Sunday, November 29, 2009

Publication of the IRSCL

International Research in Children’s Literature, Volume 2.2 is now available online – well ahead of schedule, I’m delighted to say.
We’re confident readers will find this rich and varied collection of essays of enormous interest – indeed, there are ideas and approaches here which will shape directions in future research. If you aren't subscribing, you are falling behind the field.
Issue 3.1 is now closed, but you are reminded that the deadline for issue 3.2 is drawing near. Details below.
Happy reading
John Stephens
On behalf of the editors
IRCL volumes 3.2 and 4.1 (December 2010/July 2011) These issues will largely feature articles on the theme of the 19th Biennial Congress of IRSCL: ‘Children’s Literature and Cultural Diversity in the Past and the Present’.
Articles may be submitted at any time, but the last date for consideration for volume 3.2 is January 31, 2010. Articles received after that date will be considered for volume 4.1.
This is an open submission, and articles need not have been previously presented at the Congress. Any submissions arising from oral congress presentations should be fully reworked as appropriate for a scholarly research article. The editors invite articles that focus on topics such
• Migration experiences
• Multiculturalism and multilingualism
• Religious Diversity
• Gender issues
• Cultural hybridism
• Literary exchange and genre mix
• National and trans-national narratives • Global media and local productions
Contributions, as email attachments, should be sent to:
and copied to:

Plans for £14m Oxford Story Museum unveiled

Plans for £14m Oxford Story Museum unveiled
6:40am Thursday 19th November 2009

A £14m Story Museum is to be created near Christ Church, to celebrate Oxford’s links with the greats of children’s literature.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Essays by Naomi Lesley in Parents' Choice

Having moved to the D.C. area and become a mom, now applying for the Ph.D. program at George Washington University, M.A. alum Noami Lesley has still found time to write essays for Parents' Choice:

Spring 2010: Engl 502 Allison: Adolescence in Lit

English 502 Alida Allison
MW 2-3:15 M-265

Adolescence in Literature

Some of the most exciting publishing being done these days is in Adolescent/Young Adult fiction, as represented by the booklist below. Short stories and movies (Master Harold… and the Boys, and Osama) are part of the course as well. Short papers, quizzes, and a final are required.

Tentative Booklist:
Matt de la Pena, We Were Here
M.T. Anderson, Feed
Karen Hesse, Out of the Dust
Walter Dean Myers, Fallen Angels
Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Buchi Emecheta, The Slave Girl

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christine Bellen, Guest Professor from Philippines

For the last two months, Christine Bellen has been a visitor at SDSU’s National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. She hopes to create a similar center in the Philippines when she returns in December 2009.

Professor Bellen teaches in the Filipino Department at Ateneo de Manila University. Her field of specialization is Philippine Children’s Literature, especially the popular mid-century children’s stories of Filipino intellectual and playwright Severino Reyes.

But Christine is also a famous children’s writer in the Philippines. She has written nineteen picture books, two anthologies of children’s stories, an anthology of classroom plays, and three musical plays for children. A former story consultant for a children’s TV show, Christine has also been the writer for a children’s radio program and had three of her children’s stories staged as ballets by the Ballet Manila.

Christine met Alida Allison in India two years ago at the meeting of Children’s Literature Association of India and learned about SDSU’s National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. She hopes that Ateneo’s National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature will be launched in the Philippines in 2010 and that exchanges with the San Diego State University will continue.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Spring 2010 Engl 502: Adolescence in Lit: Authenticity & Self

English 502: Adolescence in Literature. Authenticity and Self. Mary Galbraith.
MWF 10-10:50. CSQ 201

"[Literature] is that very fragile language which men set between the violence of the question and the silence of the answer."--Roland Barthes

The literature of adolescence raises the great existential questions: what is the meaning of my life? who must I become? must I betray my deepest self in order to be loved and accepted? In this course we will consider the ways these questions have been (un)answered in outstanding works of literature over the past 200 years. Can such novels end authentically without killing off the protagonist or falsifying their premises?

Tentative reading list (some will be read in excerpt, others in their entirety):
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774)
Hans Christian Andersen, "The Little Mermaid" (1837)
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847)
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1861)
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
Jack London, The Call of the Wild (1903)
D. H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers (1913)
Richard Wright, Native Son (1940)
J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (1951)
Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy (1964)
Jose Lezama Luna, Paradiso (1966)
Robert Cormier, The Chocolate War (1974)
Peter Pohl, Johnny My Friend (1985)
Yu Hua, Cries in the Drizzle (2007)

Note: Literature published before 1923 is in the public domain and is therefore freely available as etext on the internet. Many class texts are also available in thrift editions (less than five dollars).

Spring 2010: English 401: Childhood in Literature.

English 401: Childhood in Literature. Mary Galbraith
MWF 12-12:50 AH 2112

Into the Wild
Most stories about childhood stay within limits set by adults. Conventional adult perspectives dominate, and adult desires win in the end. Books like this are not children's literature. Children's literature expresses the point of view of someone small with the artistic mastery of someone big.Writers and picture book artists of genius seem to have "left the gate open" to the child they once were. They create haunting narratives out of their early fantasies and experiences. Their books have a wild streak. All the books we will read this semester go "into the wild." They tell a different kind of history.Welcome to Childhood's Literature.

Tentative Reading List (some will be read in excerpt):
Andersen, Hans Christian. Andersen's Fairy Tales
Bemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline
Browne, Anthony. Gorilla
Burningham, John. Come Away from the Water, Shirley
Card, Orson Scott. Ender's Game
Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Books
London, Jack. The Call of the Wild
Rey, H. A. Curious George
Ringgold, Faith. Tar Beach
Seuss, Dr. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Van Allsburg, Chris. The Polar Express
Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Little House on the Prairie

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Spring 2010 Class: Serrato, Engl. 501

English 501 P. Serrato
Tu/Th 2-3:15 HH206

This edition of English 501 will be an ambitious one (is there any other way to design a class?) that will see us starting with some classics of children’s literature (Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh) and sliding (by way of Pippi Longstocking, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) toward more contemporary fare (Prietita and the Ghost Woman, Me and the Pumpkin Queen). We will also spend some time with some less “distinguished”—yet still highly interesting and instructive—works such as The Adventures of Captain Underpants and Danger on Vampire Trail. While it goes without saying that my overarching aim is to facilitate a savvy acquaintance on your part with each of the assigned texts, I must note that I will be especially interested this semester in using each text as a medium for introducing a specific theoretical approach. By the end of the semester, you will have had some practice with, among other things, psychoanalysis, existentialism, Marxism, deconstruction, and Chicana feminism, and you will have an acquaintance with the work of scholars such as Robyn Wiegman, Lisa Lowe, James Moy, Annette Wannamaker, Joseph T. Thomas, Jr., Barbara Creed, and Carole-Anne Tyler.

Here is a preliminary list of the texts that we will cover. For a finalized list, feel free to email the instructor ( over the break.

Hoffman, Struwwelpeter
Barrie, Peter Pan
Milne, Winnie the Pooh
Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking
Yep, When the Circus Came to Town
Dixon, Danger on Vampire Trail
Kennedy, Me and the Pumpkin Queen
Anzaldúa, Prietita and the Ghost Woman
Pilkey, The Adventures of Captain Underpants
Pilkey, Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets
Scieszka, Cowboy and Octopus
Alarcon, Angels Ride Bikes and Other Fall Poems
Collier, Punch and Judy: A Short History with the Original Dialogue
Reilly, Punch & Judy

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Alums in Frisco at PAMLA, Hawaii in 2010?

from Kassie Clark . . . SDSU Children's Literature Alum were well represented at this year's 2009 PAMLA (Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association) conference in San Francisco this November. Kim Kennelly, now lecturing at San Diego Miramar College and making occasional appearances at SDSU in various capacities, presented a paper on villainous characters in Children's Literature. Her paper entitled, "Putting the Bad Guy in His Place: categorizing Villainy in Children's Literature" was well received and generated extensive discussion and enthusiasm. Kassie Clark, now pursuing her doctorate in English at The University of Texas at Austin presented her paper, entitled "Debunking the Femi-Nazi Mystique: Generational Feminisms in Coraline" for the newly formed panel on Film Studies.

The 2010 PAMLA conference will be held in Hawai'i at Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawai'i on Saturday and Sunday, November 13-14. Special session deadlines are December 15th. Contact Craig Svonkin, PAMLA Executive Director, with any questions: .

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spring 2010 Class: Shel Silverstein

ENGL 528 -- Shel Silverstein: American Icon
Joseph Thomas, Thursdays 4-6:40 pm

New seminar investigating the life & work of Shel Silverstein offered this spring! This course engages Shel Silverstein's diverse artistic output: his short plays, screen writing, comic strips, cartoons, picture books, poetry, music, fiction, travel writing (for Playboy magazine, no less), & of course, his lifetime project of living the life of the unrepentant, iconoclastic wag, Shel Silverstein.

Jeanette Schumaker's CL Reviews

Jeanette Schumaker reviews studies of Children's Literature in the Children's Literature Association Quarterly. Here are three. Remember SDSU faculty and students can log into this journal (via Muse) through the Library.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Class Spring 2010: Children’s Literature and Film

English 727: Children’s Literature and Film
June Cummins. Wednesdays, 3:30 to 6:40

In this class, we will explore the at times symbiotic and at other times parasitic relationship between children's books and the cinema. Why and how do certain texts for children get adapted into movies? What happens to these texts when the adaptation occurs? What are audience’s expectations for children’s films as opposed to or in tandem with their expectations of children’s books? How does the heightened emphasis on the visual in movies affect the narratives of literature that began in books and then moved to screens? What role does economics play in the adaptation of children’s books into film? How do other media, such as the Internet, affect the book/film relationship? How do movies serve up visions of childhood? We will examine and question the aesthetic, technical, and most of all cultural aspects of the ever-increasing phenomenon of adapting children’s books into movies.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Spring 2010 class: Engl. 528. “Mark Twain: Dark Laughter”

Engl. 528. “Mark Twain: Dark Laughter”
–Jerry Griswold
--Tuesdays 1530-1810 (3:30-6:10 p.m.) Hepner Hall 210.

( 2010 marks the 175th anniversary of Sam Clemens’s birth, the 100th anniversary of his death, and the 125th anniversary of the publication of Huckleberry Finn. This course will be offered in conjunction with Love Library’s “Mark Twain Centenary Celebration” during Spring Semester.)

The man in the white suit. The “Lincoln of our literature.” The man with the doubled name. This course will focus on four novels and on literary criticism about those works: Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper and Puddn’head Wilson. We will also read Justin Kaplan’s biography Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain and attend events at the Library’s Centenary Celebration: lectures, theater, displays and videos. We will have more than a few laughs. And we will examine Twain’s humor, as well as the subjects of race, crossdressing, religion, and twins.

Spring 2010 class: Engl 503. Children’s Lit Now

Engl 503. Children’s Lit Now
Jerry Griswold
Mondays, 1900-2140 HH210

A hands-on course about reviewing Contemporary Children’s Books and Films:
* We will examine very recent children’s movies (Disney’s “Up,” Spike Jonze’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” Wes Anderson‘s “Fantastic Mr. Fox”) and how film reviewers wrote about them. Then we will review new Spring releases (like Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” starring Johnny Depp).
*We will study contemporary prizewinning books (“The Tale of Desperaux,” “Skellig,” “The Higher Power of Lucky,” and “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”) and how book reviewers have written about them. Then we will review Spring releases and the newest prize-winners (starting with the announcement of the Newbery Award in January 2010).
The instructor reviews books and films for the New York and Los Angeles Times, and this course is a kind of apprenticeship program. Students and would-be reviewers will be afforded opportunities to publish their work.