Children’s Literature and Comics/Graphic Novels at MLA 2018

It is time again to gather ’round in fluorescent rooms, adjust the sound (“can you hear me?”), smile, and present to all four or fifty-seven who found the right room, the right day. Coffee! Insecurity! MLA! January 3rd through 7th is the Modern Language Association’s annual conference, held this year (2018) in New York City.

Children’s Literature vs. Nationalism: IRSCL’s Statement of Principles

The International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL) – an organization of which I am a member – is today issuing a statement in support of academic freedom, and against the rising tide of nativism/nationalism that threatens to curtail it.  We’re issuing it in 20 different languages (with more to come) and you can see

RESIST! Year #2 begins NOW.

On the one-year anniversary of Russia’s successful hacking of American democracy (congrats, Vlad!), a bit of encouragement for those who oppose the Trump regime’s assaults on healthcare, the environment, women’s rights, civil rights, human rights, the very idea of rights, basic human decency, and truth itself.  I’ve divided this into three sections: (1) a resistance

Crockett Johnson Tells the Story of Money

Today is the 111th birthday of Crockett Johnson (1906-1975). To celebrate, let’s take a deep dive in his oeuvre – looking at one of his lesser-known books, This Rich World. The popular story is that Crockett Johnson began creating books for children when he illustrated Ruth Krauss’s The Carrot Seed (1945). This is a compelling

Was the Cat in the Hat Black? (Talks at Google)

And now,… presenting a 45-minute illustrated lecture of my Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature and the Need for Diverse Books. Indeed, here are two versions, one in English and one in Spanish (which is also delivered via sign language).  Both versions were recorded in the past couple of

7 Questions We Should Ask About Children’s Literature (Oxford UP blog)

White nationalism is on the rise in the US and nativism is in the ascendant across the globe.  What role can literature for children play in teaching the next generation to be more empathetic, to respect difference, and to reject hatred?  How do we find children’s books that promote these values?  And what do we

Resolutions for a New Academic Year: A survival guide for higher education in perilous times (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Over at The Chronicle of Higher Education today, I have a piece on “Resolutions for a New Academic Year: A survival guide for higher education in perilous times.” Here’s one of those resolutions: Teach students to use language well. We can help them to be wary of lazy euphemism — not just because it is bad

Free Book: Goodreads Giveaway of Was the Cat in the Hat Black?

Greetings, people who read books!  Thanks to Oxford University Press, there is – this month – a Goodreads giveaway of my new book, Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature and the Need for Diverse Books.  10 copies will be given away. Important restriction: the books can only be sent

Happy Birthday, Ruth Krauss!

quotation from Ruth Krauss’s A Hole Is to Dig (1952), on the L.A. Public Library. If she were alive today, you would be wishing Ruth Krauss a very happy 106th birthday.  And yet Krauss was actually born 116 years ago, not 106 years ago. Look at the date in the upper-right-hand side of the document: