Was the Cat in the Hat Black? — cover reveal

Here is the cover for my next book, Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books, forthcoming from Oxford University Press in July 2017.  Since it (the cover) is now on some websites (notably Oxford UP & Amazon.com), I thought I’d share it here. THANKS to Oxford UP’s Lucas

Children’s Literature and Comics/Graphic Novels at MLA 2017

In January, before the kleptocracy, In Philly, mourning an ailing democracy, Find comfort, anxiety, knowledge, and despair! (When academics gather, these tend to be there.) January fifth through eighth, at the MLA, We’ll meet and think. We’ll eat and drink. What do you say? Ahem. Here are all the sessions on children’s literature and/or comics/graphic novels at the 2017

The Public University in an Age of Alt-Facts: Remarks on Receiving a Higuchi Award

Brief remarks on the university in an age of misinformation, delivered today when I received a Higuchi Award. It’s a great honor to be joining Professors Christer Aakeröy, Judith Carta, and Randolph Nudo in receiving recognition for our research. It’s especially meaningful to be receiving this recognition right now, at a moment when facts and the notion of policy based

Emily’s Library, Part 10: In Which I Recommend 27 More Good Books for Young Readers

Just in time for the holidays, it’s another edition of Emily’s Library – in which I display the books I’ve given to my now 5-year-old niece, and answer the frequently asked question, “What children’s books would you recommend?”  A few of these will be Christmas presents for Emily, who does not (yet?) read my blog. So,

Mock Caldecott 2016: Manhattan, Kansas edition

This afternoon, a group of about 30 of us – undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, community members – voted on our choices for this year’s “Mock Caldecott.” Since we were guessing at the award results (announce in January), we read picture books by U.S. authors, published in the U.S. in 2016. Or, that’s what we

Surviving Trumpism. Restoring Democracy.

With apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton,… How does an unhinged, thin-skinned, son of a Scots and a Klansman, born into privilege and wealth, a thug who loves only himself, his money and his station, become the next leader of this nation? There are many reasons, including the false equivalency of the media (Clinton’s emails being

Election 2016 in Picture Books; or, What Will We Tell the Children?

This election. You’re tired of it. I’m tired of it. And… it’s finally over. Today. Or, at least we hope it will be resolved today. Given that Mr. Trump has vowed only to accept a Trump victory, it may not be resolved today. Either way, the 2016 U.S. Election is one for the history books

How to Read Harold

To celebrate Crockett Johnson‘s 110th birthday, I offer some advice on how to read Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955). Sort of. This is not so much “advice” as it is a glimpse of my work-in-progress, How to Read Harold: A Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson, and the Making of a Children’s Classic.  The book (when finished, and presuming anyone

Trump Is the Voldemort of Presidential Candidates (Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote)

Just before the first debate, I wrote a little essay for the Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote project.  Here’s a small excerpt: Donald Trump is the Voldemort of presidential candidates. Now, wait just a minute (you might object): Trump has an elaborate coif, but Voldemort is bald! And Voldemort is well-spoken, while Trump uses the vocabulary of a fourth-grader!