MLA 2018 Call for Papers! Calling Dumbledore’s Army: Activist Children’s Literature

MLA NYC 2018 logoBooks can encourage children to question rather than accept the world as it is. Literature for young people can invite them to imagine a world where black lives matter, women’s rights are human rights, poverty does not limit one’s life choices, LGBTQ youth know they are loved, indigenous peoples’ rights are respected, the disabled have equal rights and opportunities, refugees find refuge, and climate change does not imperil life on this planet.

Jenny Sowry's Woke BabyThis guaranteed session (sponsored by the Children’s Literature Forum) examines children’s literature as a vehicle for social change. Subjects panelists might consider include (but are not limited to): Children as activists, books aligned with social movements, satire or humor as catalyst for change, the repurposing of children’s culture as means of expressing or inspiring adults’ activism. Papers may cover any country or historical period.

The panel will convene at the Modern Language Association Convention in New York, which will be held from January 4 to 7, 2018.

Send 1-page abstract and 2-page CV by March 15, 2017 to Philip Nel <>.

scholarship on activist children's literature

Image credit: Photo is of Jenny Sowry’s “Woke Baby,” at the Women’s March, Jan. 2017. The image became a meme, and you can read more about it in this BuzzFeed article.


  1. Reply

    Thanks! I figure that one thing scholars can do is educate. Since I’m a children’s lit scholar, that’s my means of educating others.

    Also, let me use this space to give a shout-out to Sara Austin and Emily Midkiff, one or both of whom came up with the “Dumbledore’s Army” portion of the title (at the MLA meeting, last month). Thank you both!

  2. Sara Austin


    Thanks! Considering Voldemort is in the ministry and Umbridge has taken over Hogwarts, it seemed appropriate.

  3. Pingback: Professor Investigates ‘Cat In The Hat’ As ‘Ideal Metaphor’ For Racism In Kid Culture - MozView

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