I teach, read, write, and blog. Despite the fact that formal education held little interest prior to college, I somehow managed to become a Professor of English. (Since I teach in a university system with an ambiguous relationship to academic freedom, I think it legally prudent to avoid naming my employer here. Though, of course, you can easily discover my affiliation in a click or two.) I’ve written and edited several books. I’ve appeared on National Public Radio and CBS Sunday Morning, and have given lectures around the world. Surprised? Believe me, I’m far more surprised than you are. And yet, implausible though this all seems, it’s also true.
- Agent: I’m represented by Stephen Barbara of InkWell Management.
- Curriculum Vitae: CV as pdf (current as of July 2020) or CV as webpage (updated less frequently, though — as of this writing — also current as of August 2020).
- Future speaking events and conferences are on the “Upcoming Events” page.
- Recent public writing:
- “Breaking up with your favorite racist childhood classic books,” Washington Post, 16 May 2021. In which I debunk the White-supremacist lie of “cancel culture.”
- “How to diversify the classics. For real.” The Oxford University Press Blog, 11 Feb. 2020.
- “A Manifesto for Radical Children’s Literature (and an Argument Against Radical Aesthetics),” Barnboken: tidskrift för barnlitteraturforskning/Journal of Children’s Literature Research, 42, 2019. The venue here is an academic journal, but the piece is written with a broad audience in mind.
- “Trump is a liar. Tell children the truth.” Public Books, 15 Oct. 2019.
- “7 questions we should ask about children’s literature,” The Oxford University Press Blog, 19 Sept. 2017.
- “Resolutions for a New Academic Year: A survival guide for higher education in perilous times,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 5 Sept. 2017.
- “Laughter and Resistance: Humor as a Weapon in the Age of Trump.” The Horn Book, May-June 2017.
- “Refugee Stories for Young Readers.” Public Books, 23 Mar. 2017. Review-essay on Francesca Sanna’s The Journey.
- “Just a Shot Away.” Inside Higher Ed, 12 Apr. 2016.
- “A Manifesto for Children’s Literature; or, Reading Harold as a Teenager.” The Iowa Review 45.2 (Fall 2015): 87-92.
- “Innocent Children and Frightened Adults: Why Censorship Fails,” From the Square: The New York University Press Blog, 30 Sept 2015.
- “In Search of Lost Time.” Inside Higher Ed, 3 Mar. 2014.
- Social Media:
- Academic Social Media:
- Biographical, sort of:
If you’ve an abundance of time on your hands or suffer from insomnia, you are welcome to visit my meandering website. You could also follow me on Twitter (philnel), Instagram (thephilnel), Spotify (thephilnel), or YouTube (ThePhilnel). Or not. You might take a nap. Naps are nice, too.
Photo of Philip Nel by Michael Henry, Aug. 2016.
- Keywords for Children’s Literature, Second Edition, co-edited with Lissa Paul and Nina Christensen (New York UP, 2021).
- Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby: Volume Four: 1948-1949, co-edited with Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics, 2020)
- Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature and the Need for Diverse Books (Oxford UP, 2017; paperback with new Afterword, 2019)
- Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby Volume Three: 1946-1947, co-edited with Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics, 2016)
- Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby Volume Two: 1944-1945, co-edited with Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics, 2014)
- Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby Volume One: 1942-1943, co-edited with Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics, 2013)
- Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature (UP Mississippi, 2012)
- Keywords for Children’s Literature, co-edited with Lissa Paul (New York UP, 2011)
- Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature, co-edited with Julia Mickenberg (New York UP, 2008)
- The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats (Random House, 2007)
- Dr. Seuss: American Icon (Continuum, 2004)
- The Avant-Garde and American Postmodernity: Small Incisive Shocks (UP Mississippi, 2002)
- J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Novels: A Reader’s Guide (Continuum, 2001).
Book coming soon:
- Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby Volume Five: 1950-1952, co-edited with Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics, 2022).
Complete list of publications on my CV.