Tuesday, March 21, 2017

2017 NCSCL Visiting Scholar: Michael Joseph

“How to Do Things with Poems”

The 2017 NCSCL Visiting Scholar’s Lecture

Event Details:
Who: Michael Joseph
Rutgers University

Date: Tuesday, April 11th
Time: 3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

The National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature are proud to sponsor this year’s visiting scholar, poet Michael Joseph. His lecture, “How to Do Things with Poems” will consider what Xenephon of Athen’s definition of beauty as “the luminous manifestation of a perfect character of being” has to contribute to our understanding of children’s poetry. Our consideration will take the form of a close analysis of two children’s poems by Robert Graves, an English poet, novelist, critic and classicist.

More information can be found here.

Michael Joseph is a poet, author, critic, and rare books librarian. He received his M.A. in English Literature from the University of Hartford and an M.A. in library service from Columbia University. He is the author of 13 artists’ books and chapbooks of poetry or fiction. Currently, two artists’ books featuring his poems, done in collaboration with artist Sarah K. Stengle, are in VISPO, a traveling exhibition supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. He is the author of The Teaching Guide to the Norton Anthology of Children’s Literature and has published The True History of Puss in Boots on Mars, with illustrator Henry Charles, through Cats in the Basement Press in 2017. His book Inherent Ogres is in press, with a forward by NCSCL director Joseph T. Thomas. In addition to scholarly essays and reviews that have appeared in numerous books and journals­—including The Lion and the Unicorn and The Children’s Literature Association Quarterly (to name a few)—Michael Joseph has also taught numerous courses at Rutgers University on various subjects in children’s literature.

He is currently working on a monograph about Robert Graves’ children’s writing.


Check back for more updates as the event approaches!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Why is the Wolf Always the Bad Guy?

On Wednesday our director Dr. Joseph Thomas was invited to speak with the third grade classroom at High Tech Elementary in San Diego about representations of wolves in literature. Their teacher Kelsey Van Hook had already laid some ground work for Dr. Thomas, the students were eager and prepared for what he had to say. Their classroom was a testament to their creativity and knowledge about wolves. Poster boards, pages full of questions from students, and student artwork featuring wolves were hung high for all to see.




It is always interesting to observe young people actively learning and engaged with new concepts, one never knows what they will infer from the information presented. This group of eight and nine year old kids were especially happy to not only hear Dr. Thomas read them Lon Po Po, translated and illustrated by Ed Young, but to listen and comprehend the analysis he provided. As curious as I was to see how well they would understand the complexity Dr. Thomas brought to Lon Po Po and the use of the wolf in folktales and literature, I was equally impressed by their ability to internalize and decipher what was presented to them.

All of the students wrote Dr. Thomas questions.
Dr. Thomas provided them with an opportunity to understand the wolf as more than the signpost for evilness within a narrative. This concept eludes adults and children alike, we are trained to spot the wolf and know immediately there is danger on the horizon. It is not that these representations aren't accurate, or that wolves are not dangerous, but that most of the time they have nothing to do with the wolf in the wild, and much more to do with our own fears and anxieties about humanity and all those animalistic tendencies that reside within human nature. The wolf then becomes less scary as an animal and provides an opportunity to identify what lies behind images of the wolf in literature and get to the root of what is truly troubling about a given narrative or character. 



Thursday, January 5, 2017

CFP from Ithaca College & The Irish Society for the Study of Children's Literature Conference

Pippi to Ripley 4: Sex and Gender in Children’s Literature, Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Comics

Deadline: January 15, 2017

Location: Ithaca College, NY
Dates: April 21–22, 2017

Description: Pippi to Ripley 4 is an interdisciplinary conference with a focus on women and gender in imaginative fiction. We invite papers devoted to fictional characters in all media, including: comics, films, television, and video games as well as in folklore, mythology, and children's and young adult literature. This year’s conference includes a special focus on:

Fan Intersectionality: Race, Gender and Sexuality in Fan Communities

Keynote Speaker: SAMMUS performs her acclaimed nerdcore hip-hop and talks about race, geekdom, and feminism.

Special guest: Breakout YA author LJ Alonge, author of the graphic novel series Blacktop.

How to apply: Please send a 300–500-word abstract to Katharine Kettridge, Ithaca College, Department of English at kkittredge@ithaca.edu.

For more information: PDF

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CFP—Betwixt and Between: Boundaries and Peripheries in Children’s Culture
Irish Society for the Study of Children’s Literature Conference 2017

Deadline: January 16, 2017

Location: Dublin City University, All Hallows Campus
Dates: April 28–29 2017

Description: Boundaries, both physical and abstract, abound in children’s literature, as factors including age, gender and class have infuenced, and continue to limit, texts provided for children, and how and where those texts are consumed. Critical debate about the content and purpose of books, films and other media productions for young readers is ongoing, as long-established links between socialisation and children’s literature are interrogated and re-imagined to reflect changing social conditions and moral codes. Although children’s literature has moved from the margins and is now an established field of academic study, peripheries, too, persist and proliferate. Translated texts, which cross linguistic boundaries, and those produced in minority languages, such as Irish, seldom receive extensive exposure or critical attention. With the advent of digital media, the printed book is itself becoming increasingly marginalised.
Proposals are invited on the overall theme and associated topics in the context of both Irish and international literature for children, and also in relation to print and other media.
Keynote Speaker: Emerita Professor Máire Messenger Davies

How to apply: Proposals of 300 words maximum should be sent to the conference co-organiser, Caoimhe Nic Lochlainn at caoimhe.niclochlainn@dcu.ie and be CC-ed to committee@gmail.com.

Subject line should read “ISSCL Proposal.”

For more information: http://crytc.uwinnipeg.ca/portal/node/1419