literature, DiCamillo was quite encouraged by this review!

2. The deadline has been extended to submit to the upcoming conference, "i Will Be Myself": Identity in Children's Media, Literature, and Culture! Take advantage of this opportunity to see SDSU's own Dr. Phillip Serrato as keynote speaker, and submit your proposal by February 1st. The conference will be held at the University of British Columbia on Saturday, May 3rd.

3. There are more fascinating conferences coming up, with time left to submit proposals. Don't forget about "Enchanted Places,” Imagined Childhoods: A Symposium on Children’s Literature and Psychoanalysis, submission deadline Feb. 15th. More immediately is the deadline for the 2014 Australasian Children's Literature Association for Research conference! Submissions for the ACLAR conference, themed "Emotional Control: Affect, Ideology and Texts for Young People," are due January 31st.

4. The Morgan Library and Museum is now showing an exhibition titled "The Little Prince: A New York Story" running through April 27th. I am a most dedicated fan of The Little Prince (I actually have a Little Prince tattoo on my forearm!) and I have never wished more for a trip to New York- especially after reading this delightful and encouraging NYT article about the exhibition!

5. If you aren't one of the 15,000 readers to have checked out Griswold's essay "Saving Mr. Banks" But Throwing P.L. Travers Under the Bus, you should do so now. The conversation about the way Disney represented the author of Mary Poppins has lead to many interesting places, including Debbie Reese's research on P.L. Travers and the Navajo and an article in the New Yorker, "Behind Two Good Movies, Two Great Books," about not forgetting to give attention to the books behind movies. Adam Gopnik writes, "The real Mary Poppins is a disciplinarian—a stern and unsmiling order giver—and she is also a mystic and a guide, who brings vital disorder, and it is the combination of the two veins that gives the books their magic."

6. Last but not least, we want to welcome our NCSCL Director, Dr. Joseph Thomas, back to campus after a research sabbatical. (P.S. If you haven't read his article published in Slate back in October, get caught up now!) It's great to have you back, Prof. Thomas! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

CFP: Posthuman Children's Literature

Machines, Monsters and Animals: Posthuman Children's Literature

Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature invites contributions for a special issue exploring the relationship between children’s fiction and posthumanism. From Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies to Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games, children’s fiction intervenes into debates about what it means to be human, animal, ‘natural’, or machine. Indeed, children’s fiction has an imaginative history of conceiving alternative modes of being. Human and animal ethics, utopia/dystopia, anthropomorphism, and ecocriticism would be appropriate topics to explore. Areas of thematic interest may include, but are not limited to:

•       The alien or monstrous ‘other’
•       Animal ethics
•       Anthropomorphis
•       Artificial Intelligence
•       Cybernetic organisms (cyborgs)
•       Digital childhoods
•       Digital technology and virtual reality
•       Dystopia and utopia
•       Ecocriticism and nature studies
•       Machine animism and robotics
•       Wildness and civility

Full articles should be submitted to the editor, Björn Sundmark (, and guest editor, Zoe Jaques ( by June 1, 2014

Please see Bookbird's website at for full submission details. Papers which are not accepted for this issue will be considered for later issues of Bookbird.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

CFP: The First World War in European Children's Literature, 1970-2014

International Research Society for Children's Literature

June 27th, 2014
Trinity Long Room Hub
Dublin, Ireland
Deadline for Submission: January 31st, 2014
Website: IRSCL

Papers are invited for a one-day international symposium on the subject of the First World War in late-twentieth and twenty-first century literature for children and young adults. Building on recent research into literary constructions of childhood in the years leading up to and during the Great War, this event will focus on the processes at play in more recent literary production, investigating and comparing representations of the War in materials produced across Europe since the beginning of the so-called ‘post-memory’ period in the 1970s right up until the present day. The symposium will be held in English but we welcome international and comparative perspectives; a particular emphasis will be placed on the translation and transnational reception of children’s war literature.

We invite proposals for twenty-minute papers that engage with any aspect of the representation of the First World War in children’s literature in this period. Proposals might engage with, for example, the works of John Boyne, John Quinn, Aubrey Flegg, Carol Ann Duffy, Michael Morpurgo, Anne-Marie Pol, Paule du Bouchet, Catherine Cuenca, Arthur Ténor , Geert Spillebeen, Klaus Kordon, or Willi Fährmann, and potential topics might include, but are not limited to:
  • the challenge of representing horror and violence in children’s war literature.
  • family and intergenerational memory.
  • challenges specific to representing the First World War to children.
  • twin tales: integrating First World War stories into other national and international historical narratives ( the Irish revolutionary period; the Second World War; the Holocaust).
  • TV and film adaptations.
  • translation and transnational reception
  • the use of First World War literature in the classroom.
  • graphic novels and picture books.
  • crossover texts: teenage experiences of war as ‘adult’ fiction, ‘adult’ war fiction through teenage eyes.
Though the focus of the symposium will be on post-1970 literature, contributions on earlier material may be considered if presented in the context of modern reading culture (reception, belated canonisation, translation and re-translation etc.)

Abstracts (max. 300 words) should be submitted by e-mail to both Nóra de Buiteléir ( and Nora Maguire ( by January 31, 2014.